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Holiday Wines | Tip 4: Pick Affordable Sparkling Wines

Celebratory alternatives to pricey Champagne include cava from Spain and Prosecco from Italy, among others.

Star Selection

Mionetto Prosecco Brut ($15)

This vibrant, appley bottling comes from one of the most well-known Prosecco producers, founded in the late 1800s on the hillsides of Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Italy’s Prosecco region.

More Great Wine Values

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ($10)

Like all cavas, this earthy, citrus-tinged sparkling wine is a blend of the regional Spanish grapes Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo. Made in the same way as Champagne (i.e., with the secondary fermentation that produces the carbonation occurring in the bottle), it’s one of several good-quality Cavas from Segura Viudas, which started producing sparkling wines at the end of the 19th century.

Zardetto Prosecco Brut ($16)

Italy’s Zardetto, whose vineyards are located in the Conegliano hills outside Venice, is one of the best-known names in Prosecco. Its basic brut bottling has a ripe grapey aroma and rich fruity flavors with a touch of baked bread on the finish.

Jaillance Clairette de Die Cuvée Impériale Tradition ($19)

This refreshing, faintly sweet wine comes from a little-known region near the tiny town of Die, in southeastern France. It’s a blend of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Clairette grapes and is quite light in alcohol—only 7 percent or so, whereas most sparkling wines are around 12 percent.

Albinea Canali Ottocentonero Dry Lambrusco ($18)

Black-purple in color, this festive Italian sparkling wine from Emilia-Romagna has enough flavor to make it ideal for main courses of all kinds. Though it’s so deeply purple in hue that it seems almost brooding, the wine is actually not heavy at all. Instead, it’s full of juicy black raspberry fruit that ends on a dry, lightly tannic finish.

Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ($20)

Primo Franco, the third generation owner and winemaker of this top-notch Prosecco producer, creates wines that range from sweet to bone-dry. Rustico has just a bare hint of sweetness, which seems only to amplify the intensity of its pear fruit.

Jeio Prosecco Brut ($18)

Like all Proseccos, this peachy, fragrant sparkling wine is made in large stainless steel tanks, pressurized to retain the CO2 produced during fermentation—hence the lively bubbles. It’s produced by the Bisol family, which has been growing grapes in Italy’s Veneto region since the 16th century (though the family only started selling its own wine in 1875).

Botter Verduzzo Prosecco Frizzante ($13)

Botter, in Italy’s Veneto region, got its start in the early 1900s when its founder, Carlo Botter, gave up farming to start a business as a wine broker. Still family-owned, the Botter firm now produces both sparkling and still wines. Among the former is this lightly bubbly Prosecco, with a lemon-apple scent and fresh flavor.

2005 Raventós i Blanc L’Hereu Brut Cava ($20)

One of the youngest producers of cava—the company was only founded in 1986—Raventós i Blanc owns about 300 acres of chalky-soil vineyards (ideal for sparkling wine production) in Spain’s Penedès region. Its cava is crisp and elegant, with lemon and biscuit notes.

5 Smart Tips for Holiday Wine Buying:

Published November 2008
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