Sparkling Wines: Types, Production, and Taste

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Sparkling wine is normally enjoyed during holidays or when celebrating a special occasion. This is a type of wine that is carbonated and that usually takes on the name of the specific region or country it originated from. The two methods that can be used to induce carbonation in sparkling wine are the Champagne method and the Charmat-Martinotti method. The first way is the traditional and the most well-known method of producing sparkling wine. This may explain the popularity of Champagne gifts when any kind of celebration takes place. There are, however, other types of sparkling wines like Cava and Prosecco.

Manufacturing Process

There are strict regulations when it comes to producing each type of sparkling wine. Only wine made in the Champagne region of France can be called as such. The wine is created by blending still wine, other types of wine, sugar, and yeast. It is then bottled and sealed. Secondary fermentation occurs inside the bottle, and this process may take up to six weeks. The bottle is then rotated over several weeks or months, so the formed yeast solidifies at the bottleneck. The yeast is later disgorged, and the bottle returned to the cellar for further aging.

Similarly, Cava employs the traditional method of manufacturing. However, it takes nine months to age the wine in the bottle. It is manufactured in designated areas around northern Spain.

The production method of Prosecco differs from that of Champagne and Cava. It is produced in Italy with the use of Glera grapes. Its secondary fermentation process does not take place in individual bottles. Instead, the Charmat-Martinotti method involves aging the sparkling wine in steel, enamel-covered tanks. This gives it a fizz when bottled under pressure. The relative ease of Prosecco production contributes to the growing fame and popularity of this type of sparkling wine across the world.

Use of Grapes

Wine toast

Champagne is created with three different grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The winemaker must ensure there is minimum contact between the color-giving skin of grapes like Pinot Noir and the pre-fermented wine. In addition, only limited amounts of the grape’s juice can be used in the fermentation of Champagne.

On the other hand, Spanish grapes like Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarello are used in the production of Cava. The aforementioned Glera grape is the only type of grape used to create Prosecco.

Differences in Taste

Champagne can be served for all types of celebratory occasions. They normally have a dry and less fruity taste. Cava is a type of sparkling wine often served after dinner and eaten with Spanish sweets like turron. Prosecco is normally drunk as an aperitif before meals are served. They can also be taken with meals or with dessert. Because of the production method of this wine, it tastes younger and fruitier than those made with the traditional method.

All three types of sparkling wine serve as symbols of happiness and celebration. As such, they are commonly consumed at and gifted for wedding receptions, anniversaries, New Year’s parties, and formal events.

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