It’s no secret that I love champagne. All you have to do is hear the name of my company (even though it’s a metaphor), to gather that information. But true champagne isn’t an easy thing to buy on most people’s budgets. ‘Real’ champagne (although the Californians would argue this heavily) technically has to come from the actual Champagne region of France. And there they are only ‘allowed’ to use the following grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
France has other sparkling wines, such as Crémant, that are made in different regions, but they can’t be called ‘champagne’, Spain has their own sparkling wine called ‘Cava’ which uses indigenous grapes, Italy has ‘Prosecco’ and California has…well they have ‘California Champagne’ or ‘California Sparkling Wine’. Out of all of those options (and I’m only naming a few), my favorite champagne substitute-the one that tastes most like the real deal- is a good quality California sparkling wine.
Good California bubblies use the same grapes and the same method of production (méthode champenoise) as Champagne so they taste the most similar. I have a few favorites and I could go on and on all day about them but I’m only sharing one with you today. It’s one I’ve enjoyed for so many years. It is consistently good, at a reasonable price, and simply feels like home to me.
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut.
Gloria Ferrer makes a lot of different varieties- a Blanc de Noirs, Blanc de Blancs, a Rosé, plus other higher end bottles, but the plain ole Sonoma Brut is what I like. It runs under $20 if you get it at Total Wine (grocery stores charge you much more than that…even on ‘sale’). And it’s my go-to on ‘Champagne Sundays’ when I want something that I know will be good. I usually like to keep a bottle on hand at all times (you know, for emergencies and such) but mysteriously I’m all out at the moment…
It’s not a new wine, it’s not a big secret. It’s just a really solid, delicious sparkling wine that will never go out of style.
(…is it Sunday yet?)