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Whether it's a wedding, the holidays, or any other big event that calls for a celebration, there's something magical about popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne.
While good Champagne is known to be expensive, there are some fantastic bottles that are budget-friendly. Although there is a lower-priced true Champagne on the list, most of these bottles are not technically Champagne because they’re produced outside of that specific region of France. Instead, they’re classified as sparkling wines and include impressive cavas, proseccos, and sparklers from all over the world.
The Champagnes on this list are most often dry, but there are also some sweeter sparkling wines. The taste will vary based on the grape varieties and methods used to make them, but they’re all filled with festive bubbles and are affordably priced around $20.
Read on for the best cheap Champagnes.
Best Overall: Mailly Brut Reserve Grand Cru Champagne
For a true Champagne, Mailly Brut Reserve Grand Cru is a fantastic option. It’s not necessarily cheap, but it is relatively affordable when compared to the majority of French Champagnes. The “grand cru” label means it’s from an area within the Champagne region known for “great growth.” That’s a good indicator that something really good awaits when you pop the cork, and this bottle is an excellent representation of the famous wine style.
This Champagne will never let you down as it is a meticulous and consistent blend of base and reserve wines from pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. With a brilliant gold tone and lively bubbles, the Champagne is big, bold, and memorable. Toasted bread notes are accented with a blend of luscious fruits and it’s just dry enough to be a wonderful companion with nearly any food.
Region: Champagne, France | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: Toasted bread, cooked green apple, brioche
Best Prosecco: La Vostra Prosecco
When you’re scanning wine bottles, you’ll notice that proseccos are considerably less expensive than French Champagnes. The Italian sparkling wine style does not sacrifice quality, however. Because proseccos do not require the extra steps employed in the Champagne method of making the wine, they can reduce costs. Many people find that proseccos actually taste better, too.
For an initiation into this sparkling wine, a bottle of La Vostra is an excellent choice. It is dry, acidic, and wonderfully fizzy. Made in prosecco’s home region of Veneto from glera grapes, the light-bodied bubbly features the fresh taste of apple and white peach. Serve it for a celebration or enjoy it in the Italian tradition as an aperitif alongside your favorite appetizers.
Region: Veneto, Italy | ABV: 11% | Tasting Notes: Honeysuckle, white peach, apple
Best Cava: Dibon Cava Brut Reserve
Natural wines are a growing category of wines, which is loosely defined as wines that are made with minimal human intervention. And these pure wines feature some brilliant sparklers worth exploring. In many wine-making areas, the concept of natural wine is nothing new. Many of Spain’s cava producers did not employ modern practices as they became available, relying instead on trusted traditional techniques. They’re also generally affordable, rivaling prosecco’s lower price.
A perfect example of cava is Dibon Cava Brut Reserve. The trio of grapes—Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo—are grown with organic and biodynamic farming practices, and the wine is left as unadulterated as possible. In this Spanish sparkler, you'll enjoy steady, tiny bubbles against a vivacious fruitiness balanced with ideal acidity. It has a delicious feel-good taste.
Region: Catalonia, Spain | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Stone fruit, pear, saline
Best Sparkling Rosé: Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling rosé wine is a fabulous way to celebrate anything or nothing at all. If you like your bubbles sweet and fruity, Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles is a wallet-friendly wine that is also incredibly easy to find. Simply look for the pink label and the brand’s trademark kangaroo.
This Australian sparkler is an excellent everyday rosé. It has an alluring taste of strawberries, lemons, cherries, and tropical fruits. It's not too sweet and has more of an off-dry profile with a finish that is refreshingly crisp. As one of the cheapest wines available, it's easy to go pink. Also, if you can’t finish the entire bottle in one sitting, the “zork” wine closure reseals it so the rosé remains fresh and sparkling.
Region: Australia | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Berry, pineapple, crisp apple
Best American Sparkling Wine: Korbel Natural California Champagne
Korbel has been a leader among California sparkling wines for years. It’s readily available in almost every wine store and offered in many varieties, so you will be able to easily find a sparkling wine that is as sweet or as dry as you like.
The driest is Korbel Natural, considered the winery's "house style" of California sparkling wine. It's produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in Sonoma County’s famed Russian River Valley. The winery uses the same traditional methods as French Champagne. This delivers a flavor that mimics the expensive stuff, but at a fraction of the price. One of the great value bottles of bubbly, it pairs wonderfully with oysters and shrimp and is affordable enough to have around for a last-minute celebration.
Region: Sonoma County, California | ABV: 12% | Tasting Notes: Orange, lime, apple
Best Organic Sparkling Wine: Tarantas Sparkling White
In the mood to explore a relative unknown in the sparkling wine scene? You'll definitely want to hunt down Tarantas Sparkling White. This organic Spanish sparkler is produced on a centuries-old estate near Valencia where they're as dedicated to the environment as they are to producing fantastic vino.
The wine is a blend of certified organic macabeo and airén grapes, offering a bright earthiness and crisp fruit notes that are sure to please. It’s a light- to medium-bodied wine with an effervescence that pairs perfectly with blue cheese, pasta, and fish. The pale straw color has an allure all its own and the bottle is fantastically modern, so it's one you won't mind showing off.
