One of the most popular and beloved alcoholic beverages worldwide is undoubtedly sparkling wine. Known for its effervescence, delicate bubbles and celebratory spirit, this legendary drink remains a staple at weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. While champagne is perhaps the most well-known type of sparkling wine, several other styles and varieties are equally impressive and deserve recognition. From the crisp, citrusy flavours of Prosecco to the rich, creamy texture of Cava, a wide range of sparkling wines are available to suit every palate and preference. Whether you are a seasoned sommelier or a casual wine drinker, there is something out there for everyone to enjoy – and it is our pleasure to introduce you to some of the most legendary sparkling wines on the market today.
Several sparkling wines have gained international recognition and are a must-try for any wine lover. Different types of sparkling wines can be white, rosé, or red.
First on the list is Champagne, the most famous and prestigious sparkling wine, produced in the Champagne region of France using the traditional method.
Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, is also gaining popularity. It is produced in the traditional method but with different grape varieties, resulting in a slightly different flavour profile.
Prosecco, the popular Italian sparkling wine, is another must-try. It is produced using the Charmat method, which gives it a lighter and fruitier taste.
Other lesser-known but equally delicious sparkling wines include Crémant from France, Sekt from Germany, and Lambrusco from Italy.
No matter which you choose, serve it chilled and sip it slowly to fully appreciate the bubbles and flavours.
Sparkling White Wines
AKA: Blanc de Blanc – Blanc de Noir – Cava – Champagne – Sparkling Moscato – Sparkling wine – California sparkling wine – Sparkling riesling – Crémant – Prosecco – Spumante – Franciacorta – Vinho Verde
European countries such as France (Champagne, Crémant), Italy (Prosecco), Germany (Sekt), and Spain (Cava) have trademarked names for their sparkling wines, whereas most of the new world wine producers do not. They call their wines “Sparkling” and their location such as California, New York, Australia, Chile, Argentina etc.
Sparkling white wines are a type of wine that contain bubbles and are typically associated with celebration and special occasions. They are made by adding carbon dioxide to the wine through a secondary fermentation process, creating bubbles. Sparkling white wines can vary in style and flavour, but they are commonly known for their crisp acidity and citrus, green apple, and pear notes. Some popular varieties of sparkling white wines include Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and American sparkling wines. These wines can be made by the traditional Champagne method or several different techniques such as the Charmat or tank method, the transfer method or simply by adding carbon dioxide with machine carbonation. The longer a wine is left on its lees (dead yeast cells), the more toasty and bready the taste becomes and the finer the bubbles appear in the wine. They are often served chilled and paired with appetizers, seafood, or desserts. Sparkling white wines are versatile and enjoyable for many occasions, from formal events to casual gatherings.
Sparkling white wines are best served chilled between 4°-10C/40-50°F.
This temperature range helps preserve the wine’s effervescence and freshness while limiting its sweetness.
Cava is a sparkling wine that originates from Catalonia, Spain typically consumed as an aperitif or during celebrations. It is made using the traditional method, similar to Champagne. Cava’s most commonly used grapes are macabeu, parellada, and xarel·lo, contributing to its distinct citrus, apple, and fresh bread flavours. However, chardonnay and pinot noir can also be used. The wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, resulting in its characteristic bubbles. Cava can be found in brut, extra brut, and brut nature styles, which indicate the wine’s sweetness level. Cava is an affordable alternative to Champagne and is often used on celebratory occasions or as an everyday sparkling wine. Cava can be enjoyed on its own or paired with light appetizers, seafood, or fresh fruit. Spanish Cava is a refreshing sparkling wine with ample and bright scents of citrus and apples. This is a versatile beverage which perfectly enhances the flavours of meat, fish and pasta as well.
The ideal temperature to serve cava is between 8-10°C/46-50°F. This temperature range helps to release refreshing and crisp flavours while preventing excessive alcohol content. To fully appreciate the unique flavours and aromas of cava, serving it at the right temperature is recommended.
