Champagne

The Absolute Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Champagnes, According to a Wine Expert

These bottles of bubbly offer the greatest value for the price.

December 19, 2018
Photo by Studio 52

You can catch me drinking Champagne pretty much all year long, because I consider any occasion—be it a low-key night in with friends to a full-blown cocktail party—a celebration. So on New Year's Eve —Champagne's unofficially official holiday—you can bet I'll be pouring myself (and my parents) glass after glass of the good stuff as we ring in 2019.

Except this year, instead of grabbing any old random bottle off the shelf (I may love bubbly, but I'm no expert) I turned to John Slover, a sommelier (a fancy word for someone that knows a boat-load about wine) and corporate beverage director for Major Food Group, the team behind New York City spots like Dirty French and Carbone. Since I can't spend my entire New Year's Eve budget on Champagne alone (a girl's gotta eat, too!), I asked John for the best bang-for-your-buck bottles, the ones that offer up a supreme tasting experience without any serious sticker shock.

His first pick is the Delamotte Brut NV, which comes from the heart of Chardonnay territory in Champagne, France. "This gives it a crisp acidity and an underlying bedrock of minerality," he says. And although this Champagne is largely made using a Chardonnay grape, "there are small percentages of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for width, fruit, and aromatic charm," he adds. All this works together to create a sip that's light and refreshing yet still packed with a ton of flavor, and can usually be picked up for under $50.

Up next is the Diebolt-Vallois Brut Blanc de Blancs, which is made from 100% Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs region of Champagne, France. "It is light and fine with expressive intensity and complex aromatics, like peaches, pears, flowers, and toasty brioche," John explains. The best part? You can usually find this bottle for under $30—a steal for such a complex, nicely balanced Champagne.

Photo by Vineyard Brands
Photo by Diebolt-Vallois

If none of those sound exciting to you (everyone's taste is different!), John recommends getting familiar with a few names to help you when picking out a bottle. "There are certain importers and wholesalers whose names are synonymous with quality Champagne at value cost, such as Terry Theise, Neal Rosenthal, and Kermit Lynch," he says. "Additionally, there are brands that have a proven track record of quality that make terrific entry level wines, such as Roederer and Taittinger—names to remember."

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Top Comment:
“I absolutely love Veuve Cliquot. You can get it on sale for $42. Worth every cent. ”
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But no matter which Champagne you end up sipping, the foods you can pair them with are endless—and sometimes unexpected. "Caviar, oysters, and other shellfish are obvious choices," he says, "but pizza is much less obvious and no less perfect."


More Expert-Approved Bottles of Bubbly

Of course, the bottle you end up buying will depend on what's available in your area, so I asked the same question (what's the best bang-for-your-buck Champagne?) to another pro: Chris Lauber, the managing director and partner of New York City's Brigitte Bistro Moderne, where he also happens to curate the wine list. His top two picks: Champagne Geoffroy's Expression Premier Cru Brut and La Caravelle's Cuvée Niña Brut NV.

Photo by Champagne Geoffroy
Photo by La Caravelle

At Champagne Geoffroy, "a father-son team produce vibrant and fruit-forward Champagnes that are aged in cellar for at least three years prior to releasing," Chris says. "Their enthusiasm for top-class winemaking shows through this incredible and value-driven Champagne, with all three Champagne varietals inside the bottle." As a nice bonus, he adds, most people don't know about this remarkably well-priced Champagne (in the high $20s or low $30s online and in-stores), so showing up with it to a party is an easy conversation starter.

As for the Cuvée Niña, "it's a truly delicious Champagne that is based on the principle of value," Chris explains. "It has fine bubbles, classic Champagne notes of brioche on the nose, and an overall ability to pair perfectly with many different items," he adds, which makes it an incredible value bottle (about $38 to $45 in wine stores) for entertaining without the risk of an overdraft fee.


New Year's Eve Necessities

Which bottle of bubbly will you be sipping on this New Year's Eve? Tell us in the comments below!

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

4 Comments

melissa Y. January 30, 2019
Kermit Lynch does offer fabulous cheap champagnes, and every November, they do a champagne sale! I have never not loved one they offer, but the Brut Rose by Fourny et Fils is a personal favorite. (Who doesn't love pink bubbles?) It usually sells out quick, so mark your calendar for the beginning of November to truly stock up.
 
Stephanie G. December 29, 2018
I'm eager to try these. Please keep recommending your favorites...I'm always looking for a good value bottle!
 
ElleME December 28, 2018
I absolutely love Veuve Cliquot. You can get it on sale for $42. Worth every cent.
 
kim December 28, 2018
Seriously , you can get a decent bottle of sparkling wine at at Trader Joe's (Charles de Marque $19 ) and the Chandon is the best price you'll find anywhere . When I really want to go big in the champagne department (real champagne) I get Bollinger ,the brand that James Bond drinks because people LOVE the idea of James Bond wine for NYE , and because it's an amazingly elegant champs - as Lily Bollinger famously said “I only drink Champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. " And you can find it online at for $49-$59.00 , a good $20 or so less than retail stores .