I never realized there were so many names for sparkling wine or Champs (as the RHOC say). Each bubbly begins with three ingredients-yeast, sugar, and wine, but they're made in different countries of the world and with different methods. The taste is altered by those two factors. The price of a bottle can range from $10 to in the three digits. Bubbly can be very dry (brut), to mildly sweet (demi-sec) to very sweet (doux).They can range from light and delicate to rich and full-flavored.
The best way to chill a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne is of course in the fridge on its side for a few hours. You can also place in in a bucket of ice water for 15 to 30 minutes. Don't put it in the freezer because it will deflate the bubbles. Here are the types of sparkling wine I want to share, each with examples of what to purchase.
The classic example of sparkling wine is champagne, which is exclusively made in the Champagne region in France. Only sparkling wines that have come from that region, been made through the tradition method called method champenoise, and produced following the strict guidelines of the Champagne AOC can be called Champagne.
The name Prosecco is derived from an Italian village near the town of Trieste. This Italian sparkling wine is less expensive to produce since it is not fermented in the bottle like Champagne. The method by which this sparkling wine is made is Charmat-Martinotti, where the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. One thing notable is that Prosecco is the main ingredient of the Bellini cocktail making it an affordable option than Champagne.
Sounds like an expensive bottle of sparkling wine doesn't it! But don't be fooled! This is a sparkling wine made in the Alsace region of France. It's made the by the same method as Champagne, but doesn't conserve itself as long as Champagne does. It is less expensive and therefore a close incontestable leader of the French sparkling wines.
Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain mostly produced in Catalonia. It may be white or rosé and is made by the same method as Champagne and Crémant.
Many varieties of sparkling wine are produced in the United States. Other countries produce sparkling wine such as Espumante in Portugal and Cap Classique in South Africa. Hungary and the United Kingdom have begun producing it also. These are California producers.
We enjoy Gloria Ferrer when in Sonoma, Domaine Carneros in Napa, and when in Albuquerque we love Gruet. Find what you love, but don't be afraid to try something different! You may be pleasantly surprised!