While we may have all heard of Dom Perignon, the pricey Champagne that has become synonymous with high-society, VIP rooms and rap videos, that doesn’t mean many of us have actually tasted it. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of considering Dom’s steep price tag, which is currently at an average globally of $198 a bottle. One can’t be blamed for not wanting to splurge on the pricey beverage whose cost is due as much to the wine’s quality as to the marketing surrounding it.
But we’re all human, so it’s natural to want to try Dom, and maybe also spray it all over the place, but unless you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket, we realize you could buy a lot of delicious bottles of wine for the price of one bottle of Dom. Therefore, here are three recommendations for Champagnes and sparklers that are similar to Dom, without the hefty pricetag. We like to consider these bottles for people who are too smart than to buy in to all the hype. Welcome to your very own VIP area — it’s up to you to decide who else you want to let in.
While we usually have the idealized image of the people who make the wine we’re drinking growing the grapes as well, in Champagne most of the bubbly is not made by the people who grow the grapes, but instead by wineries who buy those grapes from hundreds of growers throughout the Champagne region. This is because land in Champagne is incredibly expensive, even more so than pricey Burgundy, and most growers own only about 5 acres of land on which to farm. This makes it much more lucrative for the growers to sell their in-demand crop to the wineries for a sure profit instead of dealing with the added complexity of making and selling wine on the international market.
That being said, some growers have begun to do just that, reserving a bit of their grapes for themselves in order to make their own Champagne, thus giving their creations the name Grower Champagne. Because these wines are made by independent farmers with no marketing budget to speak of, the added cost of marketing isn’t added to the price of the bottle, giving you a great quality Champagne at a fraction of the cost.
A grower-producer we love is Pierre Brigandat, whose Champagne can be found for around $40.
Cremant De Bourgogne:
While Pinot Noir from Burgundy can fetch prices even eclipsing high-end Dom, the sparkling wine that comes out of the region can be your affordable little secret. Made mostly from Pinot Noir with often a little Chardonnay as well, the Cremant De Bourgogne blend is very similar to the blend of Champagne that’s being made just 100 miles to Burgundy’s north. And this way you get to drink a bubbly from just as fancy of a region, with the only catch being that you can’t call it Champagne, unless of course you want to be sued…
For a specific bottle recommendation, we like Maison Parigot Cremant De Bourgone; it can usually be found for $25 and is absolutely delicious.
Find a Sparkling Wine Made By A French Family That Was Tired Of Living In Champagne:
Ok, so there may not be a ton of these such families out there to be found, but one we know of for sure is the Gruet family, who left Champagne for New Mexico in the ’80s after a family vacation to the U.S. revealed what they felt was the ideal terroir for making sparkling wine. These sparkling wines are not just affordable at around $20 a bottle, they are also insanely good, dry, crisp and perfect for toasting. We’d put them up against quality Champagnes from France, and indeed they have been. It also doesn’t hurt that these bottles are widely available across the US. You may want to buy a case, which should basically cost you the same as that one bottle of Dom.