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Kiss 2020 Goodbye With These Champagnes and Sparkling Wines Under $80

Uproxx

What a truly awful year 2020 has been. Between the coronavirus pandemic, months and months of isolation and quarantine, a growing death toll, widespread job loss, police shootings, mass protests, and a dramatically drawn-out election, we think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to the fresh start a new year brings and the new opportunities that come with it. Even if the turning of the calendar won’t magically fix everything.

But in spite of its general shittiness (or perhaps because of it), 2020 is still deserving of a proper send-off. And what better way to toast the end of a low-quality year than with a few glasses of high quality bubbly?

We’ve put together a list of 10 champagnes and sparkling wines fit for ringing in what will hopefully be a better new year. All the bottles included are priced under $80, because celebrating the completion of a truly crappy 2020 shouldn’t break the bank. These bubbles can all be found in stores across the U.S., but we’ve included delivery options in the linked price-points for online shopping as well.

Pro-Tip: Skip the flute glasses this year in exchange for tulip or standard wine glasses. True, flutes do display bubbles better, but since many of us are likely celebrating at home solo or with the same few people we’ve been seeing all year, what’s there to really show off? Tulip-shaped and regular wine glasses have the room to help the aromatic nuances of the wine escape from the glass, which can really heighten the drinking experience.

Ruinart Blanc De Blancs NV

Clos19

ABV: 12%
Average Price: $79
The Wine:

Founded some 290 years ago, Ruinart is one of the oldest established Champagne houses in the world. So they know a thing or two about producing top-tier bubbly and their non-vintage Blanc De Blancs, comprised of 100 percent Chardonnay grapes, is a great example of the quality wines they make.

This bubbly is a mashup of grapes picked from Premiers Crus from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims vineyards and wines from Vesle Valley, which gives it the refinement and maturity of some of Ruinart ’s grandest vintages and the light freshness of the winery’s younger offerings.

Tasting Notes:

The smell of citrus is pretty intense when you first pop the bottle, but at first sip, you’ll notice how soft this Champagne is — despite its taut effervesce and persistent bubbles. It’s delicate with notes of white flowers and juicy fruits like peaches and pineapple. The end is fresh and memorable.

Bottom Line:

This elegant Champagne is a bang for your buck considering the fact that Ruinart produces many vintages that cost double the price.

Nyetimber Classic Cuvee

Selfridge

ABV: 12%
Average Price: $64

The Wine:

This pale-golden wine hails from the West Sussex and Hampshire region of England. It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes from various vintages that age in the Nyetimber cellars for at least three years.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of almonds, crusty bread, and pastries are prevalent while the palate is a lively, fizzy tart of Delicious Red and Pink Lady apple flavors. The bubbles are sturdy and consistent from first sip to last drop. The sparkling wine wraps up with quick and clean finish softened with a note of lemon curd.

Bottom Line:

This is a polished and easy-sipping sparkling wine that’s ready-to-drink for any occasion.

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut

Clos19

ABV: 12%
Average Price: $60

The Wine:

What’s a party without a couple of Yellow Labels? Veuve Clicquot’s signature blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay is a blend of grapes from between 50 to 60 different Crus. Together the fruit creates a silky bubbly perfectly balanced with freshness and finesse.

Tasting Notes:

Like its label suggests, this Champagne is a dashing golden-yellow in color and a dead giveaway to the buttery, crusty brioche aroma that permeates from the glass. The bubbles are just as radiant—tight and hearty yet intrinsically silky, explosive in the pour but subtle in the sip, while freshness leads on the palate and throughout.

Bottom Line:

This champs tastes as good as it looks on the many Instagram posts that will be flooding your timeline on New Year’s Eve. No filters necessary.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve NV

Drink Dispatch

AVB: 12%

Average Price: $50

The Wine:

The year was 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon married and launched Maison Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ with the help of her brother Louis Salmon. Since then, the family estate has been synonymous with producing excellent blends of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, like this one.

The grapes used for this champagne are a blend of berries grown in three different years and spends between two and four years aging in the bottle before it’s ready to serve and sip.

Tasting Notes:

This champagne is piercing with slow, delicate bubbles that smell of flower petals and honey. It delivers on the mouth-watering acidity while maintaining a particularly creamy profile on the palate, highlighted by flavors of crispy Asian pears.

Bottom Line:

If you’re into Champagnes that aren’t overpowering in effervesce but still land high on flavor, this is the one for you.

Gloria Ferrer 2017 Brut Rosé

Luekens Spirit and Wines

ABV: 12.5%
Average Price: $50

The Wine:

Heavy rains in the spring of 2017 led the winemakers at California’s Gloria Ferrer to call for harvesting 10 days earlier than normal. And heat waves during the picking season had them anxious that the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay used to make this exquisite sparkling wine would over-ripen. But in the end, their worries turned into a major win as the unusual weather helped to produce a dazzling pink drink so good you’ll be licking your lips after the first sip.

