Champagne Tasting

TheBashionista drinks champagne so you don't have to! Read here for our unbiased reviews of some affordable bubbly.

Friends of mine are selecting some champagne for their wedding. Their mission: To find an affordable wine that people will actually enjoy drinking. I joined 10 other friends for a tasting at their house. This is an ingenious idea for a party; the hosts supplied the wine, the stemware and the ballots, and the guests were encouraged to bring light snacks and snarky comments to share.

Here are my unilateral rulings:

Andre Champagne Brut

  • Price: $4.99 Like it!                         
  • This wine is serious arm candy. Fun to be around, pretty to look at, not too challenging.

Barefoot Cellars Moscato

  • Price: $5.99 Meh
  • It's like you smell a seductive perfume, turn around, and behind you there's an octogenarian wearing nothing but fruit on her head. Oh, dashed hopes!


Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava

  • Price: $6.99 HATE IT
  • I have just been assaulted by bubbles on steroids.


De Bortoli Sparkling Brut

  • Price: $14.99 HATE IT
  • Drinking this wine is like making out with an old man who has been sucking on cough drops.


Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut

  • Price: $11.99 Like it!
  • Nice and crisp. Bubbles are effervescent, not too strong. I can dig it!


Fontezoppa Voile Blanche Brut

  • Price: $11.99 Meh
  • Meh is the perfect word to describe this wine. Did I just drink something? Don't know, don't care.


Verdi Spumante

  • Price: $5.99 Love it!!
  • I am as excited about this as I was about my first flavored lipgloss. It's fun to be a grown-up! You can drink candy all night.

If you're on the hunt for some cheap bubbly and want to do further research, I asked the Proprietor of Summerlin Wine & Spirits and all-around wine expert, Jen Toth, for her suggestions:

"Cavas are the way to go for sure. There's a Spanish cava called Segura Viudas that's really good. Also Codorniu. Prosecco is another option. Somewhat good is Zonin Prosecco - I give it 3 stars out of 5. Cupcake makes a prosecco which will come down in price with quantity - and that label's slammin.'"

Want more wine advice from our resident expert, Jen? Click here if you would like to look like you know about wine.

JP resident Liz Doran shows you how to throw amazing parties on a budget. You can follow her at twitter: @bashionista. Or visit her website at: TheBashionista.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lamar Vannoy March 25, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I'm just going to say it: This is the worst damn blog in the neighborhood. You could write a blog called "Liz Plays The Grease Soundtrack" and host a stream of a different song each week and it would still be better than this. When the Whose Fooders were talking about eliminating "gentrification" in the neighborhood, it's now clear they were talking about you specifically. This is the most vapid, fluffy, worthless piece of hastily scrawled blather AOL has to offer. Considering it's the same company that solicits free content for the Huffington Post, that's saying quite a lot. We're all dumber for reading your missives. May God, Gaia, Krishna and everyone on Mount Olympus have mercy on your soul.
Meredith West March 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Some people get their pleasure by being rude. Are you quite satisfied now Lamar? Perhaps you'd like a tissue? I actually enjoyed this piece since wine and champagne selections are often intimidating and a rather random guess. I esp. liked her embracing and enjoying the less expensive brands. Looking forward to your next tasting, etc.
Chris Helms (Editor) March 25, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Hi Lamar, Thanks for sharing your opinion. As editor, I aim to have a wide range of JP folks blogging. Not every one of them will be to your taste, of course. And while sharp elbows are okay here in the comments, please remember Liz is your neighbor and mine.
Liz Doran March 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Dear Lamar, Believe it or not, there are people in Jamaica Plain who drink champagne, and I hate to break it to you, but drinking a $5 bottle of anything does not mean you are suddenly a member of the landed gentry. A group of your neighbors taste-tested some champagne and shared the results. Period. You made the choice to read about it. If you're interested in a consumer report, great, and if you are not, I could not possibly care less. Instead of spending your time reading blogs you aren't interested in and writing hateful comments, why don't you do something useful and track down the person who invented LOLcats and give them a piece of your mind? For someone who is so violently opposed to "vapid" "fluffy" and "worthless" things, the internet must be a pretty terrifying place.
Susan March 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Oh "Lamar", I sense so much unhappiness reflected in your post. Work on your soul. Also, if you are going to send disparaging posts to people, you should be brave enough to use your real name... or (if this somehow IS your real name) consider changing it legally to the title of a less mediocre song? Either way, it would be better than "Lamar Vannoy".
David Perkins March 26, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Liz, While I appreciate the defense of the thesis, your defense would be a bit stronger if you were actually tasting "Champagne." Without going into a needless discussion of appellations and fermenting methods, some of your selections are a bit off. Cava is a fine sparkling wine and was called "Champagne" in its infancy, but any Catalonian will tell you that it's a beast all its own. Moscato, also, is a fine sparkling wine but isn't so much "Champagne" as it is an Asti. It's an Italian New Year's mainstay. When it comes to Verdi, however, that's not wine at all. It's a malt beverage that bears no resemblance to champagne. It's as similar to a champagne or sparkling wine as Mike's Hard Lemonade. Both E&J's Andre and Domaine Ste Michelle are both great examples of low cost bubbly that's equatable to champagne. The latter uses methode champenois to get its bubbly texture, while the former is one of the few labels in the country that's allowed to be called "champagne." It's grandfathered in under the name "California champagne" and was the first champagne my parents had. Other than that, I'd listen to Lamar Vannoy. Apparently, he drinks 'til he falls down... oioioioi!
Rodney Raftery March 26, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Dear Lamar. To pair Ms. Doran with gentrification shows your lack of knowledge about her blog and her way of doing things. I've followed Thebashionista.com for quite some time, and was so happy when I found her in the JP Patch. I think it is the perfect fit — The Bashionista and JP. Her suggestions are always creative, fiscally attainable for just about anyone, and genuinely warmhearted and fun. In my opinion, she embodies the spirit of Jamaica Plain. I moved to JP in 1976 and have seen a great many changes. So...well...I know better than you.
Liz Doran March 26, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Dear David Perkins, Excellent points! You're quite right - all the wines sparkled, but none were technically champagne. I'm clearly no wine expert - but I do know what I like. Thanks for keeping us informed!
Chris Helms (Editor) March 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Hi Jerry, thanks for the research. I've reached out via email to the person writing as "Lamar" to let him or her know about our comments policy being for folks to use their real names.


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