Champagne is great. It tastes better than non-sparkling wine (in my opinion), and leaves you better the next day. It seems to be easier on the stomach, and is associated with celebration and rockin’ good times.
But it can also be expensive, and easy to overspend on. Here’s how to keep your bubbly budget in check, without drinking cheap junk.
Consider Cava Or Another Other Sparkling Wine
First, consider cava. Like Champagne, cava is sparkling wine, but usually from Spain instead of France. In fact, the big thing to remember here is that usually, something will not be called Champagne unless it comes from Champagne, France. However, there are many sparkling wines other than Champagne, from many places. So, the first thing you can do is drink good cavas or other sparkling wines.
How do you identify good cavas and other sparkling wines? Like everything today, there’s an app for that! I personally use Vivino. It has paid and free parts, but the free part lets you take a picture of a wine bottle label (most any wine, whether sparkling or not), and it will instantly look it up for you and give you things like its rating or average price (cava prices are usually lower than champagnes’). That way, you have an idea of what you’re buying.
(Also, if you’re the sneaky type, you can use Vivino to scan the labels of wine that people bring to your house for dinner parties or otherwise gift you, and get some juicy info, including an approximation of what they spent) (of course, I would never do that to my friends… ;-)).
What to Bring to A Nice Party
What if you get invited to your boss’s dinner party and you want to be fancy? I’ve found that a good solution is to bring a bottle of Champagne in the $25-$35 range. This is good because it’s perceived as classy, and most fancy people will instantly recognize it. It’s not the same as bringing some unknown bottle of wine, where your boss will not know if it’s junk or not. (And if it is junk, and your boss runs it through Vivino, it’s not a good situation).
So in that price range, I used to buy Moet & Chandon (which now comes in outrageous six-packs) or Veuve Clicquot. These cost (in my hometown of Miami) about $39.97 for the Moet and $32.99 for the Veuve for 750 mL bottles. See here and here. However, I recently discovered Laurent Perrier, which is just (or almost) as good. It’s also French Champagne and fancy looking, but it’s significantly cheaper, costing just $27.97 (see here). So, that’s what I’m buying right now.
In sum, it’s a good idea to drink cava and other sparkling wines yourself. If you need it to be Champagne, consider the Laurent Perrier.