Good champagne is festive, bubbly, amazingly food-friendly and, unfortunately, expensive.
If you enjoy this versatile beverage and are always on the lookout for a more economical sparkling wine alternative, I've got a great recommendation.
Treveri Cellars will blow you away with the level of quality you get for what you pay. Every one of their current releases is flavorful and well-balanced, and remarkably priced at less than $20 a bottle.
The tasting room is in the facility previously occupied by Sagelands Winery (and, if you go back further, the long-defunct Staton Hills Winery), with easy access off of Interstate 82, a few minutes east of Yakima.
Treveri's winemaker, German-born Juergen Grieb, has been making wine in Washington for nearly 30 years. His sparkling wines tend to be a bit fruit-forward, with a touch of sweetness that's balanced so beautifully with crisp acidity that you might not even notice it.
That style may not be universally embraced by sparkling-wine drinkers who prefer bigger round and yeasty characteristics, but I found it to be wonderfully refreshing and, again, at a price no one can complain about.
Of the winery's eight current selections, here are the ones I found especially notable:
Extra Brut Chardonnay and Brut Chardonnay (about $14 each) - The extra brut is the driest of the Treveri wines, with plenty of lemon and citrus flavors and a slightly creamy finish, while the brut has more of a Granny Smith apple flavor profile. Either would be excellent with fried or raw oysters.
Sparkling Pinot Gris (about $15) - Beautiful aromas and flavors of ruby red grapefruit, melon and pear melt into contrasting end notes that are both tangy and faintly sweet. This sparkler is virtually guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Sparkling Riesling (about $17) - Bold honeysuckle aromatics lead to a mouthful of ripe peach and mango flavors. Bright splashes of lemon and pineapple make this a perfect partner with hot buttered crab.
Sparkling Gewurztraminer (about $17) - True-to-the-varietal flavors of honeydew melon and hints of spice are followed with a more pronounced honeylike finish. I call it liquid fun in a glass.
Sparkling Syrah (about $19) - Normally I'm not a big fan of sparkling reds, but this one impressed me with its intensely dark color, complex cherry and berry flavors, and its slightly yeasty finish.
Treveri's tasting room is open noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and wines can be ordered online at trevericellars.com.
DAN RADIL is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.