There is nothing more satisfying when capping off a success than popping a bottle of bubbly, and other times it can be the perfect pick-me-up after a long and trying day.
Whatever your reason, we can all agree that a flute of sparkling wine is certainly something to cherish, but beyond being delicious, what are the similarities and differences of those major denominations we recognize and love?
From Cava to Prosecco to Champagne, here are a few things you might want to know about the world’s most prominent forms of sparkling wine.
Cava is a sparkling wine of Denominacion de Origen status, meaning that is produced exclusively in Catalonia, the northeastern region of Spain whose capital is the city of Barcelona. It may be either white or rosé, which will usually be noted as blanco or rosado on the bottle.
The most common grapes to be found in Cava tend to be Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarello, though you may also find Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. In the Cava Rosado a mixture of still red wines is added for colouring and taste, these grapes tend to be Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell.
Similar to Champagne, Cava is produced at different levels of sweetness—the sweetest being dolsec, and the driest being brut nature.
By far the most famous, and traditionally considered the premiere sparkling wine, Champagne is produced exclusively in the Champagne region of France. This historic province is located in the northeast of the country, and was founded in 1065.
While he didn’t quite invent Champagne, which is thought to have been done in the Abbey of St Hilaire, the region’s famed Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon contributed significantly in the 17th century to refining the process of production and the quality of Champagne.
This iconic sparkling wine must be produced using white Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier, the darker grapes producing a white colour through the removal of skins and a gentle pressing. As mentioned above, the dry to sweet scale of Champagne follows a similar scale to Cava, ranging between Extra Brut and Doux.
The sparkling wine Prosecco comes from a third giant country in the production of wine, Italy, and is probably the oldest of the different types mentioned. Prosecco’s beginnings date back to when the Romans used the Glera grape which grew near the village of Prosecco.
Today DOC Prosecco is produced exclusively in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, outside the northeastern city of Treviso. Historically Prosecco tends to be a relatively sweet wine, and to this day the main grape used in production is still Glera.
In terms of sweetness, the scale of measure of Prosecco are labeled Brut, Extra Dry, or Dry, and on a whole they will usually be a bit sweeter than their Champagne and Cava counterparts.
Whatever bottle of sparkling wine you decide to pop for you celebration, be sure to serve it at its optimal temperature of 7˚C or 45˚F.
Image by FlackJacket2010 used under Creative Commons License.