January 6th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We're in the camp of thought that you should be drinking the sparkling stuff all year long, not just on New Year's. Lucky for us, Gary Vaynerchuk, the host of Wine Library TV, New York Times best-selling author and overall wine guru, gives his bubbly blessing.

Five "Under The Radar" Sparkling Wines: Gary Vaynerchuk

1. Cavas Hills
"Cava is one of the sparkling wines that I get the most excited for because they're such superb values. For $10, it's a phenomenal value, with peach and pear notes on the nose and a fresh, crisp acidity with a serious amount of apples on the palate."

2. Ca Furlan Prosecco
"Prosecco is another great value category with sparklers, and I am a huge fan of this one. The nose is super interesting and inviting with marzipan, pears and floral notes. This is also very refreshing and has great fruit on the palate and is a ridiculous deal at $10!"

3. Primaterra Prosecco
"This is a seriously cool bottle and the first sparkling wine I ever opened under a screw top! I can see a lot of people liking this for how simple and easy it is to open. With a touch of sweetness, this has delicious green apples and great acidity to work with food pairings or to have for a special occasion. For only $8, it's a monster value."

4. Baumard Crémant de Loire Brut
"Every region of France makes sparkling wine and unless it's coming from the Champagne region, it has to be called 'crémant' (which means 'sparkling' in French). The sparklers coming out of the Loire Valley are fantastic values if you love champagne but can't pay the sticker price. Made from cool Loire Valley grapes, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, and this sparkler has delicious honey and floral notes as well as great minerality. At $15, this will make any champagne lover happy."

5. Dumont & Fils Brut Champagne
"For a serious champagne value, you gotta love the Dumont. This is a small 'grower champagne' which means the owner grows the grapes and makes it themselves. Dollar for dollar, grower champagnes over-deliver, like this Dumont does, as opposed to the big brands. I find you can get wines with a ton more complexity and charisma. With great green apple fruit, mouth-watering acidity, and tons of minerality on the finish, this is a massive deal for champagne!"

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. vapor

    i dare somone to post another response to my words of wisdom. i will send out verbal thrashing. be sure to check back afterwords so you can see how bad eye thrash u.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  2. vapor

    why do ignorant people try to write about wine when they know nothing. just enjoy it and kep ur mouth shut until u have a basic knowledge of wine culture.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  3. vapor

    tazer thinks that sniffing corks will help you learn about wines. he is so dumb he should dye

    January 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  4. Christina

    You HAVE to get James from thenewtoy.com on here – he films funny videos about childrens toys that they feature all over Chicago. They have done a bunch dith a food theme, he's a Chicago guy, I'm sure you'd get some great recommendstions. http://Www.thenewtoy.com they're on Facebook and Twitter too. Gary Vee was great! I can't wait to try some bubbly!

    January 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • vapor

      keep ur stupid suggestions to yourself. no one cares about this person or any other wanna be

      January 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  5. Luca Ortoncelli

    we drink Spumante (Sparkling Wine) with "cicchetti" every day in Italy ! in Italy there is a WEB Sparkling Wine, it has a big QRCODE as main label, it calls EPSILON WINE a amazing sparkling wine with developed alcohol 9,5%

    January 10, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  6. Lorrie

    Cab Franc...you are so rightly bubbly about the civility of the postings...let's see more of this!!
    Now, for a question: what is the shelf life of these sparklers, once opened–hours, I assume(?)

    January 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Vino-lover

      If you leave the bottle open, I've had them last for a day or so before they are noticeably flat. However, you can get (for $5-$10) a champagne stopper that seals the bottle and allows it to keep longer. I don't know how long, though, because I don't think I've ever had a bottle sit in my fridge for more than 3 days.

      January 10, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  7. Vino-lover

    Another inexpensive sparkling gem is Gruet from New Mexico. Either the Blanc de Blanc or the Blanc de Noirs, if you can find it, are great. Generally $15-$16/bottle, so you can get 2-3 bottles for the price of one bottle of 'generic' Champagnes (i.e. Veuve, Taittinger, etc.) – and, as someone who used to work in the business, and drink and buy Champagne for a living – I much prefer Gruet to the basic offerings from the big houses. Naturally, it doesn't stand up to the small grower bottlings you can find (Moncuit, Milan, Egly-Ouriet, Marghaine, etc.), but it is still darn tasty stuff.

    January 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • vapor

      be careful not to sound like someone with knowledge when you post. most of the regular trolls on these posts will attack you if try to actually impart knowledge on them. these are the type on morons that think smelling a cork can tell you about the wine. tazer is a real loser and so is jingle bells and queen my face. michele g is real loser and so is jerv

      January 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  8. Dida3468

    "Cremant" Does NOT mean sparkling in French. It means "creaming"
    a sparkling wine is called "PETILLANT".
    He may be ok in choosing wines, ut his language expertise is not great.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  9. steve

    My birthday happins to be on new years eve and every year a party is hosted. This year I bought many bottles of Cava (Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry)for toasting and drinking with foods at $10 a bottle and the wine was excellent ! I liked it much better than Champagne, and the guest enjoyed it too, however many thought it was a pricy Chanpagne. If you like Bubbly Wine, give it a try how can you go wrong at $10 a bottle...

