Bubbles on a Budget: Celebrate without breaking the bank

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Chances are you will be holding a glass of bubbly in your hand at some point this month. Whether you are hosting a party or just getting into the holiday spirit, there are many reasons to break out the bubbly. Promotion? Cheers! Your best friend finally dumped her loser boyfriend? Huzzah! Champagne has quite the reputation, whether it is toasting your favorite couple or celebrating the upcoming holidays.
 
If you are convinced that you need to shell out $100 on a bottle of Dom because it’s the only respectable choice to ring in the New Year or celebrate, I’m about to burst your bubble. Now that the holiday season is upon us, everyone can find a reason to embrace champagne and sparkling wine. It can be overwhelming when it comes time to selecting one that is not only delicious, but budget friendly. For those of us on a more modest budget, selecting champagne can make your head feel a little fizzy. Selecting the wrong champagne could be dreadful if you are hosting a party (insert unhappy guest faces here).
 
How do you make sure you are getting the best bubbly for your dollar? Whether you are throwing the season’s best bash or planning on sitting at home when the calendar flips to 2012, here’s a hiccup free guide to understanding and selecting champagne or sparkling wine. 
 
Budget friendly bubbly under $30
There are plenty of area stores who offer a wide selection of bubbles at prices you can celebrate. It’s not necessary to splurge to enjoy great champagne. Jim Coley, wine director at Gomer’s Midtown, believes that shoppers need not spend a small fortune for an excellent bottle of bubbly. “I usually recommend the better side of the domestic sparkling wines than the cheaper side of the champagnes,” Coley says.  
To help you raise a glass and get in the New Year’s state of mind, here are five inexpensive champagnes and sparkling wines for less than $30 per bottle.
 
Sequra Viudas Cava Brut Reserva
Market Price: $8.99 at Gomer’s Midtown
 
Bourgeois Cuvee Stephi Ebullience
Market Price: $18.99 at Lukas Liquor Superstore,
Overland Park
 
Ca’Vittoria Prosecco 
Market Price: $18.99 at Lukas Liquor
 
Zardetto Prosecco Brut
Market Price: $13.48 at Gomer’s
 
Roederer Estate Brut NV 
Market Price: $19.98 at Gomer’s
 
Worth the splurge 
If you are set on splurging or are looking for that special bottle to celebrate with, here are three that come highly recommended from Gomer’s and Lukas Liquor that are worth shelling out for.
 
Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier d’Or 2004 
Market Price: $83.29 at Gomer’s
 
Chartoqne Taillet Sainte-Anne 
Market Price: $50 at Lukas Liquor
 
Jacque Selosse Initial Brut NV 
Market Price: $129.99 at Lukas Liquor
 
Buzz-free bubbles
Like the taste but don’t want the buzz? Here are two suggestions for non-alcoholic sparkling wines:
 
Ariel Brut Cuvee
Market Price: $5.99 at Lukas Liquor
 
Fre Brut
Market Price: $5.99 at Lukas Liquor
 
Baffled by bubbly? 
Are you feeling hung over from all the different kinds of champagne and sparkling wines out there? Still not sure what anything means? Champagne is classified by how much sugar it contains. Here’s a quick rundown:
 
Brut Nature – bone dry
Brut – no perceptible sweetness
Extra Dry – slightly sweet
Sec – sweet
Demi-sec – very sweet
Deux – extremely sweet
 
Also, stores that offer tasting events, such as the Kansas City, Mo., location of Lukas Liquor, Gomer’s, CellarRat and Red X, can be assets to shoppers who need to test the waters before purchasing. When in doubt, stop by your favorite liquor store and ask for help.

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