Bargain champagne showdown
Here's a scenario built for disaster. You're late to a New Year's Eve party, and you forgot to grab some champagne. Your neighborhood grocery store's the only thing open, and you're tapped out from holiday shopping.
Can you still get something decent to pop when the ball drops?
To save you much time (and a potentially horrible hangover), we tried four types of champagne to find the best supermarket bubbly for less than $10.
ABV: 5 percent
You'll find this bottle to be sleek and of an interesting color. Then you'll notice that it bears the following fine print: "Malt beverage with natural flavors."
You've essentially purchased a giant bottle of Zima, so the sweet, syrupy flavor should come as no surprise. It has a distinct grape taste - that is, like grape candy, not a fine French varietal.
A good purchase if you've ever thought to yourself, "Man, I just can't get enough Bubble Tape!"
Model: Extra dry
ABV: 9.5 percent
The Andre family has been passed around enough clumsy middle-school chugfests. That crest and banner aren't fooling anyone.
A faint smell of light-style American lager gave way to a decent flavor that was only slightly sweet and surprisingly pleasant. Compared to the others, it was fairly light and airy.
At $5, it might be the best value of the bunch.
ABV: 12 percent
Gold foil might be played out, but nothing evokes class like a scrimshaw print of a large bird preening among some reeds. Nice touch, Crane Lake.
An oaky aroma preceded a light, dry liquid that had none of the obvious flaws of its three competitors. Tiny, delicate bubbles continued through the entire swallow.
The prettiest bottle held the tastiest champ. Maybe you can judge a book by its cover.
ABV: 9.5 percent
The red-green-white motif screams Italian charm - in the same way and at the same volume as Snooki and The Sitch.
Though not heavy or thick, this was still surprisingly sweet, much like a cider beer. The apple-ish taste was OK at first but was soon too much to take.
You're better off buying a sixer of Strongbow, so at least people know what they're getting into.