Valentine's Day: 18 great champagnes for every budget

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Courtesy of pdphoto.org
Valentine's Day is here. There's a lot riding on this holiday, and you want to make everything perfect--including the champagne. So we called on a few experts at some of the Cities' best wine shops (France 44, Haskell's, Solo Vino, and Surdyk's) to help out. We asked them to recommend their best sparkling wines in four price ranges: Under $15 for the budget-minded; from $15 to $40 for a classy bottle; $40 to $60, when you really want to make an impression; and over $60, when money is no object in love and romance (including one bottle that will set you back 350 bucks). Look for their suggestions and tasting notes on the following pages, followed by information on where you can get these superb sparkling wines.

UNDER $15

Louis Bouillot Brut ($10.99): A Crement de Bourgonge--a sparkling wine from Burgundy. It's 100 percent chardonnay and, for the price, the best bubble in the house. (Haskell's)

Riondo Prosecco ($14.99): A nice, everyday sparkling wine from the Veneto in Italy. It has fresh floral aromatics and pear notes on the palate. (Solo Vino)

Trevor Jones Sparkling Red NV ($14.99): Who says there's no sparkling wine for red-wine drinkers? Sparkling reds have long been popular in Australia, and they are becoming increasingly popular in the States. Made by the Charmat method of fermentation (the same as prosecco), this south Australian sparkler made from grenache, shiraz, and merlot grapes definitely tastes red, bursting with berry and cherry fruit. It has nice depth, and finishes dry. (France 44)

Valdoro Prosecco ($11.95 on sale):
The last two years have seen a significant increase in the number of proseccos, but this shows classic creamy bubbles with tasty apple fruit, and it's ready to please the novices as well as the experienced consumer. (Surdyk's)

Zardetto Prosecco Brut NV ($14.99 on sale; $7.99 for 187 ml): A quality prosecco that's crisp, fruity, and dry. (France 44)

Next page: Sparklers from $15 to $40



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