There's something about the weddings of Princess Diana's children that captures our attention more than other royal nuptials. Maybe it's the image that many of us remember of the two young princes walking behind their mother's horse-drawn casket along with their father, grandfather and uncle. At that sad moment in 1997, we were drawn to William who was 15 and Harry who was 12, and we've spent the last 20-plus years wishing for happy lives for those motherless boys.
In 2011, we watched as Prince William married Catherine Middleton, glad to know he was marrying for love, something his parents hadn't seemed to have done. On May 19, Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle, and again, we'll join in his joy, with all evidence pointing to the fact that he's also marrying for love.
I will be watching the wedding with a group of friends, and we all happen to be mothers of sons. Together we will toast the happy couple and feel a bond as we watch Princess Di's baby get married.
But, what will we toast with? Clearly it will be something bubbly. Champagne is a fine choice, but it's not the only one. I combed through my tasting notes to find affordable sparkling wines from all over the world that are worthy of toasting the prince and his new princess, including one produced in England.
Not all French sparkling wine is Champagne. Crémant is a quality sparkling wine that comes from several different appellations in France, some in the north of the country and some in the south. Crémant De Limoux is produced in southern France in the Languedoc region. Côté Mas makes Crémant De Limoux Rosé Brut that is lovely with breakfast dishes, and since the wedding will begin at 7 a.m. EST, a breakfast bubbly seems quite appropriate. There are a lot of bright berry flavors in this sparkling wine, along with some toastiness and spice. About $16.
You may be familiar with prosecco, but are you familiar with prosecco superiore? Prosecco superiore is grown on the very hilly sides of the Prosecco DOCG region in Italy, where the grapes are hand harvested and production rules are strict. Wine that is just labeled prosecco is grown on the valley floors of Italy's Prosecco DOC region. Prosseco superiore is higher quality, and with that quality comes a slightly higher price, but it's worth it. By slightly, I mean just a few dollars. Sometimes, the price is even comparable. This Cole Vertoaz Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is only $12.99 at a wine store near me. It's peachy, flowery and citrusy, and delightfully dry. If you're thinking prosecco equals mimosa, stop right there. You don't want to dilute this wine. About $13.
Some great sparkling wine comes from New Mexico, and Gruet has its roots in a French Champagne house and makes their bubbly in the classic Champagne method. This 100 percent chardonnay bubbly has classic Champagne notes of toast and green apple, and it's lemony and fruity on the palate. But don't tell anyone it's from New Mexico until after they taste it. It's not because you should be embarrassed about where this sparkling wine is from. It's so you can teach your guests that they shouldn't assume a wine won't be good because of its origin. About $17.
I always have a bottle of sparkling wine in my refrigerator for an unexpected special occasion or a regular Tuesday night, and often it's Segura Viudas Cava. This super-affordable Spanish sparkler is also super delicious. Cava is made like Champagne, and has many of the same qualities of the more-famous bubbly. But, the Spanish have many more grape varieties available to them when making this style of sparkling wine. This cava is produced from macabeo, parellada and xarel-lo grapes. It has aromas of apples and nuts and it's nice and dry. About $12.
If you're going to splurge, this royal wedding calls for an English sparkling wine, or fizz as they call it. Fizz has become a serious competitor in the sparkling wine world, with some people even saying the best of it rivals Champagne. While quality English sparkling wine is usually less expensive than comparable Champagne, a good bottle will definitely run more than $20. I recently tried several English sparkling wines at an event, and enjoyed them all. Of those I tried, this is the most widely distributed throughout the U.S., which I why I chose it. All the English sparkling wines I tasted had great acidity that make make them very food friendly, but they were quite enjoyable on their own, too. Around $38.