There are many varieties of sparkling wine, but the four that you’re most likely to find at the store or on a menu are Champagne, American-produced sparkling wine, Cava, and Prosecco.
Champagne, is produced in the Champagne region of France, under strict specifications that guide everything from the fermentation process to the labels on the bottles. Champagne is made from Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes, and can be either rose or white. Its bubbles are small and bright, providing a refined texture.
Did you know? French sparkling wine that is made outside of the Champagne region, is known as Crémant.
Mousseux refers to sparkling wines made in France that do not use the method for secondary fermentation. One thing to look for when you’re drinking Champagne is the “collerette,” or trains of bubbles up the side of the glass; this can be a mark of a good-quality bottle. By far the best way to go if you’re having a high profile wedding and really want to impress your guests.
American-produced sparkling wine can be made in any of these styles, but the most common, and best quality, is produced in the traditional style of Champagne. Brands like Chandon use the same tradiditional method as Champagne in order to make their bubbles; this method creates small, persistent bubbles that add to the quality of the vintage. Mumm Napa also produces several varieties that are very tasty and also come with attractive labeling to match color schemes (Black, Blue and Pink) at your wedding.
Cava is Spain’s version of Champagne; it’s made using the same traditional method, but uses different grapes, including macabeu, parellada, and xarello. Cava comes mainly from the Catalonia region, where they speak Catalan. Similar to Champagne, the bubbles are small and lively, and the fizzing should continue throughout the life of the glass. Cava’s are available as either roses or whites, with a wide range of sweetness’s. This is a good less expensive alternative if your wedding budget does not allow for real Champagne.
Prosecco is different than Champagne and Cava in the production process, which uses the tank method rather than fermenting in individual bottles. This creates less pressure and leads to larger bubbles. It’s also cheaper, meaning Prosecco is more typically than not, less expensive than French Champagne. Prosecco is produced all over Italy, its origins are traced back near Trieste, where it’s been produced since before the sixteenth century. Glera, the grape used for this variety, has also recently been cultivated in South America and Australia. Italians have fought hard for the name to be limited to those wines produced in Italy. Prosecco is best consumed as a young wine; after a few years, it loses its freshness and will become stale. Prosecco offers a very good value in comparison to Champagne and is very popular at Italian Weddings.