Region: Valencia, Spain | ABV: 10% | Tasting Notes: Earthy, tart citrus, saline
Best Dry Sparkling Wine: Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut
Columbia Valley in Washington, where the Chateau Ste. Michelle vineyard sits, is the same latitude as the Champagne region in France. Combine this with the fact that Domaine St. Michelle Brut uses the identical grape varietals as French Champagne, and you have a stunning sparkler with perfect acidity and flavor.
While some use the English dry, when you’re seeking a dry sparkling wine, you can also look for the word brut on the label. This particular brut has everything you'd expect from Champagne: lovely citrus and apples, lively bubbles, and an ideal balance of sweet and dry that can appeal to wine drinkers of all tastes. With a price that is hard to beat, it's perfect for any occasion, no matter how casual or formal.
Region: Washington, United States | ABV: 11.5% | Tasting Notes: Toasty, apple, subtle sweetness
Best Sweet Sparkling Wine: Freixenet Cordon Negro Sweet Cuvée Cava
Freixenet is one of the best-known names for Spanish cava. While the winery’s extra dry gets a lot of attention, their Cordon Negro Sweet Cuvée Cava is equally impressive. Made with the same méthode traditionnelle as Champagne, the cava has a ton of personality and an irresistible creaminess anyone will fall for.
Produced in the Catalonia region of Spain, Freixenet’s wines are designed specifically for modern tastes and cuisine. Sweet Cuvée Cava is a newer addition to the portfolio and it’s an expression that is sure to catch on as more people give it a try. The cava is a blend (cuvée) of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes that come together with a tantalizing peaches and cream taste. It’s not too sweet and very approachable, and the elegant black bottle hides its thrifty side, so it’s perfectly shareable, too.
Region: Catalonia, Spain | ABV: 7% | Tasting Notes: Peach, cream, grapefruit
What to Look for in Cheap Champagne and Sparkling Wine
With sparkling wine, the choice of grape makes all the difference. Traditionally, Champagne is made with just three grapes: pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay. If a bottle is labeled blanc de blanc, only chardonnay and other light-skin grapes are used, resulting in a lighter, citrus-driven, crisper sparkling wine.
Blanc de noir Champagnes are made with either pinot noir or pinot meunier (both red grapes) and chardonnay. Blanc de noirs are more robust and moodier than a blanc de noir, though still light in color.
Outside of Champagne, the blend or grape used in the sparkling wine will give you so many hints as to what it tastes like. Lambruscos are big bodied and call for rich, red grapes, while Cavas will look at grapes like Xarel-lo and Macabeo. Expect similar qualities as their still counterparts, but with the minerality and carbonation of a sparkling wine.
Sparkling wines and Champagnes have varying levels of sweetness. Brut nature is the driest, at less than 3 grams of sugar per liter. Extra brut is the next driest, followed by brut—middle-of-the-range dryness with a hint of sweetness. Extra sec has a hint of sweetness, followed by sec, demi-sec, and doux. Cava and Champagne are the driest styles, while bottles like Franciacorta, brut prosecco, riesling sekt, and American sparkling wines will be dry, but with more fruit presence.
Outside of France, look for terms like sec (dry), demi-sec (semi-dry), or dulce to connote sweetness. Bubbly bottles from Asti, dry prosecco, and brachettos fall in these categories.
Consider what situation you’re purchasing cheap Champagne for. Is it for mimosas? Is it to sip on its own? Is it to top a punch with? Brut Champagne, or a dry sparkling wine, is mid-level sweetness, which is ideal for cocktails. An extra brut Champagne is best for sipping on its own, or if you prefer sweetness, look for rosé or a fruitier sparkling wine.
Consider what you’re eating with your sparkling wine, as well. Cava will pair well with Spanish tapas, while prosecco is perfect with Italian dishes. What goes together, grows together.
Is cheap Champagne good for mimosas?
Absolutely. While you’re welcome to pop a bottle of the good stuff for this brunch staple since the Champagne is only going to be a portion of the drink, you don’t need to splurge to make a decent drink. Any dry sparkling wine will do the trick, though you should avoid a rosé or red sparkling wine.
Which glass should you use to serve cheap Champagne?
While tradition calls for a flute, consider sipping a cheap sparkling wine from a coupe or regular white wine glass. Pick your glass based on look or carbonation—aggressive bubbles fare better in a wider glass, while the shape of a flute will extend the life of a bubble if that particular wine has shorter-lasting carbonation. Coupes, while fun to sip from, will quickly flatten any bubbles, so sip from it quickly or pick another glass.
Does cheap Champagne age well?
Champagne in general is tough to age. The longer it lies, the more likely it is to lose its carbonation, but the longer it ages, the more you lose the fresh fruit flavors that are so characteristic of young (read: cheap) Champagnes. Best case scenario with aging, time will give way to rich, nutty notes in the bubbles, but you’re unlikely to experience that with budget bottles. Typically, the best sparkling wines to age are vintage bubblies and prestige cuvées. Save your storage space and skip letting cheap Champagne rest.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books—“Rosé Made Me Do It” and “Tequila: Cocktails With a Kick.”
Kate Dingwall, who updated this roundup, is a sommelier and spirits writer. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification. She has spent a decade working in bars and as a sommelier.