Know Your Bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco and Cava

There’s nothing like a light and bubbly glass of sparkling wine to liven up a party. But do you really know about the difference between champagne, prosecco and cava? These drinks look and taste similar, but there are quite a few important differences between them.

What are the Differences Between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco?

The name Champagne can only be applied to sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France, and these wines are made with Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes.

Prosecco is made in Italy in the Veneto region and produced from Glera grapes. The name “Prosecco” comes from the grape that is used to make this bubbly wine.

And Cava is a sparkling wine from Catalonia in Spain, and it is made from Parellada, Xarello and Macabeu grapes.

The reason Champagne is so much more expensive than Prosecco is because it is produced using a very costly method known as the “Traditional Method.” The key to this is a second fermentation that occurs in a sealed bottle which creates carbonation. After the fermentation process, the Champagne continues to age in the cool cellar for years, which results in a very yeasty, toasty flavour.

Prosecco is more affordable because it is produced using a method known as “The Tank Method,” and the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks.

The production of Cava is modelled after the production of Champagne in France, although it cannot be called Champagne because it is not produced in the Champagne region. Cava is one of the most similar wines to Champagne outside of France.


Which is the best choice?

The best choice from among these sparkling wines really depends on the style of the occasion. Most people prefer a slightly dry style of wine, so a Prosecco or a demi-sec Champagne will do the trick.

However, if you are having the drink without food you might want to choose a sweeter style. Try a few different varieties and you’ll start to get an idea of the flavour that you prefer.


Serving These Sparkling Wines

While Champagne is a great choice for all occasions, Cava is usually served after dinner and pairs very well with Spanish sweets such as turron. Prosecco is ideal for enjoying as an aperitif and it is also nice to drink during meals or with dessert. Both Cava and Prosecco are best enjoyed when they are less than three years old.

They should all be served chilled in an ice bucket that is filled with water and ice and left to cool for about half an hour. Serve in a tall Champagne flute and toast to the occasion!