Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 2-Minute Guide to Bubbles

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so you might be in the market for some sparkling wine!  Here’s a flow chart to help you decide what to buy:

And here are some details about each option:

Champagne – This is the classic choice for celebrations.  It must come from the Champagne region of France to be called Champagne, and you will pay extra for that pedigree!  Because of the process used to make it, Champagne has toasty, bready aromas/flavors that some people like and some don’t.  Most Champagne is “brut” which means it tastes dry.  If it says “demi-sec” it will taste somewhat sweet.  Demi-secs can be tough to find, but if you live in the Clear Lake area, the Spec’s on Bay Area Blvd. carries the Veuve Clicquot demi-sec for around $50.

Cava – Cavas are made in the same method as Champagne, but come from Spain.  They taste similar to brut Champagne (dry), but cost less.

Crémant – Crémant is the name for a sparkling wine made in the same method as Champagne, but which comes from another region of France.  Labels will say Crémant, followed by which region made it (Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant d’Alsace, etc.).  These also taste similar to brut Champagne (dry), but are usually cheaper.

California Sparkling Wine – These are often made using the same method as Champagne (called “traditional method” outside of the Champagne region), but are fruitier in flavor.  They come in a range of prices.

Prosecco – This is a sparkling wine from Italy which is light and fruity, but dry.

Moscato d’Asti – This is for people who want something light, fruity, and sweet.  Asti Spumante is very similar, but a bit sweeter and with more bubbles.

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