Champagne, Cava, Prosecco… What’s the difference???
Grape varieties, price, taste, and the region of origin are key, but the method of production is just as defining.
France’s Champagne is usually made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Crafted using a lengthy and labor-intensive method, the wine goes through 2 fermentations, the 2nd one occurring right in the bottle that ends up on the store’s shelf (magnums and other sizes excepted). This creates exquisite bubbles and yeasty, “brioche” notes. Budget-friendly alternatives? Crémants, made in Champagne’s image, come from France’s other wine regions using local grapes. Spain’s Cava, usually crafted in the same style but using indigenous grapes is also super yummy! Trick: If you like the Champagne style of sparkling wine, look for “Méthode Champenoise”, “Méthode Traditionelle”, “Traditional Method” or “Classic Method” on the label!
Italy’s Prosecco (made mostly with the Glera varietal), is made in a faster and more cost effective way using the Charmat method (a.k.a. Tank or Cuvée Close), where the second fermentation occurs in a large tank before the wine is bottled. This results in a more aromatic, crisp and light sparkling wine with frothy bubbles made for immediate enjoyment.
Always check the Shelf Ticket for sweetness levels!
Article published in the Parliament Street News Summer issue