There is something about sparkling wine that feels festive. With many festive occasions a bottle of “bubbly” is presented and served to celebrate the cheerful moment. But what exactly is sparkling wine and what kind of sparkling wine are there?
Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, which makes it fizzy. There are many sorts of sparkling wines available, from sweet to dry. The sweetness is indicated with terms such as “Naturelle” (very dry), extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry (light sweet), demi – sec, sec en doux (sweet).
Sparkling wine can only bare the name champagne if the wine originates from the Champagne region. Champagne is made from three different grape varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Producing champagne is not that straight forward, it takes a lot of time and effort to produce it.
Well known champagne brands are Taittinger, Bollinger, Veuve, Louis Roederer, Krug and of course Moët & Chandon. These bottles don’t come cheap and would cost over €40,- per bottle.
Every other sparkling wine that does not originate from the Champagne region, are categorised as Cremant. Often named after the region the Cremant comes from (Cremant de Limoux, Cremant d’Alsace, Cremant de Bourgogne, etc.), these wines also reflect the distinctive flavours of where the originate from. In contrast to champagne there are no restrictions to the use of grape varieties.
This sparkling wine from Spain is known to be called “The Spanish champagne”, because Cava is produced in the same manner as champagne. The three most important grape varieties that are used to produce Cava are Parelleda, Xarello and Macabeo.
This Italian bubbly has gained immensely in popularity over the last few years. Made from the grape Glera (mostly indicated as the Prosecco grape), most Prosecco-wines are made via the Charmat method. The flavour of Prosecco is significantly different compared to champagne. Where champagne has more character and flavour, Prosecco is usually more young, fruity and vibrant.
The German version of sparkling wine named Sekt, is often made of Riesling and other local grape varieties. Sekt is usually made via the Charmat method. However, a small portion of the Sekt production is made via the original champagne method, the “method traditionelle”.