Champagne Under $20
10 Champagnes Under $20
Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and let the celebration begin. But there's no need to flatten your wallet to mark a special occasion. We found 10 champagnes costing $20 or less that garner comparable reviews to their more costly counterparts.
1. Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry (Spain); (starting at $10).This cheap, versatile champagne from Spain is described as having flavor notes that include peach, melon, and candied citrus, which make it a little sweeter than a Brut. Because of its fruity flavor, Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry can accompany a fancy, spicy meal or a casual pizza get together, making it a best buy for any occasion.
Roederer Estate NV Brut
2. Roederer Estate NV Brut (California); (starting at $20).A Brut contains about 1.5 percent sugar in a 750ml bottle, which results in a dry, less sweet champagne; the Roederer Estate NV is a prime example. While dry, this sparkling wine is also described as crisp with flavors of pear, spice, and hazelnut. It is a complex champagne and takes a minimum of two years to age, which makes it an especially good find for $20.
3. Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV (California); (starting at $13).Gloria Ferrer markets this affordable Brut as its signature blend. Hailing from California, this cheap champagne starts with a blend of 20 base wines before undergoing the fermentation process a second time, with a proprietary yeast, to make it even more complex. It still comes at a bargain price and boasts a pear flavor with floral and almond notes.
4. Segura Viudas Aria Brut Cava (Spain); (starting at $12).Wine Enthusiast Magazine describes the finish of this cheap sparkling wine as "smooth and easy going." It offers notes that the producer identifies as fresh pineapple, almonds, honey, and straw, and is a good pairing with grilled chicken, white fish, and mild cheeses. At this price you can afford to splurge on the food.
5. Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava (Spain); (starting at $8).The second fermentation process, when the bubbles are produced, occurs in the bottle of this bargain bubbly. A Brut with apple and citrus notes and a clean finish, it is an appealing steal at less than $10 a bottle.
6. Chandon Blanc de Noirs (California); (starting at $17).Chandon's Blanc de Noirs is the traditional champagne served at receptions hosted by the President of the United States, which goes to show that a cheap sparkling wine is fit for world leaders. Affordable, yet complex, this full-bodied sparkler is a blend of two popular varieties, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and presents flavors of red fruit, such as dark cherry, currant, and strawberry.
Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV
7. Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose NV (France); (starting at $19).Rose sparkling wines incorporate some skin from the grapes, making it pinkish in color; here, Pinot noir grapes are the base. Rose champagnes are typically more expensive, but not this Brut rose from France. Both fruity and creamy, the spirit is rich and dense, reviewers assert, yet sells for a fraction of the cost of many roses.
8. Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad (Spain); (starting at $20).Not only does the fullness of this champagne give the illusion of an expensive Cava (a Spanish sparkling wine), but the packaging does, too. The bottle is adorned with an intricate coat of arms making it look much more upscale than it really is. Citrus is the main flavor note.
9. Barefoot Bubbly California Premium Extra Dry (California); (starting at $9).This cheap sparkling wine, with its apple flavor notes and vanilla finish, is especially tasty paired with desserts and fresh fruit -- perfect for a wedding or birthday celebration. And would you believe a bottle that retails for less than $10 won a gold medal at an international wine competition in 2009?
10. Mumm Napa Valley Brut Prestige (California); (starting at $18).A medium-bodied sparkling wine known for layers of flavors that include citrus, strawberry, melon, fig, and spice, this Brut from Mumm delivers a lingering finish, as well. Once chosen as an Editor's pick by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and appearing as No. 48 on the Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2010, it has never had a problem making a name for itself regardless of its cheap price.