For those who want to avoid guesswork or temperature-checking, store cava in a refrigerator between 4-7°C/40-45°F and allow it to sit out for a few minutes before serving.
Champagne / Rosé Champagne
Notes: To be called Champagne, the wine must be from the Champagne region of France
Champagne is a sparkling wine explicitly made in France’s Champagne region. It is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, which are fermented in the bottle. Champagne is known for its bubbly effervescence and is often associated with celebrations and special occasions. The process of creating Champagne is rigorous, and only wine that meets specific requirements can be labelled as Champagne. It is typically enjoyed in flute glasses, and the bubbles and taste provide a unique sensory experience. Champagne can range in sweetness from very dry to very sweet, and many different brands and variations are available on the market. Although Champagne can be expensive, it remains popular for celebrations and special occasions. It can taste and smell fruity or floral. This thing can taste and smell floral or fruity. It’s a little complex but usually has toasted citrus and apple flavours. It goes well with any meal.
The optimal serving temperature for champagne is around 7-10°C/45-50°F.
The serving temperature of champagne is a crucial factor that can enhance or detract from the overall enjoyment of the wine. This temperature allows for the delicate aromas and flavours of the champagne to be fully expressed while ensuring the bubbles are lively and refreshing.
Crémant wines are typically made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes but may also include other grapes such as Chenin Blanc Gamay or Riesling.
Crémant can be produced in several different French regions, including Burgundy, Alsace, Loire Valley, and Bordeaux. Each region has its own regulations and grape varieties, but all must adhere to strict standards of production and aging.
Crémant is a type of sparkling wine made in France using the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle, giving the wine its characteristic bubbles. While Champagne is undoubtedly the most famous type of French sparkling wine, Crémant is a worthy alternative offering high quality and affordability. They provide a similar level of elegance and finesse but at a fraction of the price. The resulting wines are often crisp, dry, and refreshing, with plenty of bright fruit flavours and fine, persistent bubbles. Crémant is a fantastic option for those who love sparkling wine but want to explore lesser-known regions and styles.
The ideal serving temperature for Crémant is between 7-9°C/44-48°F. This temperature range helps preserve the wine’s delicate flavours and aromas while providing a refreshing and crisp drinking experience.
AKA: Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene – Prosecco di Conegliano – Prosecco di Valdobbiadene – Cartizz – Glera
Proseccos, a lightly fruity white sparkling wine originating from Italy, differ in sweetness, but they all feature light citrus and floral flavours and coarse bubbles.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine hailing from the Veneto region of Italy. It is mainly produced using the Glera grape variety but may also include other varieties such as Verdiso and Perera. Prosecco has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its fresh and fruity taste and affordability.
Prosecco is typically characterized by its aromas of green apple, citrus, and floral notes. It is also known for its delicate bubbles, achieved through a secondary fermentation process in stainless steel tanks. Prosecco can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif or paired with various foods such as seafood, salads, and light desserts. With its fresh cleansing qualities, Prosecco is a fine wine to have at the beginning of the party.
It is important to note that Prosecco should be served chilled, ideally between 5-8°C/42-46°F. Additionally, Prosecco is sensitive to oxidation and should be consumed within a year or two of production to ensure optimal flavour.
The ideal serving temperature for Prosecco is between 4-7°C/40-45°F. This ensures that the wine retains its crispness and effervescence.
Sparkling rosé offers a subtle sweetness with a refreshing finish. Made from grapes such as Grenache, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir, they are perfect for summer barbecues or a welcome drink.
Sparkling rosés are a twist on traditional sparkling wines that offer unique flavours and aromas. They are perfect for those who want to explore beyond the classic Champagne or Prosecco. The bubbles in the wine are created through a secondary fermentation process, giving it a lively and sparkling quality. Their fruity, floral notes and light body make them the ideal companion for a sunny day in the park or a lazy afternoon on the porch. Sparkling rosé is a type of wine that combines the flavours and characteristics of rosé wine with the unique effervescence of sparkling wine. Its refreshing taste and elegant appearance have gained popularity recently, making it a popular choice for special occasions and celebrations. Rosé sparkling wine can vary in sweetness levels, from bone-dry to semi-sweet.
