Summer is around the corner, and that means it is time to enjoy the great outdoors and the sunny weather. What better way to spend a brunching Sunday than with a glass of bubbles in your hand? Mimosas are so yesterday: it’s all about bubbles bubbles bubbles. But most establishments don’t always serve just champagne, so how will you know exactly what youre getting inside your flute glass? Here is your guide to the differences between types of bubbly.
Let’s start with the basics. Most people mistakenly think that champagne is not only the sole bubblelicious alcoholic beverage that goes in a stemmed glass, but also that they’re getting champagne when they order it, when often, they are not. In all actuality, champagne is a sparkling wine made from grapes from the Champagne region of France. There are specific processes by which the grapes are fermented a second time, sourced from within the region, pressing regiments, and vineyard practices that make Champagne unique to sparkling wines from the rest of the world. To the point that it is now illegal in some nations for sparkling wines from other regions to labeled as Champagne.
Sparkling wine is technically any wine with specific amounts of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy and bubbly. Around since the times of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, sparkling wine is often mislabeled and generalized by the term Champagne. Sparkling wine can be red, rose, or white, depending on the grapes used and effervescence present, and is made on all six continents in different countries around the world.
With its name having originally come from a village near Trieste, Italy, Prosecco is an Italian white wine of the sparkling, semi-sparling, and still varietals. Produced in nine regions in Italy, Prosecco is made almost solely from glera grapes, and is often a cheaper sparkling wine than that of champagne. An important in the Italian Spritz cocktail, Prosecco is also the primary ingredient in Bellini’s, a delicious alternative to mimosas.
There are actually three levels of Brut, a variety of sparkling wine that first appeared in France in the 1800s. All of which depend on the amount of sugar added to the sparkling wine during the second fermentation process. Brut Nature refers to sparkling wine with little to no sugar added. Extra Brut contains less than 6 grams of sugar per bottle, and Brut itself can have anywhere from 0-12 grams of sugar per bottle. Brut is often the driest of the sparkling wines.
In the past before the EU and other countries made it illegal to refer to it as such, Cava was deemed the “Spanish Champagne” for hundreds of years. Originally produced in the Catalonia region of Spain, Cava is now produced in many Spanish regions. Only Spanish sparkling wines that are created using the Champenoise method can be labeled as Cava. Cava, meaning cave, refers to the storage of sparkling wines in cellars and basements and was the official term given to these sparkling wines to distinguish them from French Champagne.
Brut, cava, sparkling wine, champagne, and prosecco. Now you know the difference between the types of bubbly and can pass on the info to friends at your next summertime gathering. Grab some flute glasses, a bottle of bubbles (aim it at the sealing), and pop that cork in celebration of life and new information learned.