Drinks

9 Bottles of Bubbly That Are Better than Champagne

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9 Bubbles Better Champagne
Photo: Juan Nel/Shutterstock

If the idea of shelling out $50 or more for a lackluster bottle of bubbles leaves you feeling ice cold, consider widening your worldview.  

“Champagne can be awesome. I love Champagne. But with all that prestige often comes a big price tag,” Adam Kubrock, winemaker for Hillersden in Marlborough, New Zealand, explains. “Alternate styles of bubbles can provide all the thrill of Champagne at an everyday drinking price.”  

True Champagne entails strict geolocation and AOC designation, but there are loads of other fizzy wines available with the wink of a browser—and we're not just talking about Prosecco and cava. Here are nine bottles sure to make this New Year's Eve, well, pop.

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 Hillersden Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($24)

Marlborough, the largest wine region in New Zealand, is known for its Sauvignon Blanc. This sparkling version is crisp and light, with notes of citrus and stone fruit. It's fermented via the Charmat method, the steel tank system used to make Proseccos, resulting in a bright, fruity aroma without too much yeast or funk.  

 The Chook Sparkling Shiraz ($19)

This easy-drinking, ruby-colored sparkler features bright raspberry and cherry flavors alongside subtle hints of pepper and spice. The Champagne method gives these bottles their bubbles, and grapes come from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, two of Australia's top Shiraz-growing regions.

 Williamson Wines Sparkling Malbec ($105)

OK, so this one might not be cheaper than Champagne, but it earns its price tag in cult appeal. Inspired by Shiraz, this special-edition Sonoma sparkler combines the traditional Champagne method and grapes from a revered 2008 Malbec harvest. Dry and bubbly, it has strong plum and blackberry notes with undertones of toffee and leather.

 Early Mountain Vineyards Pét Nat Syrah ($30)

Pétillant naturels, or pét-nats, are made by bottling and capping still-fermenting wine and allowing it to complete fermentation in the bottle—resulting in peak effervescence. Made from Syrah grapes, this Virginia winery's beautiful, pale-pink rendition is ideal for starting the night: It's bright, fruity and pairs perfectly with cheese and hors d'oeuvres.  

 Mawby Cremant Classic ($27)

Made in Michigan (yes, Michigan) from vineyard-grown Vignoles grapes, Cremant Classic is a combination of oak-aged reserve wine and younger, steel-fermented vintage. Its crisp lemon and apple flavors are complemented by slight nuttiness.

 Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco ($22)

Favored by culinary tastemaker Yotam Ottolenghi, this Italian Lambrusco has been bottled by three generations of Paltrinieris. Only slightly filtered, the wine has bright, refreshing acidity that pairs well with charcuterie and oily fish like mackerel.

 Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling ($15)

Germany has a rich sparkling wine tradition, as evidenced by this sekt made from Mosel River Valley Riesling grapes. Delicate bubbles and notes of melon and peach make this affordable bottle a real crowd-pleaser.

 Gruet Brut Rosé ($17)

Fresh out of New Mexico (and you thought Michigan was a dark horse), this acclaimed, full-bodied sparkling rosé is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir. It is slightly floral with cherry, raspberry and strawberry notes.

 Pugliese Vineyards Sparkling Merlot ($26)

A black cherry aroma pervades this crimson sparkler from Long Island's North Fork. Pair it with dessert at the end of an evening for a strong finish.

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