If Champagne's not in your budget, consider ringing in the New Year with its lower-cost cousin. True Champagne is only produced in the Champagne region of France; everything else on the shelf is deemed a sparkling wine.
There's a lot to like about all sorts of bubblies, said Brian Abrams and Chris Brown of Corner's Beverage Shoppe in Polaris. "A lot of the people who are making these sparkling whites have Champagne experience," Brown said.
They selected two sparkling whites and one bottle of Champagne to recommend below, before throwing out some serving and sipping suggestions.
To open a bottle without making a foamy mess, remove the foil and wire cage and cover the cork with a small towel; hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and gently twist out the cork, avoiding that explosive "pop!" at all costs.
Serve chilled, and think of bubbly as a delicate white wine when it comes to food pairings: tarts, nuts, white cheeses and fruit. "Some of the champagnes that are really good, you can taste a nuttiness in the background of it," Brown said.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva
Region: Penedes, Spain.
Flavors: Dry and crisp, with the taste of apples, citrus and some spice
Pairs well with: Fruit trays heavy on pears and apples
Brian Abrams' advice: "This stuff is really good. It's a bargain. It's different. ... We have people come in for wedding receptions and buy cases of this stuff."
Schramsberg Mirabella Brut Rose
Region: North Coast, California
Flavors: Subtle sweetness of strawberry
Pairs well with: Cheese ball and crackers or puff pastries
Brian Abrams' advice: "The first time we smelled it, we tried it, we were like, 'We have to bring this in.' It's a bargain for as good as it is."
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut
Region: Champagne, France
Flavors: Apple and pear tastes with mineral qualities
Pairs well with: Drink it alone as a toasting favorite
Brian Abrams' advice: "If you really want, 'Hey, it's the New Year, let's treat ourselves.' This is not the most expensive, but it's the best. It really is."