One of America’s Best Sommeliers Blind Taste Tests Sparkling Wine Under $15

By Brian Lemay 100 comments

– I’m Patrick Cappiello, Wine Director of Rebelle restaurant in New York City, Eater National and Food & Wine Magazine’s Sommelier of the year. And today, I’m going to
blind-taste cheap, sparkling wines. (upbeat music) When I’m tasting sparkling
wines, I’m looking for the same things I’m looking
for with still wines but obviously with the
addition of bubbles. Those bubbles can range
in intensity and size, but in the end, if the wine’s no good, it doesn’t matter how
many bubbles are in it, it’s probably not gonna be any good. All right, well it smells like
it might be made from grapes. It’s very, it’s pretty
aggressively bubbly. Makes me wonder how the
bubbles got in there. It’s very sweet, wow, it’s super sweet. It’s too bubbly (laughs). Too bubbly and too sweet. It has kind of a creamy, sweet texture with acidity but disjointed. Yeah, that’s like an
F, for sure it’s an F. If I had to guess the
grape, Concord (laughs). Ah, Cook’s (laughing). Okay, it’s California
champagne, it says right there. Oh, my God, wow. Brut is supposed to mean dry. They misunderstood what it means. Like, it has a scale
of Brut Grand Reserve, Brut Extra Dry, Sweet Rose. None of these things are real wine terms. They basically took
every tradition of making sparkling wine all over
the rest of the world and bastardized it. All right. Oh, wow. I mean, this smells like a
Moscato but like real Moscato. Like Moscato that you
would get from Italy, which is a traditional
sparkling wine from Italy that is supposed to be sweet. It tends to be more favored for dessert and it smells a lot like that. It smells kind of like honey,
actually, a lot like honey. It doesn’t smell terrible, it just smells like it’s gonna be sweet. It tastes like a wine that is sweet because it’s supposed to taste sweet. Not a wine that tastes sweet
because they made it sweet. It’s not terrible. The bubbles are super fine. There’s good acidity there
that’s balanced out as well. It’s more of a dessert wine but it’s well-constructed, well-balanced, and I think it speaks of
a certain style of wine. I’m gonna give it a B plus. Oh, my God, that’s awesome. Wow, I’m actually very happy about this because this is like old school, 1863. I bet this wine tasted the
same in 1863 as it does now, and that’s super cool. Martini & Rossi Asti
Spumante, man, awesome. Made from the finest
Moscato Bianco grapes. Moscato, I nailed it, nailed it. That’s OG right there. All right. What (laughs). It smells like Banana Now and Laters. Very tropical, pineapple, banana. There’s some, like, perfumed,
kind of floral notes. It’s very aromatic, like,
extraordinarily aromatic. And it tastes nothing like it smells. It’s just like all acid. There’s some sugar there
for sure, but it’s like flavor bursts and it’s gone, immediately. It just tapers right off. ‘Cause when you smell it you think it’s gonna be extraordinarily
sweet, but then when you taste it, it’s
really, really dry. That’s like a D minus. It’s really close to an
F but not quite there. Trader Joe’s, ai yai
yai, I didn’t even know they made sparkling wine. How did I not know all these
sparkling wines existed? French Sparkling Wine. I can’t believe it comes from France. Not that they only make
