Prosecco, Champagne Or Cava: Bubbly Explained

Nov 9, 2016

Bubbly. Heaven in a glass. All of the many types of sparkling wine. However you describe it—prosecco vs champagne vs cava—we can all agree that they are all delicious, special and so SO good when they hits your lips. It’s a widely consumed treat all around the world; in fact, Vincent Perrin, the managing director of the Comite Champagne (the trade association you have probably never heard of that represents the interests of independent champagne producers) said he believes “export sales [of champagne] will continue to grow, and will overtake French sales by the end 2015.” Which means that people all around the globe are indulging in a glass or two. But what exactly is it that fizzy treat you’re drinking? Is there a difference between different bubbly beverages? Or are all types of sparkling wine created equal?

Whether you pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion or you sip in style just because you feel like it, it’s time you get educated about what you are drinking. You’ll definitely impress your friends, your date and that snotty bartender who expected you to order a vodka soda, and your new knowledge might just help you enjoy your bubbly of choice even more (as if that’s even possible). Here’s the deal with different types of sparkling wine — prosecco vs champagne vs cava.

  1. 1. Champagne

    Let’s start with champagne, since that’s the most well-known and most widely consumed sparkling wine. What makes champagne unique is where it comes from; appropriately, for champagne to be called champagne, it needs to come from the Champagne region of France. Duh. Beyond that, it must be made in accordance with specific guidelines. These guidelines deem that the champagne “must be made in the Méthode Traditionelle, which requires that the wine’s secondary fermentation takes place in the same bottle it will be served from.” Champagne is also made from specific varietals (grape variety used for wine production). Champagne is always made from chardonnay, pinot noir or pinot meunier grapes.

    Let’s talk about the bubbles, because not all bubbly is created equal, and not all bubbles are the same. You’ve probably seen the words “frizzante” and “spumante” around town, but what do those fancy-sounding words mean? The simple answer is that “frizzante” means less fizzy, while “spumante” means more bubbles. Where does champagne fall on this spectrum? Just look at the cork for a clue. Champagne bottles are traditionally sealed with a wire to secure the cork, which indicates that you’re about to enjoy something with a heavy fizz.

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