Tasting Notes:

This is a pretty pink and dry sparkling wine born in Gloria Ferrer’s sustainable vineyards in the Carneros region in Sonoma County. It’s vibrant with fragrances of strawberries and raspberries that nearly jump out the glass. The fruit is amplified on the palate with a steely, acidic structure that lasts throughout the lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

If — at any point — you’ve envisioned yourself frolicking around sunny open fields with a basket full of berries in the new year, this sparkling may be the closest you’ll get to actually experiencing that. If you’ve never thought of participating in any such activity but are still in search of a sparkling wine that is electrifying with fresh fruit, this is still a clear winner.

Gosset Brut Excellence

Wally

ABV: 12%
Average Price: $43

The Wine:

With a word as bold as “excellence” on the label, the juice inside the bottle had better be just as outstanding as its name suggests. Luckily, this blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier is exactly that: excellent.

The champagne spends at least three years in the dark underground cellars where Gosset has stored and aged its wines since the company’s founding in 1584. The end result is a dry and refreshing, full-bodied bubbly.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of apricot and peaches fill the nose while the sip leans into the Champagne’s crisp and dry texture. It’s almost chalk-like on the palate but freshness and minerality in the long and lingering finish gives it a delectable boost that begs for another glass.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine because it is indeed excellent in taste at a fraction of the price of most prestigious Champagnes. It’s also great for pairing and works well with a variety of foods from your New Year’s dumplings to pan-seared veggies and champagne’s favorite accouterment, fried chicken.

Schramsberg 2017 Blanc de Blancs

Crown Wine and Spirits

ABV: 12.2%
Average Price: $35

The Wine:

In 1965, Schramsberg’s Blanc de Blancs became the United States’ first commercially-produced, 100 percent Chardonnay sparkling wine. By 1972, the California wine was receiving international praise after President Richard Nixon served it at the historic “Toast to Peace” in Beijing, China. Since then, the wine has been a go-to for White House dinners and celebratory moments across America. And rightfully so — the joyous, tiny little bubbles that permeate the glass are as delicious as they are stunning.

Tasting Notes:

Have you ever taken a whiff of bowl of green apple slices marinated in a mound of lime zest? That’s what this sparkling wine smells like. The fruit-forward aromas are elevated on the palate with notes of candied lemon, dried pear, and soft, white bread hot out the oven. Overall, it’s a dry-leaning wine that is delightfully crisp on the sip and in the lengthy finish.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine because it is an American staple that is a damn good example of the quality bubbly the U.S. has to offer.

Ferrari Tento Brut

Wine Chateau

ABV: 12.5%

Average Price: $25

The Wine:

It wouldn’t be an understatement to call this the champion of Italian sparkling wines, because it actually is. This 100 percent Chardonnay claimed the gold medal at the 2019 Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships thanks to its robust and balanced expression.

Tasting Notes:

As yellow as a straw hat, this sparkling wine is a harmony of flawless ripe fruit and wildflowers on the nose. The refreshingly crisp, baking spice and nectarine notes on the palate gets a lift from a hint of yeast, resulting in a crusty bread-like essence that seems to expand the longer you sip the wine.

Bottom Line:

Not only is this sparkling wine an actual award winner, but it’s also winning in agility — with its ability to maintain its snappy acidic quality all while producing flavors that will have you feeling like you just left the pastry shop.

Rotari Brut Rose 2014

Drizly

ABV: 12.5 %
Average Price: $18

The Wine:

Born in valleys the and hills of Trentino in the heart of The Dolomites, this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is equally elegant and rich. The wine is vinified in steel tanks before it spends 24 months maturing on the lees (a fermentation process in which dead yeast cells and other particles remain in a wine in the bottle), leading to a mouthwatering final product.

Tasting Notes:

With its pale pink hue, this sparkling wine is bursting with aromas of raspberries and blackberries. On the sip, it’s like biting into a cherry tart. This wine is bubbling with red and black, sweet and sour, cherry notes. The pipping hot filling, the flaky crust, it’s all there in the glass. In texture though, the wine is pretty acidic, bristling with minerality in the finish. The racy little bubbles are persistent throughout.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for easy-sipping, fruit-forward elegance, this rosé gets the job done for a steal of a price.

Bisol Jeio Prosecco Brut

Liquorama Fine Wines and Spirits

ABV: 11%
Average Price: $14

The Wine:

Now here’s a truly sensational Prosecco hailing from Valdobbiadene, a town in the province of Treviso, Veneto, Italy. Driven by dry minerality, this wine is dynamic in aromatics and taste that may leave you gawking at its very reasonable price point.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lot of citrus fragrances spilling out of this medium-bodied, straw yellow sparkling wine. Meanwhile, the palate zings with cool salinity and hints of lemon and lime. The finish isn’t too long but it is totally invigorating.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine when you want to save in price and not quality. It’s great as a standalone Prosecco, but it makes a mighty fine mimosa for your New Year brunches too.

Source: Kiss 2020 Goodbye With These Champagnes and Sparkling Wines Under $80

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Written by Janice Williams

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