Whether it's cava, crémant or prosecco, sparkling wines are ideal if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to champagne - or just fancy a change.
Our panel of four wine experts blind-tasted 10 sparkling wines from supermarkets including Aldi, Sainsbury's and Tesco for the December 2021 edition of Which? magazine.
They uncovered two top-scoring Best Buy sparkling wines, plus a number of others worth a place in your supermarket shopping cart. The best news - one of our top picks is surprisingly low priced, meaning you can get great-tasting fizz for a bargain price.
Only Which? members can view our test results and tasting notes below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the prosecco and sparkling wine on test. To get instant access,
All prices are correct as of October 2021.
£8.50 for 75cl
Aldi says its crémant is carefully aged in cellars to give subtle complexity. How did it fare against other supermarket sparkling wines?
£7 for 75cl
Asda’s cava was the cheapest on test, costing nearly half the price of others we tried. Is this lower-priced wine one of our top picks?
£8.50 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
At £8.50 a bottle, Co-op's prosecco is one of the cheaper wines we tested. Is it a bargain find?
£8.50 for 75cl
This fizz is 'crisp, smooth and appetising' according to Lidl, with 'honied and gently floral characters'. Is it the perfect choice for your next party?
£10 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
Made with pinot noir, aligoté, chardonnay and gamay grapes, M&S's crémant promises 'a sparkling, creamy, elegant fizz with flavours of peach blossom, apricot and redcurrants.' Did it get top marks in our taste test?
£12 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
If apple crumble and lemon curd flavours are up your street, Morrisons' crémant should be on your radar. Does it make for a delicious bubbly?
£10 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
Sourced from vineyards in the Veneto region of north-east Italy, this prosecco makes a fantastic aperitif served with olives and antipasti, according to Sainsbury's. Was this fizz top of the pops in our taste test?
£7.50 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
Described as 'elegant and rich' with 'notes of ripe apple and pear' Spar's low-priced cava is a tempting option. Is it a Best Buy bubbly?
£9.50 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
First created by Benedictine monks, blanquette de Limoux is made by blending mauzac and chenin grapes and ageing for 12 months. This wine is described as having flavours of peach, green apples and a toasted brioche finish.
£13.50 for 75cl, vegetarian and vegan
Waitrose's single-vintage prosecco was the most expensive sparkling wine on test. Is it worth paying more for?
Not sure how to tell your cremant from your cava? We explain the key differences between types of sparkling wine, and why some cost more than others, to help you choose what's best for you.
Champagne can only be made in a specified region of north-east France, and almost always from a blend of three grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier.
The bubbles come from a second small alcoholic fermentation carried out inside the bottle. The CO2 formed can’t escape and so it dissolves into the wine – so when the bottle is opened, the wine sparkles.
Most champagne is dry and best served after a couple of hours in the fridge.
Cava, from Spain, is made in the same way as champagne, undergoing secondary fermentation in the bottle.
It's usually made from three Catalan grapes: macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada, although some of the large cava producers have started to use chardonnay and pinot noir as well.
The grapes mostly come from near Barcelona, much further towards the sunny south than the Champagne region. They ripen more, so cava is lower in acidity than champagne (and often cheaper).
Crémant is sparkling wine that's made in the same way as champagne (with secondary fermentation), but it can come from other regions in France.
Crémants can be made with a variety of grape varieties, other than the traditional champagne combination, but grapes must be manually harvested. They must also be whole-bunch pressed, and aged for a minimum of nine months. Our expert panel recommended crémant as an alternative to prosecco or cava.
Prosecco, from Italy, is usually slightly sweet or ‘off-dry’, light and delicate, and characterised by citrus and apple notes.
Most people know that champagne is a protected appellation, but did you know that prosecco is too? Any other sparkling wines made from glera grapes (formerly called prosecco), but from outside the Italian designation of origin for prosecco, can’t use the word ‘prosecco’ on the label.
