Most of us have had sparkling wine before, usually a bottle of Champagne around the holidays or to commemorate a particular event. But sparkling wine isn’t only Champagne and even if it were, it has a wide range of styles. So, besides bubbles, what separates Champagne and other types of sparkling wines? And how do they get their bubbles in the first place?
What’s Considered Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wine is a carbonated wine produced from either white or red grapes. While white sparkling wines are the most prevalent on the market, sparkling rosé and, to a lesser extent, red wines are also easy to find.
These types of wines range in sweetness from dry to sweet and express a variety of tastes according to the grape used, the climate in which they were produced, and the winemaking process employed. From Adelaide Hills sparkling to Champagne directly imported from France, there is a wide range of bubbles wine you can order online and enjoy over a night with friends.
Different Styles of Sparkling Wine
In order to select your favourite variety of bubbly, it’s important to get the rundown on the who, what, where, and why with a small beginners guide to wine types and the many varieties of the sparkling kind.
It’s only fair to begin with the most well-known sort of bubbles wine, Campagne. Champagne is a fairly distinctive wine variety and is considered to be the gold standard of all sparkling wines. To be classed as such, the wine must be made in the Champagne region in northern France and fulfil the area’s winemaking regulations.
Champagne invented the word “méthode Champenoise” to describe the distinctive manufacturing process. It follows the same procedure as the old technique. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier are commonly used to make wines. If you see a bottle labelled “blanc de blancs,” it signifies a wine that is entirely made of Chardonnay. A bottle labelled “blanc de noir” contains Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.
Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine made from Prosecco or Glera grapes. To be termed Prosecco, the wine must be made in northeast Italy, usually the Veneto area, according to the European Union regulations. This wine is often made using the Charmat technique to produce a young and clear wine.
Any vineyard that uses at least 85 per cent Glera grapes may label their wine Prosecco. Prosecco comes in two varieties. Some bottles are branded “spumante,” which implies they are extremely carbonated, while others are labelled “frizzante,” which means they have significantly fewer bubbles. The decision on which one to buy is entirely based on your own vino-drinking preferences.
Cava is a delicious sparkling wine from Spain. Cava is most similar to Champagne in terms of flavour and manufacturing, with the main distinction being the grapes. Its name constraints necessitate that it be constructed in a customary manner. It is often a white or rosé mix created using the Macabeu grape. Cava Rosé is made by blending Spanish Garnacha with Macabeu for a richer, fruitier flavour.
About 95 per cent of all Cava is made in the Penedès region of Catalonia, Spain, but there are some popular Rioja bottles as well. Cava is a popular drink in Catalan and Spanish family customs, and it goes well with a range of dishes such as tapas, shellfish, and even sushi. The flavour profile varies, but it often has a stronger bitter taste than Prosecco, but not as nutty as Champagne.
Another well-known Italian sparkling wine is Moscato d’Asti, which is native to Piedmont in the northwest. Asti is often lower in alcohol content (less than half of that of Champagne), isn’t full-blown bubbly and has a fruity flavour.
It’s manufactured in an unusual way: rather than developing fizz through secondary fermentation, primary fermentation occurs in a pressurized vat that may be shut near the end of fermentation, keeping carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released. The wine is noted for its peachy notes, and its gentle sweetness makes it ideal for mixing with desserts like cookies or cheesecake.
Lambrusco is the name of both the grape and the wine produced largely in the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy. There are around 60 sub-varieties of the grape, each of which adds its distinct flavour to the final wine. Lambrusco is likely best known for its red sparkling, although it is also available in white and rosé varieties.
Most are manufactured in tanks, similar to Prosecco, although some producers prefer the old process for higher quality wine. Lambrusco can be dry with a delightful bitter tinge or sweet, however, labelling does not necessarily indicate this. Sweeter varieties are great as pre or post-meal snacks or paired with dark chocolate desserts. A dry Lambrusco pairs particularly well with a meaty ragu.
Other Regions: Australia, New Zealand, United States
Several sparkling wines do not fall into one of these European categories. Among the most popular sparkling regions are the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. Because these countries lack the strict production regulations of sparkling wines, you can find a wider range of flavours, textures, and styles of bottles. Allowing yourself to try something new with each purchase is the best way to discover what you appreciate. With that being said, don’t be afraid to try out some local australian sparkling wine.
What is the Right Way of Opening a Bottle of Bubbly
Now, that you know more about bubbles wine and its varieties, you can start popping corks! Most of these wines have a metal wire or cage over it, to keep the cork tight against the pressure in the bottle. Begin by untwisting the bottom of the cage, but do not entirely remove it.
Put one hand over the top of the cork (and cage) and press down firmly while turning the bottle gently with the other. The cork will weaken, and the carbonation pressure will begin to drive it out. Keeping your cool, carefully remove the cork until the pressure dissipates with a sigh.