Finding the perfect sparkling wine to fit everyone’s tastes (or even just your own) can be difficult. We wanted to help by creating a quick reference guide below to help you find the perfect bottle. If you still have more questions stop by Bremer’s Wine and Liquor and we’ll help you find just what you’re looking for.
Dry to Sweet
Natural >> Extra Brut >> Prosecco >> Brut >> Extra Dry >> Blush >> Cold Duck >> Asti >> Sparkling Moscato
In case you want to learn a little more about each type of sparkling wine, we’ve compiled some more info below.
- Comes from the Champagne Region of France (90 miles northeast of Paris)
- Made by the traditional method – a secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. Co2 is trapped inside and becomes Champagne’s bubbles.
- True champagne may only be made from 3 grapes – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier
- Champagnes are given their sweetness by being topped of with a sweetened reserve wine known as a dosage. The number of grams in this dosage will determine the category of champagne made.
- Types of champagne from sweet to dry – Sweet >> Demi-Sec >> Sec >> Extra Dry >> Brut >> Extra Brut >> Brut Nature
- All champagnes are blends of different still wines
- “Blanc de blancs” champagnes are made entirely from chardonnay grapes
- “Blanc de noirs” champagnes are made entirely from red grapes
- Rosé champagnes can be made 1 of 2 ways, by letting the wine sit in Pinot Noir skins or by adding a bit of still Pinot Noir before the second fermentation.
“Champagne” Sparkling Wines
- Sparkling wines made anywhere except the Champagne region of France
- Most are made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
- The levels of sweetness (unlike Champagne) are not regulated by law, however most top producers follow the European standards
- Higher end sparkling wines are made by the traditional method, however there are many inexpensive sparkling wines that are made in large tanks with less expensive methods
- Made principally from glera grapes (sometimes including small amounts of pinot bianco, pinot grigio or verdiso)
- Most are fully sparkling and dry (brut) with a simple fruity flavor and a bitter edge
- Made by the Charmat or tank method – undergoes the second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than bottles
- Formerly known as “Asti Spumante” (the word Spumante means foaming)
- Aromatic, semi-sweet sparkling wine
- Made from Moscato grapes grown in Piedmont, especially the area surrounding the towns of Asti and Alba
- A light alcohol wine, they are typically on 7-9 percent alcohol
- Most Asti is made by the Charmat or tank method – grapes are crushed then put in large vats and chilled to near freezing to prevent fermentation. The wine is then fermented in batches as needed.
- Generally made in tiny batches by small Poedmontese producers
- Delicate, lightly sweet and fruity
- Low in alcohol – no more than 5.5 percent by law
- Less effervescent than asti – it is considered “just a bit frizzante” (fizzy)
- Sparkling wine made in Spain – 95% coming from the Penedès region
- Must be made by the same process as Champagne (with a second fermentation in bottle) – the term “Método Tradicional” on the label will indicate it was made using this method
- Rosé cavas tend to be fuller-bodied than whites
- Follows the same sweetness categories as champagne – Sweet >> Demi-Sec >> Sec >> Extra Dry >> Brut >> Extra Brut >> Brut Nature
- By law Cava must be made from one or more of the following grape varieties: Parellada, Xarello, Macebeo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Subirat and Trepat
- Different from Champagne, Cava is seen as an everyman’s every-night beverage rather than a celebratory one