New Year’s Eve Cheap Champagne-palooza (part one)

New Years is comin', y'all! Get your sparkle on, cheap ladies.

New Years is comin’, y’all! Get your sparkle on, cheap ladies.

The blog may have taken a week off for the holidays but the cheap ladies did not. They kept on drinking, staying true to their commitment to help out the cause and to stay drunk enough that no relatives were shanked or drowned in a punch bowl of nog. Christmas week I assigned the girls three bottles of prosecco and this week I was very loose with my instructions but insisted that what they tried had to be cheap–rollin’-pennies-for-smokes-cheap. But I’m gonna stretch this out Hollywood style and break this into 2 parts when really one would do. On with the show.

The Lesson: Because Cheap Don’t Mean Stupid

Prosecco? For some this may leave you with a blank face just like cava did, but I can clear it up real quick. Prosecco is simply Italian sparkling wine. Cava is spanish this is Italian. I personally love me some Italy so I was excited about this assignment. If they sold blow-up gondolas at the WalMart, I would have bought one and stuck it in the bathtub with me while I drank (probably not safe, so don’t do it and then sue me because your stupid ass drowned). Outside of where it’s produced, another main difference between prosecco and champagne is that the latter is typically produced using the Charmat method, meaning the secondary fermentation takes place in large, stainless steel tanks instead of the bottle. This helps to keep the price down but the DOCG does allow for use of the classic method as well.

DOCG? No, it’s not a new rap group made up of Snoop Dog and Kenny G’s children, it’s an agency of the Italian government. Remember that the Italians and the French are sticklers for authenticity and tradition, so the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita=controlled designation of origin guaranteed) is the FDA, ATF, Secret Service, FBI, Big Brother, etc… They make sure stuff is what it says it is and writes a bunch of rules to keep those Italians from slipping fakes past us by distracting us with their sexiness. Inspector 12 makes sure the tighty-whiteys are the real deal here in the US while Giancarlo makes sure your prosecco is labeled correctly with Brut or Extra Dry. Another variant with prosecco is that it comes in either spumante (fully sparkling) or as frizzante (lightly sparkling). Spumante is the more expensive of the two.

Inspector !2 working hard for the US.

Inspector !2 working hard for the US.

The DOCG working hard for Italy.

The DOCG working hard for Italy.

The Line-up:

the italian suspects

LaMarca Prosecco

Well, according to their website this Italian sparkler is supposed to be the bomb. It claims to be named one of the top 100 wines and has been featured in several magazines. Let’s see if our cheap women think it stands up to the hype.

Moxie Mimosa

Moxie Mimosa

So, this morning we tested LaMarca Prosecco. Pretty bottle, kind of Tiffany blue with a silver crown and silver foil on the cork. Today was Chinella Tequila’s birthday (her witness protection name), and she’s been depressed ever since she lost her toes, so I thought a bottle of bubbly in its own jewelry box would be just the thing to cheer her up. Sadly, the LaMarca was a lot like some men I dated in my younger days–all show and no go. It had a nice satisfying “Pop” and sigh when opened, and the first taste was really nice, but it had a kind of lingering aftertaste, and lost its bubbliness quickly after pouring. It did not taste any better in the Mimosas, and Cindy was beginning to wonder if you got a discount on your pedicure if you didn’t have toes on one foot!
I give it 2 1/2 press-on nails!

Asti BoomBoom

Asti BoomBoom

So I was given the LaMarca prosecco to try this week. I even had a fancy pants shindig to bring a bottle to.  Everyone was excited to try it, until we actually tasted it. I can’t believe I paid $13 for what essentially tasted like unsweetened ginger ale. It was bitter and very flat tasting. The color was nice, and it was fizzy, but no one was able to get through a glass. We finally got the bright idea to add some sangria which at least made it tolerable.  The $10 bottle of Friexenet I had last week was much better. Save your money and pass on this one.

I give it 1 Press-on Nail.

2 of the five ladies were unable to participate this week due to cramps and probation hearings; and one of them just got drunk and confused, but I’m printing her story for the hell of it (and because it made me laugh).