great wine in France, but that somebody would have paid to have this brought here from France. They should have left it there. Thanks, France. This looks kind of normal. Oh, my God, it smells like Peach Schnapps. Yeah, it smells like candy,
like almost Gummy Bears. Wow, that’s really weird. This is gonna be really
fuckin’ sweet, too, I know it. It’s actually not as sweet
as I thought it was gonna be. It’s still very fruity
and, ugh, it’s like bitter. It’s almost like Sour Patch Kids. Like, when it’s super
fruity, when it’s super tart. And it’s like they went out of their way to make it extra sparkling. Your mouth fills up with gas. Then there’s definitely
some sweetness there but it’s sour, that’s also terrible. I’m gonna give that an
F, too, that’s an F. I would never drink this. I would never, this is punishment to make somebody drink this. If I had to guess I would say it’s a sparkling Riesling from someplace that shouldn’t be making wine. Oh, man, wow. Sophia, from Francis Coppola. Coppola crushes it again. Man oh man, that guy is gonna absolutely murder me at some point. I hate shitting on your wines, Francis, but you make it so easy. Something was definitely lost
in translation here, though. This one seems to be
retaining its frothy head, which is scary. Oh, man. Again, this one smells like candy. Medium sweet, if there’s such a thing, but fully terrible. Again, there’s something unnatural about the bubbles in this thing. It maybe went through a soda stream. And again, acid level is really high. It’s so strange that with these wines that they’re just
aggressive on both sides. Super sweet, super high acid. It’s not as bad as we’ve seen so far, so therefore I don’t want to give it an F. So I’m going to give it a D. Oh, ho, yes. This one I’ve heard of before, Korbel. You know a Methode Champenoise,
which is definitely alive. There’s no way this is made
with Methode Champenoise. Come on, for 15 bucks? I’ve never been happier
to have the last glass. Yeah, I mean, it smells like wine. That smells, I’m not afraid
to put this in my mouth. It smells like pear, like ripe pear. It’s not delicious, but
it’s dry, which is great. There’s no sugar at all in that. That’s very, very dry. Not bad at all actually,
I mean, I would give that, in the realm of what
I’ve seen so far, a B. Oh, nice, okay, Piper Sonoma. That makes sense. It says here that it’s perfect
for mimosas or French 75’s. I kind of respect that,
the fact that they’re willing to admit that their inexpensive sparkling wine might be
better off in a cocktail than it is in a wine glass. For a dry, sparkling
wine that’s affordable, I think you could do worse. So I think we’ve learned
a lot of things today. First of all that it’s
hard to find good value in the sparkling wine genre. Most sparkling wines are
expensive for a reason. There’s a few more steps that go into making sparkling wine,
and if corners are cut and they’re just going for the end result of getting bubbles in it,
sometimes you’re gonna sacrifice some of the
other things about it that make wine great or that make a wine delicious to drink. So there’s no doubt that
this is the winner for today. And what I learned today is that even though I think that
I don’t like sweet wines, I actually do, but the
difference here is quality. And as much as I like
finding great value in wine, with sparkling wines it might be worth spending just a little bit more or just skipping it all together. From, I’m Patrick Cappiello.



