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Dec
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Don’t go broke over the bubbly this New Year’s Eve

There also are many sparkling wines that are perfectly celebratory for greeting a new year.“The first and foremost one is Domaine Chandon Etoile,” said Will Costello, master sommelier at Mandarin Oriental. “Those sparkling wines can easily be compared to some of the best Champagnes,” Vigani said. “If you taste this side by side with a really great nonvintage Champagne, they’re almost indistinguishable,” he said.Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. And when the bubbles settled early on New Year’s Day you might decide it was a truly memorable — even transcending — experience. It is often associated with celebration and good times, but it is so much more than that. “You can find it at almost any grocery store and it’s probably about $25. “You could put it up against these great Champagne houses and it would do really well,” he said.Umlauf of the Hawthorn Grill, which is expected to open at the Rampart Casino/JW Marriott in mid-January, recommended Roederer Estate from California. It’s about $60.They also sang the praises of grower Champagnes, where the winemaker also grows the grapes. Juan Martinez, sommelier at Red Rock Resort, said he likes Bollinger, a rich style that retails in the high $30s. It’s exceptional.” During a recent tasting at the resort, he said, nine out of 13 people preferred the California sparkling wine to some pricier Champagnes.Another Costello suggestion: Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blanc. At about $20, “it’s far cheaper than anything you find for that kind of quality in Champagne,” he noted.Carbery recommended Poema cava, which retails for about $15 to $20.Martinez and Claudio Vigani, wine director of Alize at the Palms, both recommended Ca’ del Bosco, a prosecco; Vigani also likes Bellavista prosecco. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter. And Roederer Estate Brut nonvintage, about $45, is “always consistent — light, fruity.”Keller said he likes to drink Chandon and Domaine Carneros, both from California and both owned by large French Champagne houses, which run less than $30.For good value, the experts said, consider sparkling wines from Italy (prosecco) or Spain (cava).Keller recommended Campo Viejo Brut Rose cava, which he said should be about $11 or $12.John Peiser, sommelier at Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, suggested Raventos Conca del Riu Anoia, produced in a region that he said has strict regulations similar to those of Champagne, France. Harley Carbery, director of wine at Mandalay Bay, recommended Deutz ($70); Tim Keller, beverage director for the Tao Group, and Martinez suggested Ruinart Blanc de Blanc ($70); and Christian Umlauf, general manager of the Hawthorn Grill, pointed to Piper-Heidsieck (low $40s) and Perrior Jouet (about $40). As it pertains to food, Champagne is the MacGyver for all courses. Evans suggested Aubry Fils, which is about $25 and one of his favorite wines.Tony Soodipour, manager of Andiron in Downtown Summerlin, recommended Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux, which is produced in France but not in the Champagne region, and retails for about $30.Costello also likes Cremant d’Alsace, which is about $18.95. The Anderson Valley Brut, about $24 to the low $30s, has “nice apple, a nice citrus finish,” he said. “For the price (about $22) and the value, this is a stunner,” he said. More is more and who doesn’t want more?”Martinez added that he likes Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, which is about $25 to $30. But maybe not.Dom, Cristal and Veuve are popular names with high price tags, but Southern Nevada wine experts say there are underrated Champagnes and sparkling wines that are worthwhile alternatives.“It is not one specific Champagne that is undervalued or underappreciated, but the whole spectrum,” said Brian Duffy, sommelier at The Barrymore at the Royal Resort. You could drop close to $500 on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut NV. “I always look at it from the sense of if I should spend $150 for a bottle, or I could get seven bottles of this. You don’t need a celebration to enjoy it, you just have to be thirsty.”Some Champagnes provide lots of bubbles for the buck. “Champagne is a perfect beverage.