Photo: Getty Images
In the world of sparkling wine, champagne has always been the king of the castle. But in reality, champagne is just a name that can bring along with it an unnecessarily extra-large price tag.
Alternative sparkling wines, which are often made exactly the same way as champagne, have been growing in popularity and are super hot in the world of wine right now. Save yourself some money while serving something that wine snobs and leisure-drinkers alike will love. Whether a beautiful bottle of Portuguese espumante or Napa Valley sparkling, these are some of the most trending, interesting, and delicious sparkling wines perfect for any budget and wedding style.
Napa Valley Sparkling Wine: Schramsburg
If you don't want champagne but still want big name recognition, look no further than California's most influential sparkling wine producers — Schramsberg. Produced in the traditional champagne method, Schamsburg ages their sparkling wines in underground champagne caves, just like in France, for a perfect new world rendering of old world style. With a rich history dating back to 1867, Schramsburg is the perfect wine for going the traditional sparkling wine route, made by old world standards while simultaneously providing a sparkling wine whose name brings clout. Go for the classic 100 percent chardonnay blanc de blancs and don't look back.
Italian Franchacorta: Gatta
When people think of Italian sparkling wine they think of prosecco, but if you really wanted to drink the Italian version of champagne, you would probably go with franchacorta, the top-tier, more complex sparkling wine produced by Italy. Whereas prosecco is produced in large steel tanks, Franchacorta is fermented in bottle just like they do with champagne, creating a more sophisticated sip. While franchacorta is more on the pricey end of sparkling non-champagnes, Gatta's super crisp "Zero" franchacorta is well worth the higher price tag and will make for the most beautiful pairing to Italian-forward reception menus.
Spanish Cava: Recaredo
Cava has gained massive popularity over the past few years, and for good reason: it's an affordable rival to champagne that holds its own. While there are numerous cavas worth picking up that retail at around $20 a bottle or less, we say spend just a few more dollars and go with the revered Recaredo. A winery whose been making wine since 1942 that uses only biodynamic, estate grown grapes for a sparkling wine that is very high value for the price.
Portuguese Espumante: Vertice
Portuguese sparkling wines are super on trend right now and will be the perfect choice to serve to impress both your most esoteric wine-loving friend and casual drinker alike. Vertice from Portugal's Douro region is a great example of some of Portugal's top tier sparkling wines. Picked from grapes grown on high altitude terraces along the Douro river, Vertice is then produced in the classic champagnoise methods and aged in bottle. Go traditional with their champagne made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, or more inventive, with one of their bottles made from Portuguese indigenous varietals for something fresh and new.
British Sparkling Wine: Nyetimber
English sparkling wine? Yeah, it's a thing — and it's great. With the colder weather brings forward a honey, almond, and baked apple flavor on the palate that makes for complex sparkling you'll want to keep sipping. Go for the king of British sparkling with Nyetimber's classic cuvee and your guests will be more than impressed.
Non-Champagne French Sparklings: Château de la Liquière
Champagne isn't the only region doing great sparkling in France. If you're going to break out of the traditional champagne mold and want something that's unique and memorable to serve to your guests, we say go all the way and make a statement with a French sparkling rosé. Not only will its beautiful deep pink make for a playful pop of color, it's a great way to bend the rules and make it you. For a fruit-forward sip with a super stylish, hip bottle, we love the l'unique gas de shiste by Château de la Liquière, especially for warm weather weddings.