original Champagne

Best Sparkling Wine Brands under 30 by Wine Folly

Expect excellent quality sparkling wines from all places but Champagne.

$20–$30 – Getting Sophisticated

What does $10 more get you? About as close as you get to Champagne’s quality without paying for it. As this is a step up, these wines are for events where you need to do precisely that. An impressive wine that impresses. Perfect for your boss’ place, a fancy dinner party, or a sophisticated shindig where seemingly everyone knows something about wine. (Think anyone in New York or equally self-important cities.)

Bonus: You can buy at least one quality cooperative Champagne (What’s a cooperative?) by Nicolas Feuillatte for $29.99. While we have some examples, at this point, it’s useful to do a little extra homework on your smartphone (see tips below).

What You Get: Domestic Sparklers (Good), Reserva or Gran Reserva Cava (Excellent), Crémant (Excellent), Franciacorta (Good), Blanc de Blanc (Great), Sekt (Good)

Some Helpful Tips

  • Wine isaged on the lees, and age is a pretty good indication of quality. For example, vintage Champagne must be aged a minimum of 36 months.
  • Try the Italian Champagne alternatives, including Franciacorta DOCG or Trento DOC. Both are Chardonnay-based sparklers from Italy.
  • Look up the varieties used to get a better idea of the taste profile you’re getting.
  • Blanc de Blancs or Chardonnay-dominant? Expect more apples, starfruit, beeswax, and honeycomb.
  • Blanc de Noirs or Pinot-dominant? Expect white cherry, white raspberry, mushroom, and a touch more funk.
  • Macabeo, Xarello, or Parellada? These wines are typically leaner with quince, lime, and green apple notes.

A Few Examples

  1. Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine
  2. Scharffenberger “Excellence” Mendocino County Brut Sparkling Wine
  3. Domaine Carneros Brut California Sparkling Wine
  4. Schramsberg “Mirabelle” California Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
  5. Ferrari Brut Trento DOC
  6. Bellavista “Alma Cuvée” Brut Franciacorta DOCG
  7. Loxarel MM Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava
  8. Nicolas Feuillatte “Réserve” Brut Champagne