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Top 6 French Champagnes and Sparkling Wines

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If you plan to celebrate with some bubbly, you want to be sure you do it in style. You can get a crappy grocery store sparkling wine, but only vintages from the Champagne region are truly called Champagne. There is also a small village in France that claims it, in fact, invented sparkling wine centuries ago. Here is a list for every budget (from under $10 to $100-something) of the best authentic French Champagnes and sparkling wines for the holidays, New Year's Eve, wedding toasts, celebrations or just for fun!

1. Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Brut NV Champagne

Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Brut NV Champagne
If you have the means, impress your friends or guests with this $100-something bottle of fabulous and prestigious Champagne that is served in first class by British Airways. Unlike many of the larger Champagne brands, this sparkling wine is hand-crafted under the watchful eye of a third-generation cellar master. This full-bodied Champagne features aromas of walnuts, honey and white fruit. Sumptuous!

2. Krug NV Grande Cuvee Brut Champagne

This is a complex and enjoyable Champagne. The sparkling wine is fermented exclusively in small oak casks. It is made with three different Champagne grapes are combined for an explosion of flavor. It has a creamy bouquet, and a nutty and toasty finish. It received a 96 point rating from Wine Spectator.

3. Antech Blanquette de Limoux Grande Reserve 2003

The monks of the Languedoc village of Limoux invented sparkling wine a century before it was allegedly "invented" in Champagne. This is that same wine that has been made in the Pyrenees foothills for going on five centuries now. Find out more about the legend with the article, "Limoux: Home of the Real First Sparkling Wine." Or order a bottle or even a case of this budget-friendly and delectable sparkling wine, which runs around $14 per bottle.

4. Moet & Chandon NV White Star Champagne

If you want a high-quality and complex Champagne without breaking the bank, this is a fabulous compromise. At under $40 a bottle, this bottle is a bargain for its value. It's light on the tannins, and is a clean, dry and full-bodied Champagne. Also produced from three varieties, this provides hints of pear, peach and nut.

5. Champagne Leclerc Briant Cuvée Extra Brut NV

At $20-something, you can hardly beat the quality in the price point for true French Champagne. This is a very versatile bottle, it serves will with seafood or, even better, with a rich French dessert like a fruit tart or chocolate mousse. It features hints of green apple, butter and hazelnut. This is a great festive choice for the holidays.

6. Marquis de la Tour NV Brut Sparkling Wine

If you want an inexpensive sparkling wine (this bottle is less than $10), this is an excellent choice. Don't let the cheap pricetag fool you. This Loire region sparkling wine is bubbling with personality, and is an intense, tart and dry wine. It has notes of bread and fruits.

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