The one thing you need to know about Champagne: everyone loves it. There is something about the bubbles, elegant glasses and its pale amber colour that makes you feel festive and celebratory.
“Come quickly, I am tasting stars!” We can all relate to Dom Perignon’s first rendezvous with Champagne. Who does not love to hear that pop of the cork and see bubbles fizzing up in elegant flutes? Drinking Champagne symbolizes celebration, party, good times, relaxation and letting your hair down. But when it comes to bubbly, is Champagne really the best of the best, or is there some other sparkling wine that can compete?
A sparkling wine should only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France. We should think of Champagne in terms of a geographical region as opposed to a wine-making style.
You need to know that all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.
Champagne can only be made from grapes grown in an area of approximately 34 thousand hectares about 150km to the east of Paris. Also, it can only be grown in the Champagne region of France. It is made with the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne must be made in the Methode Traditionelle, which requires that the wine’s secondary fermentation occurs in the same bottle it will be served from.
When it comes to sparkling wines, the most popular options out there that aren’t Champagne include Cava, Prosecco and Cremant. The easiest way to tell between these wines is usually their price, as Champagne is almost always more expensive. However that is not the only difference.
Prosecco comes from the Veneto region in the Northeastern part of Italy. It is produced primarily from the Prosecco or Glera grape. Its secondary fermentation takes place in a stainless steel tank, and this process is known as the Charmat method.
Cava is a sparkling wine which comes from Spain and is predominantly produced in the Catalonia region. It is made with the Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes which are Spain’s native. It is produced in the Champenoise Traditional Method, just like Chapmagne.
Cremant is a French sparkling wine produced in the Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Jura, Limoux and Loire regions. It is made with a wider range of grapes other sparkling wines do not include, such as: Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling. It is made using the similar method as Champagne, but is less effervescent than “fully sparkling” Champagne.
So there it is. Go on and toast with a glass of whatever bubbly you are celebrating today with. You will find happiness in every bubble.