Sparkling wine is something that many people use to celebrate special occasions; be it enjoying the company of friends or spending time with someone special. The wines sparkly, bubbly nature ensures it’s a memorable drink, no matter what!
Sparkling wine is well suited for any special occasion you wish to commemorate, but there’s a lot more to it than just bubbles!
If you love sparkly wine and want to know more about this decadent, celebratory tipple, keep reading!
What Is Sparkling Wine?
When it comes to asking the question, what is sparkling wine? It’s easily answered by saying sparkling wines are a wine type that became well-known for a distinctly fizzy, carbonated profile. Any kind of white or red grape can make a sparkling wine. While white wines are a predominant market favourite, there are many types of red wines and rosé wines too.
Popular wines within this category include Moscato d’Asti, Prosecco, Champagne, and Crémant d’Alsace. The flavour profiles of these sparkling wines is broad, since it depends on the kind of grapes used.
Other processes that affect the flavour include where the grapevines are, what the typical climate is, and what extraction and winemaking methods are used to produce the final product. The tastes most people associate with sparkling wines will vary from incredibly dry and brut sparkling wines up to much sweeter demi-sec ones.
Where Does Sparkling Wine Come From?
Sparkling wine comes from many different countries all around the world. The most popular place of origin is in the so-called Champagne Valley, in France. Only sparkling wines produced in this region can carry the official label of champagne. This is what makes champagne so incredibly expensive.
Due to the limited amounts of champagne produced in these regions, the price per bottle reflects this scarcity.
How Is Sparkling Wine Made?
Sparkling wine goes through the standard single wine fermentation. The difference in making it carbonated is that, unlike wine, sparkling wine goes through a second fermentation process. During this, it picks up the classic bubbly, sparkly characteristics which its name reflects. There are two main methods of sparkling winemaking. The first is the méthode traditionelle and the second is the tank or charmat method.
The méthode traditionelle, or traditional method, utilises making a standard bottle of wine, and then adding yeast and sugar into it. This then ferments the sugar until it turns into alcohol – this is also what produces the CO2 that adds the bubbles to sparkling wine.
The tank/charmat method to make sparkling wines involves making standard wine and putting it through a secondary fermentation method. The wine ferments in a large stainless-steel tank and traps the carbonation process. The final product, the sparkling wine, is then bottled.
What Does Sparkling Wine Taste Like?
The taste of sparkling wine will greatly depend on where the wine is made, which grape(s) were used to make the wine, and the climate that the grape vines used to make the wine were grown in.
The most common experience and tastes include terms like creamy, fruity, light, crisp, and airy. Common fruit flavour notes include apples, plums and nectarines, vanilla, and even toast.
Is Sparkling Wine Dry Or Sweet?
For those wondering, sparkling wine can be both dry and sweet – or on either end of the spectrum of these two profiles. Sparkling wine varieties are abundant, and you can choose which would best suit your palate, food pairing, or mood.
Is There Alcohol In Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wine is a true wine that has undergone fermentation. This means that it does have a percentage of alcohol included in it, though the amount will depend on the bottle chosen. All bubbly wines will include the percentage of alcohol they have within on the label.
However, for those who don’t want the alcohol content, there are some companies that dealcoholised sparkling wines, which ensures lovers of the sparkly, bubbly profile can enjoy a glass of bubbly without worrying about any ill-effects or breaking any religious mandates.
How Do You Drink Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wine is best served chilled, for at least 30 minutes prior to consuming it to bring out the crispness. When it’s ready to serve, it’s commonly poured into, and then consumed, in a tall glass known as a champagne flute.
The elongated profile of the glass showcases all the beautifully carbonated bubbles rising. However, some people believe that this kind of structure delays the ability to taste the full flavour profile. This is why some sommeliers prefer serving sparkling wine and champagnes in standard white wine glass so patrons can sniff, swirl and sip to get the full aromatic delights and flavours.
What Food Does Sparkling Wine Pair With?
Sparkling wine is a delight of bubbles, which means pairing it with lighter, less rich meals helps to balance out the flavours without overpowering the taste of the bubbly in question. Foods like sushi, fried appetisers, shellfish, as well as raw and pickled vegetables all pair perfectly. Creamy pasta and potato chips are less common pairings, but many people swear by them.
Types of Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine has as many types and varieties as there are winemakers. Apart from classifying sparkling wine by flavour profile such as brut, extra brut, sweet, dry, and demi-sec, it can segment further into the region or type of sparkling wine produced.
The most popular types of sparkling wine in Europe include:
- Metodo Classico
- Sparkling Moscato
Is Sparkling Wine Good For You?
Sparkling wine can help to lower stress levels, and like many other types of alcohol, it can help to lessen the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol thanks to its copper content.
Sparkly wine can help with your cognitive function thanks to its phenolic acid content, which assists with memory and learning by regulating the transmission of signals in the brain’s cortex and hippocampus sections. It’s also able to assist with preventing dementia and help to improve the skin thanks to the carbon dioxide content.
What’s The Difference Between Champagne And Sparkling Wine?
While all champagne can be classified as sparkling wine, not all sparkling wine can bear the name of Champagne. Only sparkling wines produced within the Champagne valley of France, using the same grapes, can carry that name. Other sparkling wines have different names depending on the country they hail from. The methods to make wine, compared to champagne, can greatly differ too.
This is why those after a consistent experience in wine taste are often willing to pay more for champagne. They know that the grapes used to make champagne will keep the flavour profile the same as previous bottles consumed and choose to enjoy this, rather than risk drinking a sparkling wine that may not have such stringent controls on the final product.