Are you searching for that perfect bottle of bubbly to bring to a New Year's Eve party or to enjoy during a quiet evening at home, but you're overwhelmed by the choices in the sparkling wine section? Patch is here to help.
We checked in with experts around the North Shore to get their recommendations. Here's what they said:
Sandeep Ghaey, owner of Vinic Wine Company, 1509 Chicago Ave. in Evanston.
Ghaey said they like to "steer people away from the names that they're familiar with. … You can get a lot of bang for your buck from smaller sellers and smaller producers," he said.
For a good value, Ghaey recommends sparkling wine from France. It's cheaper if you don't buy from Champagne region, because the land is so expensive there, he said.
Varichon and Clerc from the Seysel region is $11.99.
"It's considered one of the top producers out of this very small region,” he said. "It's my go-to, every day sparkling wine."
In the medium price range, he recommends Ayala champagne from Aÿ in the Champagne region, $36.99.
And if you want to go over the top: Krug, $159 from Reims in the Champagne region
Sean Parisi, certified specialist at WineStyles, 1517 Waukegan Road, Glenview:
At the lower end of the price range, Parisi recommends Paul Cheneau “Gold Bubbles” Cava retails for $14. It is made using traditional champagne techniques, blending classic French traditions with modern Spanish style. The wine is crisp and refreshing with tangy green apple flavors with a lively effervescence, he said. "If you’re looking for affordable bubbly it is hard to beat the quality and value of the Spain’s Cavas."
He also recommends Gruet – Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico, which retails for $16, and which he calls the highest quality and best value in domestic sparking wine.
"Recognized as one of the top 100 wines of the year by Wine Spectator Magazine in 2011, it is hard to find another domestic sparkling wine that delivers so much focused flavor and elegance for such a reasonable price," he said.
If you're looking for a more high-end drink, Parisi recommends Billecart Salmon - Champagne – Brut Rose, which retails for $90.
"Long considered the sommeliers' recommendation for most outstanding non-vintage champagne, this is the benchmark for non-vintage rose." He added that it's a "really exceptional treat for a special occasion."
Emily Link, owner of Winnetka Wine Shop, 726 Elm St., Winnetka
Link broke her recommendations into two categories:
Raventos Blanc 2009, cava from Spain. For $19.99, she says it has clean crisp notes. She serves it at her house.
Launois Grand Cru Champagne from Champagne region in France, $45. It’s made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes with toasted notes and a creamier taste.
"The bottle has a unique shape so it makes for a nice presentation," Link said said. “It’s well worth every penny.”
Gabriel Cho, manager of Worldwide Liquors, 833 Waukegan Road, Deerfield
Cho recommends Gruet Brut, a New Mexico champagne retailing for $17.99.
"I had it at my previous tasting and people liked it," he said. "It did pretty well."
Good Grapes, 685 Vernon Ave, Glencoe
The store recommends the Besserat Brut from the Epernay region in France. The champagne is round with a rich structure and notes of fresh apricot and peach that fills the whole mouth and is priced at $55.