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Sparkling wines: What's the difference between champagne, prosecco and cava?


Traditional method: Base wines --> add sugar/yeast --> second fermentation in bottles --> bottle aging --> riddling (makes wine crisp/clear) --> disgorgement (freeze and remove lees) --> bottle and cork

Tank method: Base wines --> add sugar/yeast --> second fermentation in bottles --> clarification and cooling in tanks --> bottle and cork

Celebrations are made for bubbly. Champagne has always been a staple at weddings and milestone celebrations. That pop of a cork is bound to start a party. Today there are many choices that have similar taste, but what is the difference between champagne, prosecco, cava, and other sparkling wines?

Champagne is made north of Paris in the Champagne region using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne is made with a traditional method while prosecco and other sparkling wines are often made with a tank method.

Le Grand Courtâge Grande Cuvée Blanc de Blancs Brut – Cost $25

While this wine is made in the traditional method of Champagne, it is not called champagne because it is not made in the Champagne region in France.

The aroma of this wine includes Granny Smith apples, honeysuckle, strawberry, and toasted brioche. It has a great balance of fruit, acidity and sweetness with a crisp and refreshing finish.

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Peoma Metodo Tradicional CAVA – Cost $14

Cava is the Spanish version of champagne and is closer to champagne than prosecco because it is made in the traditional method. If you are looking for value, you will find cava is a great alternative to champagne. Macabeu is the primary grape used in making cava along with Xarello and Paralleda.

Spring flowers and green apples aromas help the flavors of tangy fruit. This is an excellent choice at a great price.

Chandon California Extra Dry Riche – Cost $20

For those that might like a sweeter sparkling, this would be a great choice. While the label on the front says extra dry, it is a bit deceiving. The back label has a sweetness meter of 7 out of 10. A lesson learned was read the back label as well.

Flavors of pear and apple with a sweet finish.

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Lamarca Prosecco – Cost $14.99

This wine is produced from 100 percent Glera grapes and utilizes the tank method for production. The flavor is fresh and clean with ripe citrus, lemon, green apple and touches of grapefruit. The finish is light, refreshing and crisp.

Wine Spectator has awarded this 90 points.

Molly Dooker Miss Molly Sparkling Shiraz – Cost $26.99

This is an excellent sparkling wine and different from those above because it is a red sparkling. This wine is made in the Adelaide Hills of Australia.

The focus is of red berries with layers of complexity, chocolate, cream and spice with great tannins and a soft gentle sparkling finish. The secondary fermentation was done in the tank method.

These style of wines pair well with savory hors d'oeuvres, creamy pasta, seafood, spicy dishes, or soft cheeses.

Don't wait for that special occasion, try some sparkling wines this summer and enjoy. Cheers!