If you stand in front of the sparkling wine rack at the store and get lost among the labels, prepare to understand one more pinch before inviting them to the party. Especially this year, the pandemic left us with a dramatic increase in all products, especially wine and everything imported.
Champagne is the region in France that gives its name to this coveted sparkling wine. It was there that the bubble production system known as the Champenoise Method or Classical Method was created. It is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, and thanks to a double fermentation process, the seductive bubbles are born. Only those made in Champagne and following its strict regulations, can be called as such.
Sparkling Wines and Cremánt are produced in the rest of France. Crémant are produced in specific regions including: Loire, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, and the grapes vary according to the restrictions of each region. For example, the Chenin Blanc grape dominates in Crémant de Loire. They are, in general, more delicate and for the price of a Champagne you buy several bottles of Cremant.
If you see a bottle of sparkling wine from other places such as California, Argentina, Chile and that says Sparking Wine or Metodo Clásico on the bottle, you already know that it is made following the same method, but not necessarily with the same grapes.
Sparkling wines and the protected Cava are produced in Spain. This is made in a specific area, with the Classic Method, but with local grapes: Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada. For a reason, its aroma and flavor is different, creamier and less complex than Champagne. Keep in mind that for the price of a Champagne you can buy 2, 3 or more Cavas. If you like complexity in bubbles, a Cava Reserva or Gran Reserva will take you to that experience, without missing the Champagne.
Prosecco is light, with fruity and aromatic notes. Protected in northern Italy. It is made with the so-called Charmat or Tank Method and the grape used is
Glera. Inexpensive, but beware of the very cheap ones. The quality is confessed by the label. I like the ones in the Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene area. Still buying the best Prosecco saves half the budget of a cheap Champagne.
The “Italian Champagne” is from a protected region in Lombardy, northern Italy and is a silk on the palate. They are not so well known on this side of the world, but I always have a bottle in my house at the end of the year.
The Sekt has existed since the 1800s, but it is now that it begins to be taken at parties. It is produced in Germany with the Prosecco tank method, but with local grapes. My mother loves when I show up with a Riesling grape sekt.
Celebrate with this cold drink, in moderation and keep in mind that the cheapest ones come with a headache included. Happy New Year!