Sip into The Festive Season with These Affordable French Sparklings

By Valentine Benoist

As the British festive season unfolds, there's no better way to celebrate than by raising your glass with the best of French bubbly. But surprise surprise, there’s plenty more to it than Champagne and no, it doesn’t need to cost the earth. From the rosé gems of the Loire Valley to the crisp pear orchards of Normandy, we’ve selected five affordable beverages that will add a bit of French sparkle to your celebrations this year. Cheers!

5 champagne photo

The apéritif king - White Crémant de Limoux PDO 

The origin: in Southwest France’s Languedoc, the picturesque Limoux area is set in the heart of the Cathar country, between the mediaeval town of Carcassonne and the Pyrenees. The region is the birthplace of some of the world’s oldest sparkling wines. A protected appellation, Crémant de Limoux PDO is traditionally made from a blend of mainly chardonnay and chenin, and can include a small portion of mauzac grape variety like this one, or pinot noir sometimes. 

What to expect: this harmonious blend will give you fine bubbles, crisp apple and citrus notes. A delightful apéritif drink to kick off festive things.  

The perfect match: enjoy chilled with savoury canapés, or give it a try with white fish — it works wonders! 

Cuvée Royale Brut NV Crémant de Limoux 
£9.99, Waitrose 



The fruity number - Poiré Sassy French Cider 

The origin: the French Perry counterpart, with its own special name as well, let us introduce you to the wonderful Poiré! This fermented pure juice is handcrafted from pears, not like its classic apple cider brother. This specific number by Maison Sassy is a secret blend of more than ten pear varieties, from the orchards of Normandy in north-west France. 

What to expect: packed with Champagne notes and honeyed herbs, this is a perfect fruity alternative, for those on the lookout for an affordable, yet sophisticated sparkling with a very low AB. The modern packaging and clean taste are a far cry from the traditional “terroir” ciders. 

The perfect match: any kind of pear tart, but also chocolate desserts or your favourite festive cheese platter. 

Maison Sassy Cider Poiré 
£3, Harvey Nichols 


The classic among the classics - M&S Collection St Gall Champagne Brut 

The origin: one of the world’s most famous and prestigious beverages, Champagne needs no intro. But did you know that Champagne PDO has been a protected designation since 1936? As such, it can only be made in the Champagne region, using pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay grape varieties. Read all about it here. 

What to expect: amazing value-for-money, this M&S own-label dry Champagne cuvée comes from the Montagne de Reims area. With notes of green apples and buttery brioche, this crowd-pleaser will definitely deliver the Champagne wow-factor at your next Christmas party. 

The perfect match: anything goes with dry Champagne, especially pasta, risotto, seafood or mushrooms! And on its own as well, needless to say. 


M&S Collection St Gall Champagne Brut 
£28, Ocado 


The sweet partner - Rosé Crémant de Loire PDO 

The origin: embrace the elegance of this sparkling Crémant from the enchanting Loire Valley. Protected since 1975, the PDO Crémant de Loire sparkling wines can be made with chenin and chardonnay from the whites, while the rosés can blend cabernet franc, grolleau and chenin grapes. 

What to expect: This beautiful pink-hued Excellence Brut Rosé is made by historic winery Bouvet Ladubay near Saumur, from a blend of cabernet franc and grolleau. Boasting delicate aromas of red berries and subtle floral notes, it is crisp and vibrant. A wonderful choice for the French wow effect without the Champagne price tag. 

The perfect match: on its own, with smoked salmon or any sort of red-fruit led dessert. 

Bouvet Ladubay, Crémant de Loire PDO Excellence Brut Rosé 
£15.70, Vinum 

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