Let’s face it – there’s nothing like Champagne, but Champagne is expensive. Sometimes we want the celebration of bubbles without the expense. Luckily, there are any number of tasty, inexpensive sparkling wines made around the world that can serve the purpose. Cavas from Spain and Italy’s Prosecco are the obvious choices, but there are inexpensive bubblies from the United States (Gruet from New Mexico, for example), and the Graham Beck line from South Africa has been popular in the US for several years.
My choice for best bargain bubbles this year also hails from South Africa – the Orange River Cellars “Star Tree” Brut, which retails for a whopping $10. Here’s my 2-1/2 star review (Excellent/Exceptional) in this coming Wednesday’s Washington Post:
Seldom has a $10 bubbly caught my attention like this one did. A whiff of exotic spice on the nose drew me in before yielding to bright red currant and berry fruit flavors. This is a light-bodied wine with just enough sweetness to balance the acidity and enhance the fruit. A definite keeper that is worth buying by the case for holiday parties or to enjoy throughout the year. Bravo!
Stock up on this one. After all, life’s daily victories are worth celebrating, and they don’t all happen in December.
Star Tree is distributed in the DMV by J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, and Cork & Fork. Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington; B&R Market and Reid Supersave Market in Charlottesville; Leesburg Vintner; Oakton Wine Shop; Wine House in Fairfax.