Wedding bubbly 6-7-2023

June—the wedding month. Time for celebration and Champagne. Well, yes and no.

Celebration, surely. Champagne at the wedding? Let’s think about that.

Many weddings, at least the reception part, are boisterous, topsy-turvy events. A wonderful whirl of activities by an eclectic gathering of people who likely fill out the entire bell curve of wine drinkers.

True champagne starts out at $40 a bottle and quickly bubbles up from there. There are more cost-efficient sparkling lubricants to encourage bonhomie and create a festive nimbus around the newlyweds.

Consider two sparkling wines made the same way as Champagne—where the second fermentation occurs in the bottle you pour. The fancy name is méthode traditionnelle.

When such sparkling is made in France, but not in the Champagne region, it typically is labeled crémant or with a specific appellation designation. These can be found in the $25-50 range.

When the sparkling is made in Spain, it is called cava, and major values abound. Bottle prices can be as low as $15 and many of your guests likely could not tell the difference between cava and a Champagne costing tens times as much. In fact, since both crémant and cava can be lighter and crisper with more approachable fruit flavors, many may prefer those pours over wallet-wacker wines.

If you want to stay within the borders of both the USA and your budget, there are affordable bubbles made in Washington, California, Oregon, and New York. Korbel, for instance, makes a lovely California brut rosé for $15. And never forget the amazing, affordable sparkling Gruet makes in New Mexico—an astonishing treasure wine writers have touted so often as a hidden gem it no longer is a hidden gem. Gruet definitely remains a gem, however, at less than $20.

Finally, there is the sparkling darling with soaring popularity—Italy’s prosecco. The wine is made using the cost-efficient tank method, creating a creamy pour in the $10-15 range. Father’s of brides can easily find succor in this choice, and a host of guests will celebrate the host’s bubbly call.

Champagne has its nuptial niche. We explore that next week.

Tasting notes

• Mack & Schühle Art of Earth Prosecco Frizzante DOC: Simple, pleasant, fresh, good acidity. Great example of tastiness and affordable quality. $12-16 Link to my review

• Josh Prosecco Rosé DOC: Charming crowd pleaser. Light, balanced, versatile. Excellent sipped by itself. $15 Link to my review

• Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence Sparkling Wine Mendocino County NV: Plush, creamy, vibrant acidity. $24-28 Link to my review

Last round: The wedding was so emotional, even the cake was in tiers. Wine time.