Picking out the sophisticated, just-kitschy-enough holiday party invite and prepping all the fussy but very much worthwhile little hors d'oeuvres is hard enough on the party host. Finding something bubbly that's under budget and still delicious shouldn't be.
"Sparkling wines are refreshing as a palate cleanser between punches or mescals and a great way to impress the fancy people," Yana Volfson, the beverage director at Cosme in New York City, says. "In other words, bubbles are tantalizing."
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When she's not shaking up the lovely Palomas or making her own pumpkin bitters at the bar, Volfson is laying out a spread of fleshy Jonah crab claws with Tabasco-laced butter, a meat-and-cheese plate with pickles and, most importantly, Ruffles potato chips for her lucky guests. Clearly, she understands how to mix high and low, fancy and cheap, s0, naturally, we asked her for the best budget sparklers to stock up on this party season.
① 2012 Raventós i Blanc Rosé Brut 'de Nit' ($13)
Kicking off the wallet-friendly quaffs is this elegant Spanish pink drink, clocking in at under $15 a bottle. "It's the perfect balance of pretty fruit and terroir, a crowd-pleaser for the acid freaks and those wanting something pink," Volfson says.
② 2010 Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant ($33)
You dip, we dip—this minerally, tiny-bubbled offering from the legendary Vouvray producers dips. Volfson suggests any dip, from rich artichoke dip to more luxurious crab dip, will do in pairing.
③ NV Franck Peillot Bugey Montagineau Brut ($23)
"Austere on its own, this is a refreshing top off for cocktails with bubbles," Volfson explains. And may we suggest a home for this appley French blend in the effervescent Negroni.
④ 2009 Hans Reisetbauer Apfel Brut ($35)
Sometimes the best sparkling wine isn't a wine at all. "A hidden treasure of apple cider that touches upon precision, funk and finesse," Volfson says of this floral cider, perfect for even pigs in a blanket.
⑤ 2013 Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Secco 'Monovitgno' ($28)
This magenta-hued Emilia-Romagna bottle is your charcuterie board's new best friend. "It's the forgotten celebratory bubble," she says. "This Lambrusco is driven by minerality with a touch of bitterness making it a great pairing with meats, cheeses and tuna tartare."
⑥ 2010 Recaredo Gran Reserva Brut Nature ($25)
Channel your inner Jean-Georges, appetizer-wise, for this Catalonia stunner. "Such an elegant mousse," Volfson says, referring to the cluster of tiny bubbles that form when it's poured. "I wouldn't hesitate to serve this with soft-scrambled eggs and caviar."
⑦ Christian Etienne Brut NV ($30)
"This Champagne holds up very nicely with spice-driven food," Volfson says. It's the house pour at Cosme—"I would pour it throughout an entire meal"—but we imagine it goes well with kimchi deviled eggs, too.
Check out Cosme for yourself with DINE by Tasting Table.
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