How Sommeliers Get Through the Holidays Pt. 3

From selecting wines for parties and pairings, to finding great values or gems worthy of a splurge; wine questions are abundant this time of year! So, we asked our wine advisors to share their tips on ways navigate the world of wine during the holidays. Here's the last edition of our blog series, How Sommeliers Get Through the Holidays.

What's your go-to Champagne alternative? 

JORGE: Blanquette de Limoux, which not only is easy to find, but way less expensive and still has that French flavor! 

PETE: You can always look to Cremant d'Alsace, Franciacorta, Cava and even Prosecco for great value. There are many great alternatives but to name a few:

Francois Chidaine, Vouvray, "Petillant Natural," Loire Valley, France.
Analemma, "Atavus-Blanc de Noirs, Columbia Gorge, Washington
Gruet, Brut, New Mexico
Jansz, Brut Rose, Tasmania, Australia  

JENNIFER: Cremant de Loire, it's crisp and fresh! Outside of France, I think there is great Cava and Prosecco to be found. Both regions, in Spain and Italy respectively, are producing beautiful, dry wines, often for a fraction of Champagne prices. 

ALEX: I usually go for a high end Cava such as the Naveran "Dama", Raventós i Blanc or Gramona Brut Nature Gran Reserva. 

GINA: Franciacorta, Italy's best example of sparkling, is often overlooked and rarely disappoints. Cà del Bosco and Bellavista are good examples. For bargain sparkling made in Méthode Champenoise, I think Graham Beck Brut is a great value.

What's the your go-to for value Champagne? 

JORGE: Couple options are Robert Moncuit and Piper-Heidsieck! 

PETE: Bereche & Fils, Brut Reserve, Montagne de Reims, NV and Ayala, Brut Majeur, Ay, NV.  These are both great bottles that are on the dry end for a brut, but are not overly austere.  The Bereche family has been in Champagne since the mid-19th century, having sold their grapes to larger houses.  It's only in recent decades that they started bottling their own wines and the results have been fantastic. Ayala is a smaller house with a focus on low-dosage, Chardonnay dominated bottlings.  A great discovery.  

JENNIFER: Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne is a great bottle of bubbly, often found for less then $40! 

ALEX: Pierre Peters I simple adore. Most grower Champagnes offer a lower price point than some of the more established Champagne houses. Some can be tough to find but this one for the most part is readily available. 

GINA: Pol Roger Brut Réserve and Tarlant Brut Zero. Both are boutique producers who produce well balanced, bright, and versatile wines.