Champagne Buying for a Rock'n New Year's Eve!

Champagne Buying for a Rock'n New Year's Eve!
Courtesy of the Tax Foundation

With the year nearly over and amateur night, sorry New Year’s Eve, quickly approaching, many will go out in the next two days to buy some bubbly to toast in the new year. I did a fun tasting experiment last year and you can find more about some possible brand specifics bubbles.

If you’re still not sure what to do, here are a couple of guiding points to help you ease in to the process buying mood!

  • Take heart in that the state of Illinois isn’t in the top ten for State Excise Champagne Taxes. We rank 13th. If you buy a gallon you’ll pay $1.39 in state tax! Champagne is actually taxed at a different rate then wine. Thanks to the Tax Foundation for the geek out moment .
  • If you’re going to be making drinks with the bubbles like a mimosa or bellini or something like that. I wouldn’t splurge on really expensive stuff. I’d look for a good cava and spend about $12-18.
  • For me, I’m a self-admitted pain in the ass, the only domestic sparkling I’ll drink is Schramsberg or Roederer Estate. I refuse to go local. Yes, I’ve tried it and no it isn’t good even in your mimosa…plus the pricing is ridiculous!
  • From Europe Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy is fun and won’t kill your budget.
  • France has a few options – Champagne, duh! Or possibly Cremant d’Alsace an AOC designate that has some unique wines and won’t kill your budget.
  • Go Brut – it’s the more popular style and food friendly. You could also go Extra Dry – this is not the same as Extra Brut.
  • ASK the person at the store what they recommend! Most places I’ve gone the staff has tasted a number of styles and brands especially around this time of year. If the person you find isn’t helpful or guessing, I’d go someplace else or seek out another employee.
  • If you’re not a big wine/champagne person and this is the only time you drink it don’t kill the bank on this. You should easily be able to find something good that won’t give you a hangover in the $18-40 range. If you really want to indulge on this one night, Krug is delicious as is Dom but they are different. You can also ask about smaller growth Champagne OR if you hate to talk to the staff – google it before you go.
  • Last but not least – DON’T be AFRAID to go PINK!

Wishing you luck in finding the right bottle for tomorrow night! Happy New Year!


Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at

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