No kick from Champagne? Consider sparklers

Tue Dec 8, 2009 1:34pm EST
 
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - No kick from Champagne? Sparkling wines from around the globe can be a cheaper alternative and better value, according to leading experts.

"We noticed a real trade down from Champagne to sparkling wines," said Chris Adams of New York's Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits.

Shipments of Champagne worldwide plunged almost 35 percent for the first nine months of the year, according to the Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, the champagne producers' professional body.

In Britain total shipments were down almost 32 percent, while in the United States they plummeted more than 41 percent,

Prices on non-vintage Champagnes have come down a bit in price in the United States, but are still from one-third to four times as much as their Italian, Spanish, French counterpart.

For consumers looking for something of equal quality, but less pricey, the answer may be in northern Italy and the Trentino region home to Ferrari Spumante, says to Wink Lorch, who writes the online winetravelguides.com.

Its Giulio Ferrari 1997 made from hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes and in the traditional Champagne method, it sells for about two-thirds the price of its tete de cuvee French cousins.

Italy's answer to Champagne is Franciacorta. The hand-harvested grapes used are Chardonnay, Pinot Blanco and Pinot Nero and the wines are also made in the same method as Champagne.   Continued...

 
<p>The frozen neck of bottles of Cremant d'Alsace, is seen during the drainage process of bottles at the Lucien Albrecht vineyard in Orschwihr, in the Alsace region near Colmar, Eastern France, September 4, 2009. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>