Dec 12, 2017, 11:23 pm Reply

Why are American sparkling wine makers allowed to put the word Champagne on their products, when they are NOT made in the Champagne region of France?

Blue water Ocean

Dec 12, 2017, 6:49 pm Reply



Dec 12, 2017, 9:39 pm Reply

If Steve Carrel was a hipster

Evan Ottervanger

Jan 1, 2018, 5:00 am Reply

I fail to see how this is blind

Madeline Edwards

Jan 1, 2018, 12:41 am Reply

I want to have this guy's job.


Jan 1, 2018, 3:12 pm Reply

I love this guy, people butthurt because he shitting on their whine, get out of here Francis!

Wonder Woman

Jan 1, 2018, 2:36 pm Reply

Why was I under the impression that the bubbles are created due to "imputities" in the glass?


Jan 1, 2018, 4:58 pm Reply

Could they have not found a good Cava for this tasting?


Jan 1, 2018, 7:59 am Reply

This is super late, and I've watched this multiple times, but the fact that you guessed Muscato for the Asti is amazing, saying that it's like real Muscato too (which it is)

Bob Jones

Jan 1, 2018, 12:56 am Reply

What about Andre???

Michael Green

Feb 2, 2018, 9:56 pm Reply

Why not taste them blind? (him not knowing what he's tasting or costs)

Lin The Cosmic Archer

Feb 2, 2018, 8:54 am Reply

Martini and Rossi is my favorite


Feb 2, 2018, 3:31 pm Reply

"Medium sweet but fully terrible" lol

Sam Griffiths

Feb 2, 2018, 9:45 pm Reply

D- close to F? Good old American education system 😂

Alexandre Larochelle

Feb 2, 2018, 1:05 am Reply

Cava / Clàssic Penedès enthusiast here; I think that Cava is unbeatable in the sparkling-wine style, if you take average price into account. I can certainely appreciate the complex yeasty (here's a new word for you non-winos: empyreumatic) notes of champagne, but I think that if you're willing to go into the $60-$100 price range, you can find some dazzingly high quality products in Spain, Raventós' Gran Reserva Personal comes to mind.

And sub-$60, you can get various degrees of complexity of pure freshness. Fruity aromas (I get a strong lemony-citrus nose in most cavas I've tried) and yet almost never any residual sugar. If you're new to the Spanish sparkling wine world, here's a few tips : the three grapes you'll be looking for are Xarel-lo, Parellada, Macabeo. Xarel-lo is kind of the star. You'll sometimes see a bit of Chardonnay thrown in for a rounder mouthfeel. Also if you can swing it, it might be worth it to go Organic, I personally feel as though it's preferable in the fermentation doing it's thang without being overtly tampered with by chemicals (might be just me though, each wine producer is different so maybe I've just landed on better ones that happened to be organic). Sub-$60 cavas are often priced by production size more than anything, save for a few noble exceptions, around 20-25 dollars tends to be the best bang for buck. And lastly, don't be afraid of Rosé Cava, it's a widespread misconception that Rosé is sweet, most of it is absolutely bone dry, difference is that it's been left to sit with the grapeskins for a few hours. it adds a floral aroma, in my experience. Winemakers to look for: aforementioned Raventós, Loxarel, Viñedos Familiares S.L..


Mar 3, 2018, 11:22 pm Reply

Well i gotta say alway go with prosecco under 15

Cooper Olm

Mar 3, 2018, 5:54 am Reply

I'm glad they don't show him spitting in this one

Kat & Joe

Mar 3, 2018, 7:08 pm Reply

Should have snuck a really expensive one in there without telling him

lonnie romero

Mar 3, 2018, 2:37 am Reply

Kind of a douche

Amateur Consumption

Mar 3, 2018, 3:16 am Reply

Love this!

Mike H

Mar 3, 2018, 4:10 pm Reply

The background music is not necessary

Jake Babendreier

Mar 3, 2018, 11:39 pm Reply

how could you do this without Andre?


Mar 3, 2018, 6:05 am Reply

Is this Tom Sizemore's smaller brother?

James Morris

Mar 3, 2018, 10:18 pm Reply

By the way…lost in translation was directed by his daughter…nice try

Sasha Lane

Apr 4, 2018, 1:57 am Reply

Fuck yeah I love Asti Spumante. Pernod + Asti Death in the Afternoons are my go to drink nowadays.

Paris Malaspinas

Apr 4, 2018, 8:27 pm Reply

i love martini asti

kack poo

Apr 4, 2018, 11:18 pm Reply

this guy is hilarious


May 5, 2018, 9:33 pm Reply


Rob Jones

May 5, 2018, 11:16 pm Reply

Freixenet for the money is good. Same price range. Should have tried that one. Segura Viudas is also good for the money. Both very drinkable.


May 5, 2018, 8:33 pm Reply

Oh God, Cook's 🤢
So nasty.


May 5, 2018, 8:44 am Reply

This was mostly repetitive to an obnoxious degree, but it has this deathless line at least: … thanks, France !

The Hate Camel

May 5, 2018, 2:38 am Reply

You reaaaallly want to be Anthony Bourdain Newsflash: you both need to off yourselves ASAP


Jun 6, 2018, 10:00 am Reply

its not a blind test when he knows it under 15 bucks. should be blind test cheap vs expensive.

