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Sparkling Wines and the Differences Between Them

The pop of a cork is traditionally a signal to the start of a special moment, celebration or transition. Think of Champagne at weddings, chardonnay at anniversaries, or a glass of sparkling wine at dinner on New Year’s Eve. No matter the occasion, one always prepares for the event by choosing a robust wine to tip the scales.

Some people still tend to equate sparkling wines as being Champagne, and while it is true that all Champagne is sparkling wine, only sparkling wine made in the Champagne region in France using three types of grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier can by law be called Champagne which is not entirely accurate for the latter. Sparkling wine can be a white wine, red wine, or Rosé. It can also be made from all types of different grapes procured from various areas around the world, and then brought to the most significant winemaking regions globally to be brought to life.

Here is a quick guide to sparkling wines and the differences between them to help you choose the right pairing for your next celebration or holiday.

How Are Sparkling Wines Made?

Sparkling wines are made using various types of production methods. The choice of production method can impact the taste of the sparkling wine, so naturally, people continue to debate which one is the best.

The classic method, also known as the méthode champenoise, involves adding yeast and sugar to the base wine and then putting it into a sealed bottle. That bottle needs to be rotated and shaken throughout a period of weeks or months. After this process, any residual clumps of yeast are removed, and the bottle resealed. Sparkling wines produced this way are also higher in price to reflect the effort involved in their creation.

The other main option for the second fermentation keeps the wine in a large tank versus individual bottles. The agitation and rotating are easier to do and make the process more cost-effective.