Toast the New Year with Inexpensive and Tasty Sparkling Wines

If you’re like me, you sometimes want to toast the new year or another festive occasion with Champagne, and you don’t want to break the bank to do it. Luckily, there are some very good and inexpensive sparkling wines that are widely available. Champagne itself is protected by terroir, so only those wines from the French region of Champagne can bear that name. But with so many good sparkling wines available, there’s often no reason to splurge on Champagne. I tasted three sparkling wines, side-by-side, just to be sure.

Veuve Ambal

First up was the Veuve Ambal, a Blanc de Blanc from the Burgundy region of France that is typically priced around $12-14 a bottle in the U.S. It had a very sharp nose and the taste to match, with a pleasant undertone of something almost ferment-y. It was very sparkly, fruity (I could especially taste grape), and bold. The aftertaste lingered nicely. Veuve Ambal commits, and I liked it a lot, though I wondered if it could get cloying if enjoyed throughout an event, versus as a celebratory toast.


Teixidor Brut is from Spain and sells for about $11-15 a bottle. I found its nose to be more subtle than that of the Veuve Ambal, and slightly perfume-y. It had a very light taste that resembled a Chablis and featured a hint of grapes. The Teixidor seemed a bit thin and watery. While not unpleasant, it didn’t have a lot of interest. It definitely improved with and agreed with a bit of cheese.


From New Mexico comes Gruet. I tried the Gruet Brut and was greeted with a crisp apple nose and a full, fruity, clean taste. It had wonderful bubbles and a great mouth feel. The taste got fuller and more complicated upon sipping, moving from apple to grape. Of the three sparkling wines, the Gruet most closely resembled classic Champagne — by a long shot. It’s a great, celebratory sparkling wine. Gruet Brut is typically priced about $14-16 a bottle.

Whether you toast the new year with one of these sparkling wines, another of the many other Champagnes or sparkling wines, or something else entirely, I hope the turning of the year portends health, happiness and wealth in whatever form you choose to measure.

Cheers! Happy 2011! Thank you for spending part of your last year with me.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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6 responses to “Toast the New Year with Inexpensive and Tasty Sparkling Wines

  1. Happy New Year Suz! Slainte!

    • Thank you, Juliet! Same to you. Cheers and many happy returns. How are you celebrating? I’m sure you have many plans to get more children into nature in 2011 and I wish you all success. Keep enjoying what you do. Your lovely spirit shines through.

  2. well, your the expert on champagne parties, in my book, so i’ll take ur recs as gospel, and go look for a bottle of gruet brut :)

    • Hi Kath! Happy New Year! Thank you for your nice compliment. I know we share many fond champagne memories. I think you’ll like the Gruet. Let me know what you think.

      Greetings, Gerald! Happy New Year! It’s great to see you here. Thanks for the Proseco recommendation. I’ve not tried a lot of them and will try this one. Sounds like you had a nice celebration.

      Cheers to good friends and good times in 2011!

  3. Tried the most amazing and affordable Prosecco this evening. I highly recommend it, Tenuta Santome Prosecco Extra Dry Doc Treviso

    Happy New Year!

  4. Pingback: Host a Kid-Friendly Oscar Party - Slow Family

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