Tyler Eschberger

Jun 6, 2018, 12:38 am Reply

The more I learn about sommeliers the more I hate it.


Jun 6, 2018, 5:28 pm Reply

How can you do a blind test if you already know what you are tasting?


Jun 6, 2018, 8:12 pm Reply

They cannot make this complete blind taste..and mix cheap wines with expensive.. he wouldn t be able to recognize shit..and all the awards would be put into the question..


Jun 6, 2018, 1:36 am Reply

Martini payed him to say that obv. Dumb and fake.

Tyler Ford

Jun 6, 2018, 2:00 am Reply

Sommeliers – the classy way of talking out your ass


Jun 6, 2018, 2:04 am Reply

This guy reminds me of Andrew Neeme who does poker vlogs. I don't even know what it is, maybe because he is a real person and likes what he does and I appreciate that. Passion about your craft people are awesome. Keep this good series going.


Jun 6, 2018, 12:10 am Reply

Love your honesty and your sense of fairness in tasting some of this plonk. Great series.

Paul Heckman

Jul 7, 2018, 7:41 pm Reply

"thanks France". Haha

Holmes, Spencer Jacob

Jul 7, 2018, 3:14 am Reply

con-cord! ha ha!

Michael King

Jul 7, 2018, 1:41 am Reply

Need more of this guy!

Bad Fairy

Jul 7, 2018, 5:44 pm Reply

Thanks Patrick we have the same taste.

Adam Churvis

Jul 7, 2018, 11:28 pm Reply

It's not a blind tasting if you know ANYTHING about the wine whatsoever. A more interesting test, which would have really put his skin in the game, would be to have him (truly) blind-taste a flight of wines across the spectrum, and try to place for each the varietal(s), the region, and the winemaker. Hardly any sommelier is will to do that unedited for public consumption. The folks from the movie Somm could have, probably.

BJ McCormick

Jul 7, 2018, 7:06 pm Reply

how about friexinet


Jul 7, 2018, 2:14 am Reply

sofia coppola do it again now in wines !!! floop !!


Jul 7, 2018, 12:37 pm Reply

Dude, I love all your guitar work on the Blur albums. Absolute legend.


Jul 7, 2018, 8:02 am Reply

This is probably why you have so many bubbles if the wine is so sweet. Yuk!!

Anton Stoyanov

Aug 8, 2018, 12:10 pm Reply

They should have slipped one supper expensive one, just to check him.


Aug 8, 2018, 2:57 am Reply

I like this guy! Of the sparkling wines you reviewed, I had Martini & Rossi Asti, and Korbel before. I am glad that someone agrees with me that Korbel is not very good. Korbel seems to be trying to promote itself as better than the cheap stuff and on the verge of being good. I didn't think so. I liked Martini & Rossi, although it was a little too sweet for my preference. I would definitely take it to a party. Pardon me for my ID being in Korean.

Jonathan Kim

Aug 8, 2018, 1:08 am Reply

I don't want to be the guy but… you don't know how the bubbles got in there? Sommelier…

Made in Russia

Sep 9, 2018, 8:18 am Reply

Sparkling wines are really nice! Russian winery "Kuban-Vino" also produces such kind of drinks:

David Toschi

Oct 10, 2018, 9:29 pm Reply

What they should have done is get some faget out of college that thinks he's hot s*** and give him some stupid award and then get him to think that he's tasting thousand-dollar wines and make a fool of him on live TV

Kyle Smith

Oct 10, 2018, 5:41 am Reply

yeeeeeeaaaah hipster sommelier! new in the line of hipster things!

Joseph Mauricio Flores

Nov 11, 2018, 7:01 am Reply

Blind test them and do not tell them if the wine is cheap or not. Let’s see them fail at their profession. It’s like you guys are afraid that they will fail because it might destroy the fantasy world you live in.

