Champagne is for Losers! Well, not really. But why not make at least one bottle of tonight’s bubbly a local bottle?

10497_lgLast week we were talking with Kate Landman, the merchandising manager at Astor Wines & Spirits, about Champagnes. Or what you can drink instead of them, that is, seeing as how they’re often expensive. Landman said that even casual consumers (meaning those of us who buy Champagne once a year: Tonight!) are more savvy these days. Like, um, we finally know Champagne is only technically made in France, and that there are other less pricey options like Cava (from Spain) and Prosecco (from Italy).

Astor has great selections for both of those, including a $7 Prosecco called Mia they swear by. But Landman also reminds us that you can drink bubbly stuff from this country, too, including a new one they’re stocking and lauding from Long Island for its green appley aroma and mineral streak. It’s a 2003 Sparkling Cuvée from Lenz Winery in Peconic, on the North Fork of Long Island. (Our sister pub, Edible East End, wrote about Lenz’ 2006 Gewürztraminer this fall) It’s $27, and Astor is open till 8 p.m., as luck would have it. As Landman quips, “who says you can’t make Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine on the North Fork of Long Island?” Not us, that’s for sure.

And Happy New Year, by the way, in case we don’t see you till 2010. There’s no better way to celebrate any holiday, we’d say, than to eat and drink well.