Unlike many other fizzes, prosecco completes its secondary fermentation in a pressurised stainless-steel tank. Generally, prosecco is similarly priced to cava and cheaper than champagne.
Franciacorta is made from grapes from Franciacorta in Lombardy. It's drier than prosecco, but fruitier and softer than champagne, and it has distinctive lemony notes.
You might have spotted these on the shelves at temptingly low prices, sometimes £5 or less.
Like prosecco, screw-top sparkling wines are tank fermented. The wine is re-fermented in a large steel tank with sugar and yeast, and the resulting carbon dioxide gas dissolves into the wine. They tend to be cheaper than corked sparkling wines, but our wine experts warn that they can be inferior in quality.
Alcohol-free or low-alcohol sparkling wine could make a good alternative to the boozy options above. It used to be relatively hard to find, but availability is increasing - supermarkets such as Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose will often stock an alcohol-free or low-alcohol option.
Our wine experts also tasted 19 non-vintage champagnes, including 14 supermarket own labels and five big-name brands.
Decanting your fizz could help to bring out the flavours that would otherwise be hidden by bubbles, but that doesn't mean you need to fork out for a fancy carafe.
Simply pour your sparkling wine into a glass a minute or so before you plan on drinking it. This allows the bubbles to settle enough without letting them disappear completely.
Pop your sparkling wine into the fridge at least a couple of hours before you plan on serving it - allow a little more time if you need to chill multiple bottles at once.
When you're ready to serve, place your fizz in a container filled with water and ice, as this is better than just using ice alone. As a last resort, you can pop the bottle in the freezer, but make sure you take it out in 20 minutes or less.
It's best to take your sparkling wine out around 10 minutes before pouring, as otherwise you'll stunt the taste and aroma.
If you're hosting guests over the festive season, pour a little bit of sparkling wine in the bottom of each glass just before they arrive. This will stop it frothing over when you come to serve it.
When your glass is being refilled, hold it lower down and slightly tilted, as this will make it easier for your host to pour - and you'll likely end up with more fizz in your glass.
Strict rules govern how sparkling wine and champagne can be described in terms of dryness and sweetness, with labels determined according to the residual sugar content per litre.
Typically, ‘brut’ is a dryish wine, while ‘sec’ is sweeter. However, the label isn’t always the most accurate indicator of sweetness – the higher the acidity, the less we perceive the sweetness.
When it comes to food, dry wines usually work best unless the food contains sweeter elements.
While many sparkling wines are vegan, some use animal-derived fining agents.
Manufacturers use fining agents to remove unwanted particles, in order to improve the taste or appearance of the wine.
Wines made with animal-derived fining agents such as milk protein, bone marrow and fish oil are not suitable for vegans. Vegan-friendly wines might be filtered using fining agents such as carbon or clay.
Supermarkets were keen to flag their pink fizz offerings this year, so if you're after something different to start the party, you'll have plenty of choice. Here are some tips on picking the right bottle:
Our panel of independent wine experts tasted 10 sparkling wines. We asked supermarkets to nominate own-label, widely available sparkling white wines that aren’t as pricey as big-brand champagnes, but are still excellent for celebrations. They all had to cost between £6.50 and £15 (not including special offers).
Our experts panel included:
Kathryn McWhirter - wine expert and co-author (with Charles Metcalfe) of The Wine and Food Lover’s Guide to Portugal
Charles Metcalfe - speaker, author, and co-founder of the International Wine Challenge
Sumita Sarma - wine writer and founder of wine consultancy Sumilier
Peter McCombie - Master of Wine, restaurant wine consultant, speaker, writer and critic
Glass bottles can usually go in your household recycling bin. If your council doesn’t accept them, you can take them to a local bottle bank.
The recycling process can vary depending on where you live, so make sure to check with your local area if bottles require rinsing first and whether metal screw caps should be replaced or recycled separately.
Synthetic corks, which are made of plastic, can’t be recycled. They should be disposed of in your general waste bin.