John Paterson

Dec 12, 2018, 6:45 am Reply

Can get some good sparkling wine here in Australia for that price. My goto is an imported French drop called "Sieur d'Arques Grande Cuvée 1531 de Aimery" which is comparable to Moet.


Dec 12, 2018, 11:21 pm Reply

Asti Spumante is hard to top, but Golan Heights Winery also produces sparkling Moscato wine that's just as good as the Martini original. As a bonus for my Jewish chums out there, GH's take is kosher too.

Elias Kenning

Dec 12, 2018, 5:07 am Reply

What, no Andre?

Percussion Punisher

Dec 12, 2018, 4:23 pm Reply

Can you truly be a wine sommelier if you know exactly what you’re drinking, it’s price and background BEFORE tasting it? Ehh, why do I still love watching these videos?!


Dec 12, 2018, 10:24 pm Reply

I like Cooks's brut. $7 gets you 1.5L of that stuff. Great alcohol/price ratio!

Moses Swedberg

Dec 12, 2018, 6:25 am Reply

All these comments about bias. A good sommelier can tell you which grape, which continent, which region, and which year just by tasting a wine. I dont think the knowledge of low price really influenced the review at all.


Dec 12, 2018, 6:17 am Reply

This guy's a fucking chode.


Jan 1, 2019, 5:12 pm Reply

Every sparkling wine he tasted and dubbed crap is someone else’s A+. 😂🤣

One does not simply

Jan 1, 2019, 7:46 pm Reply

You do eveything wrong again

Urbane Vintner

Jan 1, 2019, 7:17 pm Reply

To say it was a blind tasting of cheap wines is a contradiction. You have already calibrated your palette by identifying them all as cheap wines.

Ophelia Davis

Jan 1, 2019, 12:00 am Reply

Proof wine testing is BULL SHIT if you just give them wine with no info they would be stuck 😂 wine fakes would be exposed lol. A lot of the cheap wines would smash the high price crap👌


Jan 1, 2019, 9:51 am Reply

The brands here that are coming from France are certainly not french lol, I'm french and tbh I've never seen these companies around here and I drank a loooooooooooooooot of wine lol

loladius nachnamius

Jan 1, 2019, 10:09 pm Reply

fucking hate this guy

Willie Mostert

Jan 1, 2019, 11:00 pm Reply

Try a few South African MCC's… most are around $15. You'd be surprised. Colmant, La'Venir, Brampton, Villeira, Simonsig…


Jan 1, 2019, 6:18 pm Reply

How am I not suppose to be a narcasist, I have failed at everything I have put my mind to, fuck my family, hopefully Sarahs wedding is shit. That worthless bitch deserves nothing good in life, never turn 30, because people only give a fuck about your older brother.

Andrew James

Jan 1, 2019, 4:47 am Reply

What about Cava or Prosecco??? This video was enjoyable, but I disagree that you have the spend a lot of money to find great sparkling wine.

Saul Marin

Feb 2, 2019, 8:45 am Reply

I gave you a like because you do make good statement. Your honest about it, dont get too cocky and arrogant….

Kevin William

Mar 3, 2019, 2:02 am Reply

Read all the comments below me about how they shouldn’t tell
him the wines are cheap


Apr 4, 2019, 1:14 am Reply

If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend the aged variant of the Martini Ross Asti. It's aged for like 1-2 years and it just makes it taste even better. If you can find it in a store somewhere, it's typically only $1-2 extra compared to the standard Asti.


Apr 4, 2019, 6:32 pm Reply

It's not a "blind" tasting…
when you know it's "Cheap Sparkling Wine".

Al Zhang

Apr 4, 2019, 6:27 am Reply

1 cut every second…


Apr 4, 2019, 6:53 pm Reply

why is there no E in the american system?

Jonathan Flynn

Apr 4, 2019, 10:42 pm Reply

No Cava??????????

