All celebrations call for a little bubbly

Cheers to 2012!

There are few things more celebratory than a graceful flute filled with capital-C Champagne, the most prestigious and contentiously guarded appellation in French winemaking. Since all that prestige typically costs major paper, looking to other regions of France, Italy and California for sparklers means you can capture the fizzy fun without sacrificing good taste. So seek out our less-pricey bottle picks for your next special event  — a royal wedding viewing party, perhaps?

Zardetto Prosecco Brut
At just $10, this fresh, floral prosecco makes an amiable companion to spicy Indian and Thai or a fruit-based dessert. Prosecco is produced mainly in the Veneto region of Italy; adding peach puree yields a pretty and delicious Bellini cocktail.

De Chanceny Brut Cremant De Loire NV
This is a steal at $13, especially consid­er­ing the tiny, tight bubbles (called mousse) and blend of Chenin Blanc, Char­donnay and Caber­net Franc grapes that give this dry sparkler structure and lasting fruit notes.

Chandon Blanc de Noirs
Domaine Chandon was the first French wine-making house to venture into California’s Napa Valley to grow the traditional grapes of Champagne. Blanc de Noirs, meaning “white of darks,” presses red-skinned grapes into pale salmon-colored wine with dark berry flavors ($19).

Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Rose
Rose petals and raspberries shine through this pink bubbly from the Piedmont region of Italy. Ideal for newbies and those who prefer a sweeter wine, $13 scores an ideal aperitif, or an elegant pairing for chocolate dessert.

Ho Ho Shu Hana Rose Sparkling Sake
Travel much farther east than France for this fizzy pink sake, brewed from rice and infused with rose petals and hibiscus. $16; serve chilled with sushi.



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