With New Year's Eve right around the corner, you're probably in the market for a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate with at the stroke of midnight. Nothing says "Happy New Year" like the popping of champagne corks, right? But is there a sparkling wine that's good and at a good price? Find out in our video taste test.
But for serious. According to a British study, in a blind taste-test that surveyed experts and novice drinkers alike, a £40 bottle of champagne was preferred over a £400 bottle of bubbles. In America, that means that a $65 bottle is your best bet. Not cheap, but as it's the one night a year that many people drink champagne, it's likely not worth sacrificing on taste.
Further supporting the theory that you don't have to spend a lot to enjoy some bubbly is a little thing called psychology. Professor Charles Spence, from the University of Oxford (classy), says, "If you know how much something costs, the psychology of that high cost seems to make things taste better." Yep. Psychologically, when we're told that something is expensive, we like it more. What we're getting at here is that unless you're friends with wine-o-philes, just buy a cheap-o bottle and tell everyone it cost $100!
If $65 is still a little too rich for your blood, it doesn't mean you need to stay home and celebrate New Years looking for a higher-paying job. Instead, check out this article from 2012 in which The Huffington Post evaluated sparkling wines under $20. They swear you can get a tasty bottle for as low as $11.99! Keep in mind though that unlike, say, a printer (which has a strictly defined set of features that make one better than another) wine-tasting is based on an individual's taste buds, so "your mileage may vary" with any of these recommendations. (Maybe that means it's best to pay an amount that you don't mind wasting on a bottle you don't like; though, you probably won't like the cheapest bottles, so it'll be a self-fulfilling prophecy of bad champagne.)
One last thing to consider: If you're just going to use it as a "celebratory bottle" and spray the contents all over your guests, then any price point of suds will do. All champagnes sting equally when they get in your eyes and ruin someone's sparkly outfit.