No special occasion would be complete without a little bubbly but finding the perfect one is an occasion all its own. When it comes to the perfect fizz, you’ve got quite a myriad of choices: Champagne from France, Prosecco wine from Italy, Cava from Spain, and a few lesser-known, but equally-delicious options.
Sparkling wine comes in a variety of grades, so-named according to the dryness or sweetness of the product. From driest to sweetest, the scale includes: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-sec, and Doux.
But how can you tell your Champagne from your sparkling wine? It all comes down to location – for while Champagne is a sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine is Champagne. For a bottle to be bestowed with the word Champagne it has to originate from the Champagne region of France, an area renowned for its cool, wet climate and mineral-rich soil – which is vital to its production. Primarily coming from just three grapes - chardonney, pinot noir and pinot meunier - the fruit used in Champagne production are considered far superior thanks to the climate and soil they’re grown in, which delivers the perfect mineral-rich, acidic grapes needed for the drink.
The second important factor for true Champagne is that it must be produced using the Methode Champenoise, or Traditional Method. With this, the liquid goes through a second fermentation process once it’s inside the bottle – which is what adds all of those bubbles to your tipple. Of course, sparkling wines can also use this method – and many do – but unless those grapes are picked from the Champagne region it can never be more than sparkling wine.