Celebrate the festive season without causing a wallet meltdown. Sommeliers recommend bottles of sparkling wine that cost $100 or less:
1. MARIE COURTIN CUVEE "RESONANCE" EXTRA BRUT PINOT NOIR 2012
Who: Mr Matthew Chan, 26, head sommelier of modern European restaurant Bacchanalia in HongKong Street
Why: "This grower champagne is beautifully textured and has terrific depth of flavour. Dried pear, spice, mint and licorice flow through succulent apricot, peach and flowers. They are followed by a lingering minerality."
Where: Artisan Cellars, B1-01 Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road, tel: 6838-0373
2. DE SOUSA "3A"
Who: Mr Gerald Lu, 30, head sommelier and partner at Praelum Wine Bistro in Duxton Hill
Why: "This biodynamic champagne has cream-laced tones of grapefruit and lemon blossoms on the opening and wafts of soft, sweet ginger spice that come in between. These are accompanied by notes of nougat and brioche. The medium-bodied champagne has a high acidity and flavour intensity that can stand up to rich and creamy dishes such as fried, battered seafood with mayonnaise-based dips, fried or baked cheeses with nuts, and cheese-rich pasta."
Where: KOT Selections, 64 Neil Road, by appointment only, tel: 6635-4770
Price: $426 for six bottles
3. NV FERRARI BRUT
Who: Mr Daniel Chia, 46, president of non-profit organisation Slow Food (Singapore) and culinary and catering management lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic
Why: "Made with Chardonnay grapes, this non-vintage sparkling wine shows riper fruit flavours and balanced acidity and is friendlier on the palate than champagne. On the nose, it has a fresh and delicate aroma of red apples and freshly baked, crusty bread with hints of nuts, as well as honey notes found in nougat. On the palate, it is dry and vibrantly fresh, with flavours of apples and bread dough. The lively mousse of bubbles gives the wine a creamy texture, which is perfectly balanced with its beautiful structure and fresh, lengthy finish. It goes well with lightly flavoured dishes such as prosciutto and burrata cheese as well as roast turkey with root vegetables and pumpkin."
Where: Emporium Shokuhin, 01-18 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, tel: 6221-4333
Price: $68 until Dec 30, usual price $78
4. NV VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE "RUSTICO"
Who: Ms Stephanie Rigourd, 28, wine director of Raffles Singapore
Why: "On the nose, this prosecco from Nino Franco winery in Italy has a delicate aroma of fresh pear and hints of fresh white flowers, such as lilies and frangipani. It also has an incredibly balanced flavour profile with depth of texture and refreshing bubbles. There is also a pleasant minerality. The flavours are sharp and refreshing and open up the palate, making it suitable for rich, festive feasts. It pairs well with Italian seafood dishes such as lobster risotto. The creaminess of risotto complements the well-rounded flavours and foam of the wine. It enhances firm lobster meat, which is light enough for the Rustico's crisp flavours to shine through."
Where: Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road (available at all food-and-beverage outlets in the hotel), tel: 6412-1180
Price: $78++ for a bottle, $18++ for a glass at Raffles Courtyard
5. CHAMPAGNE GOSSET BRUT EXCELLENCE NV
Who: Mr Romuald Le Calonnec, 30, sommelier, The Straits Wine Company
Why: "Made with 45 per cent Pinot Noir, 19 per cent Pinot Meunier and 36 per cent Chardonnay grapes, this champagne is rich on the palate with a significant presence of red grapes. It has rich flavours of plum, fruit such as apricot and peaches, and almonds. On the palate, it is rich and rounded. It is perfect as an aperitif and goes well with fresh seafood such as scallops, sashimi or fish cooked in butter sauces."
Where: 11 outlets of The Straits Wine Company, including 01-11 UE Square, 81 Clemenceau Avenue, and 01-04B Cluny Court, 501 Bukit Timah Road
Price: $65 until Dec 31, usual price $106
PHOTOS: CELLARMASTER WINES, CHAMPAGNE DE SOUSA, DESMOND FOO, CHAMPAGNE GOSSET, ARTISAN CELLARS