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Brut, Without the Brutal Price Tag

Alright, all of you last-minute purchasers of New Year’s bubbly, here are my picks for affordable sparking wines:

1) Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, about $12 US, $14 Cdn. This Spanish Cava was on my list last year and it’s back again as the best choice to stand in for a true Champagne. I’ve been buying it ever since Wine Spectator scored it a 90 back in the ‘90s, and the price has barely edged up since that first rave review. The wine has fine bubbles and a creamy texture, with notes of yeast, herbs and lemon zest. Quaffability Rating: 89

2) Château de Montguéret 'Crémant de la Loire' Brut Non-Vintage, about $15 US, $19 Cdn. As the name indicates, this wine is from France’s Loire region and is made from a blend of Chenin Blanc, Cabernet and Chardonnay grapes. It’s a winner for under $20, with tart flavours of lime rounded out by smooth stone fruit notes. Quaffability Rating: 90

3) Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut NV, about $15 US, $19 Cdn . Surging sales of Prosecco, the Italian version of Champagne as taking a big bite (or gulp?) out of the Champagne market and if you taste this Nino Franco, you’ll know why. For under $20, you get palette-pleasing small bubbles, racing acidity, green apple and unripe pear flavours and a long finish. Quaffability Rating 90

I’ll be drinking a traditional Champagne this year, since I received one as a gift: the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut. We’ll see how it stacks up against my value list. Happy New Year.


“Brut, Without the Brutal Price Tag”