Barb Becka

Apr 4, 2019, 9:42 pm Reply

Patrick, wished you were provided a wider global range of sparklers under $15 like a Crement de Bourgogne, or Mousseaux de Limoux (sp?!), or a Sparkling Gruner Vetliner (sp?). Oh well. I enjoyed watching this anyways. Cheers et Sante to you!

Willi Rehmer

Apr 4, 2019, 6:00 am Reply

is wine that expensive in US? in Germany you can by extraordanary wines for about 10 to 12 Euros. We have some wines that cost about 3 Euros and they are very decent

Loren Shoop

May 5, 2019, 3:07 am Reply

Medium Sweet Fully Horrible. hahaha


May 5, 2019, 5:34 pm Reply

I dont think it matters much if he knows that are cheap or not beforehand. He was able to call Martini and Rossi and piper sonoma decent. I've never heard anything good about the likes of Cooks and Korbel, in fact working in a liqour store those seem like "go to" we need a bottle to burst open/toast with lots of people sparklings. Never heard somebody praise their quality

Morgan Cox

May 5, 2019, 6:16 am Reply

Blind Taste Tests Sekt form Germany would be much better.

Brian W

May 5, 2019, 11:44 pm Reply

The entire job of a sommelier is useless. I don’t need a stranger telling me how something tastes. His tastebuds are not the same as mine, so who cares what he thinks.

Landrew MacKinnon

May 5, 2019, 2:45 pm Reply

Martini sparkling is terrible.


Jun 6, 2019, 2:30 am Reply

1:24 Ok, that's impressive. He definitely knows his shit.

Alessandro Caldara

Jun 6, 2019, 7:56 pm Reply

Finally Italian do it better , hands down.

klint dyer

Jun 6, 2019, 11:54 pm Reply

The one I drink won!!! 😂 love my cheap pallet


Jul 7, 2019, 5:07 am Reply

I know nothing about wine except for the stuff we tasted in Belgium.. that wine evaporated in your mouth and went straight to ur brain..

Chris Andersen

Jul 7, 2019, 12:16 am Reply

Hilarious! I work in the wine section at Trader Joe's, and I actively try to steer people away from that Blanc de Blanc and the Korblech.

Leo Darrer

Jul 7, 2019, 12:12 am Reply

I didn't hear the term yeast once, lol.


Jul 7, 2019, 1:32 am Reply

Ahaha "smells like banana now and laters"
This is exactly the level of wine tasting that I'm on…

Louis Demers-St-Antoine

Jul 7, 2019, 9:41 pm Reply

There's a bunch of good sparkling wines made using the the méthode champenoise that can be had for 15 – 20 $. Many Cavas and Crémant de (insert geographical location in France) use that method and generate good results for less than 20 $.


Jul 7, 2019, 10:36 pm Reply

We need a Tasting Notes Rosé video!

Steve Spirgis

Jul 7, 2019, 1:27 am Reply


I just jumped from your last video (where I commented) and now you're telling me that "traditional Moscato" comes from "Italy" which it *ENTIRELY* does not.

Do you know that Muscat Grapes come from West Africa? Come on! COME ON.

A Marie

Jul 7, 2019, 11:46 am Reply

Thanks for grouping a few cheap wines.
One thing that makes it difficult for me is that I never seem to have very much money ever so buying a bottle of wine is a big deal.
If I spend $20 it's nice to know where I'm starting with what's inside and not buying shit wine.

Literally had to dump the last bottle of cab.

Definitely an F.
And not useful for any other thing.

Also didn't want to take it back and get into an argument with the people selling it.


N8c3z8nr N8x22z9yb4

Aug 8, 2019, 3:47 am Reply

Im getting a lil fruit cake and a hint of bat shit crazy

Marsellus Wallace

Aug 8, 2019, 8:46 am Reply

@4:22 That was a great joke. I’m sure he felt so proud of himself for that one 😂😂.


Aug 8, 2019, 6:06 am Reply

I hear there's thousands of new Vineyards open up every year let the torture commence! 😂

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