A sparkling rosé should be served chilled, ideally between 7-10°C/45-50°F.
This temperature range ensures that the wine maintains its effervescence and freshness while allowing its aromatic and flavour profile to shine through.
Sekt is a type of sparkling wine made from various grape varieties. The colour of Sekt can vary, and it can be made as white, rosé, or even red wine.
Most Sekt is white, made from grapes like Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, or Chardonnay. However, it is also possible to find rosé Sekts made from red grape varieties like Pinot Noir or Zweigelt. Red Sekt is less common but can be produced from grapes like Pinot Noir or Dornfelder.
Sekt wine is a sparkling wine that originated in Germany. It is mainly produced in Germany and Austria, although other countries also produce it. It is made using the same method as champagne but with different grape varieties. The wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which creates bubbles and gives it its effervescence.
Sekt wine is known for its crisp and refreshing taste with fruity flavours. It can range from dry to sweet, depending on the style and the amount of residual sugar. Sekt is often enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with light meals, seafood, or desserts.
Sekt is best served chilled between 6-8°C/42-46°F. Serving it at the ideal temperature ensures the wine remains crisp and refreshing while enhancing its flavour and aroma.
Sparkling red is a unique type of wine that combines the effervescence of sparkling wine with the rich flavours of red wine. This process is called fermentation. Sparkling red wine still tastes like red wine, but with the added bubbles, it feels exciting on your tongue. The process of making sparkling red wine can be done in different ways, such as the traditional method (used for Champagne) or the Charmat method (used for many sparkling wines). Overall, sparkling red wine is a delightful and distinct variation that adds excitement to the drinking experience.
Sparkling red wines are often served chilled, around 7-10°C/46-50°F, to help balance the carbonation and fruit flavours of the wine.
Lambrusco wines are usually made from the Lambrusco grape variety, cultivated in the region of Emilia-Romagna for centuries, including Lambrusco Grossa, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Maestri, and Lambrusco Salamino.
Lambrusco is a type of sparkling red wine originating from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It is known for its effervescence, fruity flavours, and slightly sweet taste. Most Lambruscos are light in body, with a medium to high acidity and a low tannin content. They have a fruity, floral aroma and a sweet, tangy flavour.
This wine is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed on its own or paired with various foods. Its refreshing bubbles and fruity notes make it a great choice to accompany charcuterie, pizza, pasta, and grilled meats. The slight sweetness of Lambrusco also pairs well with spicy dishes, as it helps to balance the heat.
While Lambrusco serving temperature can vary depending on personal preference, it is generally recommended to serve it at a temperature of around 8-10°C/46-50°F.
This allows the wine to retain its crispness and acidity while showcasing its fruity flavours.
The classic wine categories include sparkling, white (light, medium and full-bodied), rosé, red (light, medium and full-bodied) and dessert wine.
Sparkling wine is known for its effervescence, with carbon dioxide bubbles naturally forming during fermentation. White (light, medium and full-bodied) wine is usually produced from lighter-coloured grapes with a lighter body and a more delicate flavour. Rosé wine is a pink-coloured wine made from red grapes with a refreshing taste and versatile food pairings. Red (light, medium and full-bodied) wine is typically made from dark-coloured grapes, giving it a deeper colour and bold flavour profile. Dessert wine is a type of wine that is sweet and often served after a meal or paired with desserts.
These classic wine categories are the foundation of the wine industry and the starting point for exploring the many variations and complexities within each category.
This article is part of “How to plan an unforgettable wine & cheese party”
These tips are from my own experience;
I’m neither a party organizer, a sommelier, nor a turophile (a cheese connoisseur).
I just love cheese, wine and spending time with family and friends.
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to host a wine and cheese party with a handful of close friends.
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