If you’re hosting Christmas celebrations or attending a gathering elsewhere the chances are that bubbly will be on the drinks menu. We know that budgets are tight during the festive season so we’ve rounded up what we think are the best champagnes and sparkling whites for a range of different budgets, so pop the corks, have some fun and drink responsibly!
Best for under $25
- Sparkling white (Australia): Brown Brothers Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier
I am a favourite of the Brown Brothers label (have you tried their Moscato? Hello flavour country!) This sparkling is no exception. It has been described as bready, yeasty and citrusy with clean aromas – this sparkling is great with all meats and seafoods. To describe it in one word … scrumdiddlyumptious!
- Champagne (Import): Aubert Et Fils Brut Champagne
The words ‘bargain’ and ‘Champagne’ rarely go together but they do with this bottle of bubbly. Aubert Et Fils Brut is full of elegant savoury aromas with hints of toast and truffles you’ll be shocked that such a fine Champagne can be bought for less than $25 a bottle. Goes splendidly with roast meats as well as cold cured hams and other deli small goods. I say buy in bulk if you can!
Best for under $50
- Sparkling white (Australia): Hanging Rock Macedon
This is a sparkling white that even Miranda would enjoy. The mix is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay – the best of both worlds. With a rich, bold and distinctly crisp yet balanced flavour this is a gem of an Australian sparkling wine which is still yet to be properly discovered. Wonderful at BBQs and also goes surprisingly well with cold seafoods – great for outdoor eating, bring to your neighbours for a barbecue or take it to a picnic but mostly enjoy in a crowd – this is some fantastic party bubbly.
- Champagne (Import): Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut
The saying goes that mum knows best, well so does Mumm! This bubbly is absolutely fantastic. Whether you’re serving party pies or the finest beluga caviar this Champagne is one of the finest bubblies you can buy for less than $50. A party staple for a reason – Mumm is perfect for all celebratory occasions and ‘just because’ excuses.
Best for under $100
- Sparkling white (Australia): House of Arras Grand Vintage
The fruits for this sparkling are sourced from Tasmania which may account for the crispness but it’s the overall lasting impression by the complimenting flavours and textures that will make this Aussie sparkling a personal favourite. Perfect for special occasions and goes especially well with pink fleshed fish like salmon or trout.
- Champagne (Import): Bollinger Special Cuvée
‘Twas a favourite with Bond for a reason – Bollinger is simply at the forefront of Champagne creation. With the base wine for this blend matured in oak this Champagne presents itself with a full bodied inviting character that will leave you wanting more but no matter how much you have it will never be enough. A perfect special occasion champagne, great as a gift and goes splendidly with cake (be it wedding or otherwise).
Best for under $150
- Sparkling white (Australia): House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged
The House of Arras has done it again. This is possibly their finest sparkling white, a truly elegant wine that exhibits all the hallmarks of the great French Champagne houses but hailing from our own shores. The flavour has been described as creamy, toasty and spicy – with notes that linger in all the right ways. Perfect for special occasions and will compliment any and all festive foods.
- Champagne (Import): Louis Roederer Brut Vintage
A great bang for your buck is what you get with this Champagne. The Louis Roederer brand doesn’t disappoint with this wine, being 70% Pinot noir and 30% Chardonnay you get the crispness of Chardonnay (but without the confronting dryness), the Pinot noir element brings a rich and fruity aroma to the palate – a fine bottle of bubbly and great for a party swimming with hors d’oeuvres (especially soft cheeses and fruit platters).
For richer, for poorer
- For poorer: Passion Pop Original
Many a fun night has begun with a bottle of Passion Pop (or its close cousin the equally priced Golden Gate Spumante). Now I can feel many of you cringing at my bubbly suggestion but dis it not! It mightn’t be the most refined of flavours, nor elicit an air of sophistication and elegance like the more expensive labels above … but what it lacks in class it makes up for in fun. Passion pop is the messy friend you knew at university that made the party more fun simply by turning up. Warning – fun comes with a serious hangover and the phrase “I’ll have just one glass” is seldom the case.
- For richer: Krug Clos d’Ambonnay
Bond might prefer Bollinger but the Ecclestones and the Zuckerbergs of this world can afford the finer things. Now you mightn’t be rolling in the cash just this minute but should you find yourself in the position of Monty Brewster and you need to spend it before you lose it then purchasing a few crates of Krug might be for you. If you’ve wondered what ambrosia tastes like – I imagine that this would be the closest thing on earth to it (I say imagine because at roughly $4K a bottle – imagining is all I’ll be doing any time soon!).
Do you open a bottle of champagne with gusto or are you scared of a flying cork? Share your fondest champagne related memory in the comments below!
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