Cristal Chandelier

Cristal Chandelier

Guess what?  I found the Barefoot Bubbly’s evil twin….pink color and all!Last week I had a holiday party to attend and I may or may not have started my own pre-party before my friend to pick me up.  We then headed to Trader Joe’s to grab more beverages and I racked my brain trying to remember my assigned bubbly for the week.  I told the helpful clerk it was, “some kind of prosecco…but you guys might not have it, so just recommend something.”  And so he did.  I was already a fan of prosecco and when he mentioned it had a touch of cranberry added to it, my already fuzzy brain thought, “Score!”  I should have known I was in trouble when my friend giggled as she grabbed herself a 6-pack of winter brew.  (note to self….never take drink recommendations from a boy who looks all of 15 years old)We arrived at the party and everyone loved my sparkly pink drink…well, at least they liked the color.  We all agreed it tasted like cranberry sprite with a kick (sound familiar?) but at that point I didn’t care because it was all I had to drink and I couldn’t remember the correct rhyme for which drinks are ok to drink before others to prevent a wicked hangover.  So I drank the whole bottle–from a plastic cup.
And possibly showed my boobs at one point…after sending my husband a naughty text. So…even though I couldn’t finish the Barefoot Bubbly we reviewed the first week and I only gave it 2.5 press-on nails, I’m going to give this one 3 press-on nails because I had an awesome time at the party.  So awesome that I put my contacts in the wrong sides of their case when I got home and momentarily thought I was going blind the next morning when I went to put them back in.  Also, I seem to remember someone else in the group doing that a time or two (cough cough).  I have no clue what the name of the stuff I drank was called, but it’s some kind of pink prosecco and I think it was like $4.99 for the bottle.  Does that make me a cheap drunk?

May or may not be a photo of Cristal after drinking the Trader Joe's bubbly at her party.

May or may not be a photo of Cristal after drinking the Trader Joe’s bubbly at her party.

The verdict: Well, if LaMarca was to stand on it’s own, it would get a whopping 1.75 nails. That ain’t good. If we throw it a bone and include the mystery Trader Joe’s ranking as a little dose of Viagra, it rises to a 2.1. That still ain’t too good. Our advice looks like it’s saying “don’t take it to parking lots or fancy parties, but if you can find the Trader Joe’s shit, somebody is gonna see some boobies.”

Cupcake Prosecco:

Cupcake is an American made prosecco that uses grapes from Italy (maybe Inspector 12 moonlights for them). It uses the Charmat method we covered up there (go read it if you skipped over it–this ain’t the damn ACT). I don’t know much but the annoying little video intro on their web page made sure to tell us over and over that Cupcake was “America’s Favorite Premium Wine.” Uh…I’d like to know what they meant by premium and how they surveyed America because I don’t think any of us were asked. Let’s see if we agree with their claim.

Jezebelle Noir

Jezebelle Noir

My assigned champagne this week is Cupcake Prosecco. I have to say I was a little concerned about drinking alcohol while on pain medicine for my back. Web MD says not to. Eh, to heck with it. What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, right? So here is my review. I thought it might be a little sweeter because of its name, “Cupcake”. Instead it was kind of fruity. Sort of peachy-ish. I also noticed that it was very bland and flat. However, that very well could be because I disguised my alcoholic beverage in a Phineas and Ferb cup full of ice. I told myself to give a proper review I should finish off my drink and poor another one in a fancy glass – no ice. It was a little  more carbonated  but still a little bland and flat. Once again, finished the bottle. If you ask me if I would purchase this champagne again… Probably not. 2 press on nails!

Lil' Brut

Lil’ Brut

Pinot Noir is my favorite wine, so as I was purchasing Cupcake Prosecco, I noticed the Cupcake Pinot Noir, and since the Big Brut was off in the woods for the weekend hunting for meat for the family, I thought I might as well try both; it’s not like I had anything else to do. Both were good. But we’re judging the Prosecco, not the Pinot Noir here. During a very late brunch with a friend – can you call it brunch when you eat at 3:00 pm? – , we popped open the bottle. It was dry but fruity. It went down so very easily and changed our conversation from how we log on to our computers when we telecommute when working from home, to Art Bell’s retirement and other strange things “west of the Rockies”.  It left me wanting more, and yes, I turned the bottle upside down in search for the last little bit towards the end of the meal. I give this 4 press on nails but not more, because I could see the fruitiness of the champagne, though not sweet, becoming a bit too fruity for me if I had more than two glasses. Maybe. Or maybe, given the opportunity, I would drink the entire bottle. We’ll never know.

