Cheap, tasty champagne is one of the essentials of any New Year's Eve party, but selecting from the litany of bottles bearing words like brut and dry is often like rolling the dice.
You may not be on a 24/7 champagne diet anytime soon, but this list of five cheap New Year's champagnes that won't leave your tastebuds crying to go back to 2011 and your wallet thinner than you wish your waistline was will help you get through the decision process for which bottle to pop when the ball drops.
Below is a sampling of the top bottles to sip this New Year's, along with links to websites which can explain further why you'll be fine with a glass of the cheap stuff rather than dropping $500 on an aged bottle of Dom Pérignon.
Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley (about $20):
About.com's Weddings section described this brut as a rock-star champagne for the rock-bottom price. A multifaceted flavor profile makes this champagne by the maker of Cristal a winner for any New Year's Eve party, as it begins with a nutty, toasted flavor, followed by a citrusy, fruity finish.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve Particulière ($36):
Gayot.com gives this bottle top billing, despite its low impact on your wallet. Also known as Brut Blue Label, it is smooth and refreshing with a fruity flavor with a good balance of flavors. Its mix of top-notch grapes also gives it a complex, appealing nose.
Ballatore Spumante (less than $10):
This extremely cheap champagne will leave even the most strapped feeling like they're living the high life, according to About.com's Honeymoons writers. Having won a Double Gold Medal at a big wine competition in California, it is made from sweet, tasty Muscat grapes harvested from vineyards near a small Italian town.
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut; (about $10):
The discerning palates of the New York Post's writers rate this discount champagne with the best of them. Consisting of suprisingly complex flavors that remind the Post of ripe cheese (I guess that's a good thing), it has a distinctive taste that will leave drinkers ready for 2012.
Argyle Brut 2001 ($25):
Business Week likes this Oregonian bottle, calling it the standout among Beaver State bubbly. With a mineral aspect and elegance not normally seen at such a low price point, it is complex and subtle. That's to be expected, Business Week said, as the Williamette Valley of Oregon has a cool climate more reminiscent of Champgane than that of the wine-growing regions of Northern California.