NOW UPDATED FOR 2014
People are always asking us what the best choices are for budget Champagne. The answer to that question is almost always a recommendation for something other than actual Champage. Instead, we recommend certain bottles of Cava, Prosecco, or other white sparkling wines. With that in mind, we cheated with this list and interpreted “Champagne” to mean any white bubbly. So back to the original question, what is the best cheap Champagne? Here is our list of the top five bottles of cheap Champagne (based on wines we have reviewed):
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava
Perhaps the most common cava found in grocery stores across the United States, Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava cuts a striking image with a matte black bottle accentuated with gold lettering. It looks like it should be the stealth cava, except for the blingy font. That being said, eventually your guests will only be so impressed looking at the bottle. Eventually, everyone will actually have to taste the cava.
Luckily for everyone, the R.S.V.P. Brut delivers with a solid drinking experience. Made in the methode champenoise, this is a wine that is punching above its weight class. The champagne-style production creates a crisp, direct wine that solidly delivers its flavor and hits that brut level of sweetness just so while leaving a lingering, light citrus.
Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine
When we talk about Trader Joe’s champagne, there is that which is sold at Trader Joe’s and that which is both sold at and private labeled by Trader Joe’s. The Trader Joe’s Reserve North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine falls in the later category. Wines in this category tend to be hit or miss – sparkling wines especially.
Louise d’Estrée Brut
To sparkling wine connoisseurs, this, of course, means that Louise d’Estrée Brut is the most bland wine in the universe. They recommend staying as far away from this bottle as possible. On the other hand, to the majority of Trader Joe’s shoppers who are average folks looking to drink a lot and spend a little, this is a great bottle of sparkling wine that is mellow, inoffensive, cheap, and crowd pleasing.
Trader Joe’s Martellozzo Prosecco
This is the pinnacle of sparkling wine at Trader Joe’s. Of all the Trader Joe’s Champagne, Cava, Sekt, and Prosecco I have sampled, not a single one gives you a tastier bang for your buck than the Martellozzo Prosecco. At first glance, it looks like perhaps the most generic bottle on the shelf with nary a brand or name visible. Don’t let that deter you from giving it a try.