There’s no doubt that a bottle of bubbly is the perfect go-to-libation to celebrate New Year. But how do you choose the right sparkling wine for your festivities? Probably the biggest factors are taste and budget. If budget is no object, Champagnes like Krug, Dom Perignon and Cristal come to mind. It’s rare to find a bottle of champagne for under $50.
Champagne is the name given to sparkling wines produced in the French region of Champagne. The name “champagne” is protected by law and can only be used by winemakers from that region. But Italy and Spain offer delicious (and less expensive) alternatives with their respective prosecco and cava. You can pick up a great prosecco or cave for under $20.
But what’s the difference between these three sparkling wines?
The major difference is in the process of fermentation (the “bubble making process”). Champagne goes through a second fermentation in a sealed bottle. For prosecco and cava, the second fermentation is done in a large vat, also known as the Charmat method. The three wines are also made from different grape varietals: Champagne from chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes; cava from macabeo, parellada and xarel-lo grapes and prosecco from glera grapes.
Each wine has different amounts of fizz, either frizzante or spumante. The easiest way to determine how much fizz your bubbly will have is to simply compare the corks. If the cork has a string attached to it, you’ll have light fizz (frizzante) and if you notice a wire – traditional for Champagne – then you’ll have heavy fizz (spumante).
And in general as far as taste, Champagne is rich and complex, while cava and prosecco are lighter and slightly fruitier. And the absolute best way to determine what you like is to just taste and that’s easy to do this week, as many of our local wine shops are hosting tastings. Here are two you won’t want to miss:
Sat, Dec 27th – Arrow Wine Tasting – 11am – 5pm
11am – 5pm – either store, casual drop in tasting, nominal cost per taste
Sun, Dec 29th – Dorothy Lane Market 4-6pm
For more wine events, be sure and check our MostMetro.com wine calendar.