    January 8, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • nonesuch

      Champagne often gives me a headache; cava doesn't seem to have that effect.

      January 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • vapor

        what a moronic statement. there is not much difference between champagne and cava other than the region it from and the grapes that go into it. maybe you were dehydrated or something, but there is no reason why one sparkiling wine would give you more of a headache than another. you probably do not drink the two enought to make a educated statement about such.

        January 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  10. Marlene


    John McClement -_Wine Director for Keens Chophouse has an amazing ability for pairing wines with food...his knowledge is vast–from exquisite to simple and everything inbetween...i'd like to see his pairings for an app/main entree/dessert–both expensive choices and inexpensive...

    January 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • vapor

      u are very stupid and so are the other novice trolls in here. keel ur self

      January 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  11. tminus5

    For a better option than the Cavas Hills, try 1+1=3 (yeah, weird/cute name)

    January 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • nonesuch

      Dibon cava is also very good and less expensive than 1+1=3.

      January 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  12. tminus5

    Ignore his recommendation for Cavas Hills... he tasted it on a recent Wine Library TV (ep #962) and gave it a 79.... I don't care if it's $10, isn't worth your time.

    January 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  13. Cab Franc

    Wow. Funny how wine afficianados are usually classified as snobby and stuffy. But this might be the first blog I've ever seen where everyone is civil to each other. Congratulations!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • vapor

      u r so stupid. why say anything when you are as stupid as u r

      January 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  14. J.B.Jingles@jillmari

    I'm with you sister! Cheers.

    January 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • vapor

      shut ur stupid face

      January 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  15. jillmarie

    I'd love to try the last three suggestions- especially the actual champagne one- I'd like to know the price on it.
    I love champagne not just for holidays or celebrations- for me life is an occasion- it's fun to toast with champagne any day!

    January 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ergin

      Around $29.00

      January 7, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  16. Tazer@JBJ


    Although I think you'd have to still use the peach juice to get that sweetness.. but that sounds like fun!

    January 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  17. J.B.Jingles@Tazer

    Thanks! I have experienced a few wines where I could pick up the "notes" if you will and I enjoy wine immensely, and I didn't mean the wine would subsititute a Bellini, I meant to make a Bellini with the sparkler with peach notes! LOL

    January 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • vapor

      u are both so ignorant. maybe u shud read articles that u can understand. just quit writing down ur thought, because u are just making urself sound stupid, which u are. go keel ur self

      January 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  18. Tazer@JBJ

    My own experience with the jargon basically means that if you taste wine for a living you can taste said fruits. However there have been a few varietals that I have been able to tell what they meant by citrus notes, pepper, etc. but for me it's mostly in the smell of the wine. Acidity is going to make the wine taste a little more tart, and will make your mouth water rather than pucker like with tannins (again this is a layman's term, so you snobs out there *cough*Vapor*cough* bug off). An acidic wine would go well with a dish with higher acidity, like spaghetti with tomato sauce, shrimp with lemon sauce, and the like. And no I wouldnt' count on peach notes being even close to a Bellini haha.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • vapor

      u are an idiot

      January 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  19. J.B.Jingles

    I like that he spotlights affordable wine and agree it's not just for NY or a special occasion. With that said, I don't speak wine guru, so I'm lost with the "acidity with a serious amount of apples on the palate". What does that mean!? Does it taste like apples? Did they use apple wood barrels? If #1 has peach notes, then would it be good as a Bellini??

    January 6, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • reyesrob

      In fact, wine is just grapes. I know it is a really simplistic answer, but wine is just grapes. However, there is a ton of chemical reactions going on in all of the stages of wine making. from crushing to fermentation, from storage to bottling, a host of chemical activities are going on. That being said, all he is referring to are the "notes" in the bubbly. Or, the chemicals (natural chemicals, not clorox) that your tongue picks up and send the signals to your brain. Your brain then says to itself, "that reminds me of an apple!" Mainly because some apples could have the same chemical makeup. I only wanted to give you this explanation for 2 reasons. 1: Those descriptions are purely subjective, they have apple overtones for HIM. Maybe you have never eaten an apple, you would have no reference point to compare to his description. 2: We are merely talking about subtle reminders of fruit. If you are expecting a bellini (literally ground up peaches in champagne) you will be sorely disappointed!!! I hope I didn't come across as a snob, I just wanted to clarify the "apples and peaches" descriptive hole we sometimes dig ourselves in. Happy drinking!

      January 7, 2011 at 5:55 am |
  20. Tazer

    Hurray for affordable (for broke people) sparkling wines! Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try and scout some out.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • vapor

      you are the epitome of a loser. you are so dumb you think that smelling corks will help you learn about wine.
      u shud dye

      January 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
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