This may be a little late, but Smartmoney has a guide to buying sparkling wine. Champagne really does have a mystique, but there are many other sparkling wines that are really good. Of Smartmoney's list, I highly recommend the Cristalio Cava. $8 and tastes really good. Spanish cava hasn't been discovered yet, so get it while it's cheap.
I also found a sparkling wine produced in New Mexico. That state certainly isn't known for wine. It's really quite good, though.