Kittie Tattinger

Kittie Tattinger

I would like to start my review by stating I’m thrilled to be drinking after 3 weeks of pneumonia! I was afraid this would skew my view as everything would taste great….but it didn’t. I reviewed Cupcake Prosecco. Hmmmm, Cupcake?? Ewwww! What kind of name is that? I like big dry red wines and Brut champagne- just the thought of a cupcake in liquid form made me want to mini-gag. At first sip I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t as sweet as I imagined (I was envisioning a fluffy white frosted cupcake, with sprinkles!) so I took another sip and then another. There really was no after taste…until it warmed up by 5 degrees. When I took my last few sips from the first glass there was a notable artificial peach after taste. Memories of fuzzy navel hangovers from college hit me like a mac truck. I’m now on my second glass and that is all I taste. Drat! I’m not going to be able to finish this on my own. Epic FAIL.   This is definitely a breakfast bub. It needs a splash of O.J. to calm down the peach flavour. Your other option would be to drink it, PDQ!  I rate this 2.5 press-on nails. The cork hit the 20 ft. ceiling to land in the dust collector- that alone awards it ½ a nail. Would I drink this in the morning if it was the only bubbly we had? Yes, out of necessity, however I would never go out and buy this for me or anyone I like very much.

Venus DeRiesling

Venus DeRiesling

To quote my best friend about our libations this fine evening: “they were both crapass!” I dug deep bc i had to play catchup and drink 2 champagnes: Cupcake Prosecco and **Cook’s Extra Dry. After a trip to Walmart, a bowl of hearty homemade chili, and Memphis fudge pie, me, my bff and Dallas bestie set out to do our Hussie duty, Now my bff is visiting from Memphis and was pretty excited @ Prosecco bc she just loves Prosecco…. Well, not this one. To quote my other girlfriend tonight, “it tastes like alcoholic tonic water” and made us wish we were back in our crazy, broke, college days sucking down Boones Farm! Speaking of stuff we sucked down in our glory days gone by… Cooks was a step up in that we didn’t have to pour the entire can of peach nectar into our glasses to stomach this swill.  Our assessment: Prosecco rates 1 press on nail,  and said nail fell off and cracked in half. I should’ve used super glue to hold it on and it probably would’ve tasted better than that Prosecco.  Cooks rates 1 press on nail that stayed glued!

The Verdict: Cupcake seemed to be all over the place on the rating scale but the average came to under 2.5 nails. That being said, you may hate it or you may love it. Test it on a friend or some bitch at the hair salon you don’t like and go from there. **We’ll be looking more closely at the Cook’s review tomorrow when we dig deep in the cheap just in time for New Year’s Eve.

Ruffino Prosecco:

Ruffino is Italian made and those Ruffino folks have been making wines since 1877, so I’m guessing they might know something about it. This prosecco is classified as Extra Dry by those DOC folks, meaning it has a little more sugar in it. Let’s see what the panel had to say.

Sassy Bubbles

Sassy Bubbles

I found this one at my new favorite place to go in Hot Springs. The guy who runs it sounds just like Larry the Cable Guy & told me he’d order anything I want & have it in a week!  I feel that I EARNED this beautiful bubbly treat this week after all the shopping & wrapping!!! I give Ruffino 3.25 press on nails. It was good, it tasted like a nice dry crisp white wine with carbonation. It got 3.25 because it has a funky aftertaste. The good thing is after you’ve consumed enough, you could care less about the aftertaste!!

Sparkle Spumante

Sparkle Spumante

Roll me in this liquid glitter and give me a pole. It was a bottle of pale, sparkly happiness with just the right amount of sweet. The only down side is that the usually-drinking-expensive-single-malt-scotch husband liked it too. He stole half my damn bottle. If I’d been carrying a knife in my bra he would have gotten shanked…or I would have just accidentally stabbed myself while trying to prove I could still do the splits (I can’t). I give this party nectar 4 extra long and trashy Press-on Nails.

Dom Bigolo

Dom Bigolo

Panties were dropped. I give it 12 nails.

** We’re not sure what kind of 12-fingered carny folk Dom dated in his past, but we’re going to assume that means a 5.

The Verdict: This one looks like a winner. If those lazy whores Granny Hooch and Chardonnay-nay Jones had done their job we might have a different opinion, but since they didn’t–Ruffino gets 4 Press-on Nails. That ain’t bad at all.

Now, go out and try some Italian other than the waiter at Macaroni Grill named Tony Jr. and we’ll see you with our review of the cheapest sparkles out there. And until then, help me wish a big, FAT  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Asti BoomBoom!!!

Asti may be just that, but she's my friend. Happy birthday!

Asti may be just that, but she’s my friend. Happy birthday!

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