Champagne alternatives for Christmas

Looking for something delicious but affordable to crack open over the festive season? Decanter experts, including our in-house tasting team and Susie Barrie MW, introduce a world of top-quality bubbles from beyond borders of Champagne. And most of them are less than £25-a-bottle...

Champagne alternatives for Christmas

Prosecco is dominating the headlines – there’s even a Prosecco flavoured tea now – but it all depends on what you’re after. Those wanting a sparkling wine that tastes closer to Champagne, will find better options in the New World, England and Franciacorta (Italy).

These Champagne alternatives are almost always produced by the traditional method – re-fermented in the bottle – and from the same grape varieties. Many also offer great value for the amount of flavour and class they deliver.

In terms of taste, the New World wines tend to be a little fruitier than their Champagne counterparts, while the English wines are frequently marked out by their racy acidity.

Then there’s Cava, which has suffered a bit in the squeeze between Prosecco and Champagne. But Spain’s most popular traditional-method fizz has redoubled its efforts to offer everything from very decent party wines at under £10 to more individual and complex boutique bottlings with prices in the Champagne realm.

Finally, don’t ignore French regions beyond Champagne, such as Crémant de Loire or Crémant de Limoux.

The best crémants and regional sparkling wines that are made using the traditional method, from local grape varieties, can offer delicious, robust and unusual drinking at very fair prices.

Whether you have in mind a New Year’s Eve party or a traditional Christmas lunch with friends, you’ll find there is something here to suit every palate, budget and occasion.

This article was updated in December 2016. It is based on the original piece by Susie Barrie MW, published in December 2015. Susie Barrie MW is the author of Mitchell Beazley’s Wine Made Easy: Champagne and Sparkling Wines.

Champagne alternatives

One more regional French sparkling wine to try: