Champagne Alternatives for the New Year - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Champagne Alternatives for the New Year

Although Champagne has long been considered the quintessential beverage to signal the start of a new year, there’s no rule that says popping a cork from any other bottle will portend bad luck. For a new year, why not try something new? So for those looking for Champagne alternatives, we tapped some wine pros around the country for recommendations (including zero-proof options) that are special enough to sip at the stroke of midnight.

Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Edizione 45

“I love the quality-to-cost ratio. Ca’ del Bosco offers considerable bang-for-your-buck while staying true to Champagne methode: the international grape varieties that made Champagne famous and producers that are on a quest to prove they can make wine on par with those of Champagne.” —Ted Rink, beverage director, BLVD Steakhouse, Chicago | $44.99,

Lauer Riesling Sekt 

“For me, one of the sparklings I look forward to sharing every season is Lauer’s Riesling Sekt from the Saar in Germany. It takes most wine drinkers by surprise and is just so dang delicious—and vintage (2018)! It’s slatey, mineral, edgy, and perfect for cutting through all the holiday richness. Its acidity will cleanse your palate the way you hope to cleanse yourself of the previous year. And at $40 it’s truly one of the best deals out there.” —Conor McKee, owner, Fiasco! Wine and Spirits, Brooklyn | $40,

Ronco Calino MV ‘Saten’ Franciacorta

“Personally, I always love a good Franciacorta when Champagne isn’t available. It’s Italy’s answer to Champagne—it’s made in the traditional method, like Champagne, and typically it’s also made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. One of my absolute favorites is the ‘Saten Blanc de Blancs’ from Ronco Calino. It’s got these incredibly pillowy bubbles that make it so friendly for food pairings, for anything from caviar to hot fried chicken or scallop ceviche.” —Simi Grewal, co-founder, DecantSF, San Francisco | $50,

Toques et Clochers Crémant de Limoux

“This Toques et Clochers Crémant de Limoux is a distinctive blend. Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc make it crisp and acid-driven. There’s also 10% Mauzac, the native grape to that region, which always gives the wines a unique apple-y quality. We love that it almost fools you with its crispness, and its notes of brioche you might expect from Champagne, but then you get this delightful mingling of apple pie and salty sea air reminiscent of its home in Limoux. The best part is the value! At a third of the price of many champagnes, you can buy two or three! Also, if you want to get fancy, it’s perfect with caviar on potato chips and/or oysters.” —Mallory Smith, co-founder, Sunday School Wine, Portland, Oregon | $27.95,

Hakkaisan “Awa” Sparkling Sake

“Inspired by Champagne, ‘Awa’ undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle just like the famous bubbles from France, and unlike many sparkling sakes, is completely clear (not cloudy or milky at all). Brewed with daiginjo grade rice, the sake is dry and crisp, with fine bubbles, and a perfect pairing for oysters, a rich creamy cheese, or even just on its own with the ball drop.” —Courtney Kaplan, owner, OTOTO, Los Angeles | $75,

Eins Zwei Zero Riesling (No-Alcohol)

“Eins Zwei Zero begins with some of the best rieslings in the Rheingau in Germany. It’s de-alcoholized by a low-temperature vacuum technique that preserves the aromatic and textural components that give the wine its character. With bright citrus notes and tons of minerality, this wine has all of the characteristics one looks for in a bottle of bubbles.” —Austin Hennelly, bar manager, Kato, Los Angeles | $17.99,

Sovi Sparkling White and Prima Pavé Blanc de Blancs (No-Alcohol)

Sovi and Prima Pavé are two of my favorites. I taste tart green apple and citrus in the Sovi and honeydew and peach in the Prima Pavé. In a champagne flute, both will provide a convincing substitute for their alcoholic counterparts while leaving you feeling like a million bucks the following morning. Plus it’s fun to saber Prima Pavé bottles.” —Douglas Watters, founder, Spirited Away and Dry Atlas, New York | $28/4-pack,; $24,

Enjoy This Article?

Sign up for our newsletter and get biweekly recipes and articles delivered to your inbox.

Send this to a friend