Champagne, cava, prosecco or English sparkling: nothing else will do when it comes to festive tipples.

The soft hiss of a champagne bottle being uncorked must be one of the most welcome sounds in the world. Certainly, it is one that we aspire to as the soundtrack to our Christmas festivities – occasionally, perhaps, complemented by the clink of ice and the splash of something even stronger as it sloshes into a cocktail glass. There are, of course, myriad sparkling wines available to quaff and the choice can be dizzying – before we’ve even taken a sip.

To lessen the agony of choice, here we select those that we think are well suited to the season of glass clinking and merriment, with one eye on budget and another on ease of drinking. Remember, pace is everything: it’s a merry-making marathon, not a sprint to the bottom of the glass. There are days and days of festivity after all.

Crémant de Bourgogne – Case of 6, £72

M&S Classics

Creamy and elegant, this wallet-friendly option is ideal for keeping guests in fizz at Christmas drinks parties. Made in the traditional manner by Sébastien Sauvageot, it contains a melange of Pinot Noir, Aligoté, Chardonnay and Gamay grapes and feels luxurious without being a bank breaker. Buy it.

Blanc De Noirs Brut NV, £26.99


Made from Pinot Noir grapes only, this small producer from the Aube area competes with the big guns in no uncertain terms. Complex and toasty with a note of biscuit on the finish, it’s a bargain too, standing up well against those bottles which come in at double the price. Buy it.

Corallian Classic Cuvée Extra Brut NV England, £29.50

Langham Wine

Dorset-based Langham Wine is the producer behind this complex, youthful sparkling wine. With a base vintage of 81 per cent Chardonnay, 11 per cent Pinot Noir and 8 per cent Pinot Meunier, this citrussy delight is perfect with fish dishes – the ideal thing for serving with smoked salmon blinis. As for the price, maker Tommy Grimshaw has kept it a shade under £30 so that his mother can afford it. In our books, another reason to love it (though we do hope he might consider giving her a bottle or two). Buy it.

Calvet Crémant Bordeaux Brut Rosé, £13


If you want a little pink in the festive mix, this delicate and very pale crémant is clean and fresh – just the thing for pepping up the festivity-weary. The price is excellent for the quality, making this a really good party wine choice. Buy it.

Conde De Haro Brut 2016, £13.95


Poor old cava gets a bad press. And yet, unlike prosecco, it is made in exactly the same way as champagne: by bottle fermentation. This one proves how good a cava can be – expect very fine bubbles, notes of toast and honeysuckle and a hint of apple. A great cava from rioja company, Muga. Buy it.

Daylesford Prosecco, £15


You can trust Daylesford to ensure that all it sells is stylishly packaged and thus a joy to behold on the festive table. Happily, what’s inside the packaging here is equally lovely. Organically produced, it is a triumphant light, pre-lunch drink, with small bubbles and notes of pear and melon. Zingy, fresh and delicious, it feels like a real treat. Buy it.

Beaumont des Crayères Brut Grand Reserve NV, £32


The highest price on our list, this is nonetheless well under £40 and worth every penny. Made using chiefly black grapes, we love its richness, as well as the spicy and coffee notes that come through. Fine and elegant, it is grown on chalk subsoil around Epernay. Even better, it was founded in 1955 by a co-operative of wine-growers. Plus, it tastes much better than its relatively low price would suggest. Buy it.

Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Brut Reserve NV, £29.99

Taurus Wines

A champagne-reminiscent English sparkling, this new release sparkling is made using 60 per cent Pinot Noir, 25 per cent Meunier and 15 per cent Chardonnay. Hand-picked, cool fermented and aged in-bottle for two years, the result is a complex wine with notes of apple and stone fruits. We especially love that the South Downs-based Bolney Estate, which was founded in 1972, was not only one of the pioneers of English wines, but is now run by three generations of the same family who founded it. Buy it.

Louis Pommery English Brut NV Sparkling Wine, £29.75

The Champagne Company

Want champagne that has been produced in England? This is the first English sparkling – grown in Hampshire – to be produced by a Champagne House. They say, ‘It is created in Hampshire using a thoroughly classic and traditional method focussing on two renowned Champagne grape varieties: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir is predominant throughout with the Chardonnay grapes adding a lightness and finesse to the wine. This wine has been aged on lees to achieve the desired maturity and disgorged to remove the sediments that give the wine its full-bodied character.’ Expect notes of citrus, white peach and pear. Cheers! Buy it.

By Nancy Alsop
December 2022

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.