Simple Guide to Sparkling Wine

Choose Sparkling Wine

Whether it is a birthday party or a special event (wedding, anniversary or a new position at a major firm), Sparkling wine is the perfect companion to any occasion. But bubbly can be as confusing as it is delicious. So how do you choose Sparkling wine? Relax, picking the right one for you is not as daunting as you may thing. Nowadays, almost every country and wine region in the world produces a Sparkling wine using locally grown grapes. From Macabeo and Parellada in Spain, Prosecco, Lambrusco and Moscato in Italy, to traditional Sparkling Shiraz in Australia, you can find a wide range of different styles of bubbly.

What Is Sparkling Wine?

Sparkling wine is a wine made that has carbon dioxide, which is what creates the bubbles everyone loves.

There are different ways to add carbon dioxide to the wine, and the most common way is called Methode Traditionelle or Methode Champenoise. This method was first invented in the Champagne region of France and has since been copied in various places all over the world. Sparkling wines go trough a fermentation process (in large tanks or barrels) before being bottled. Once bottled, more sugar and yeast are added to the bottle. This leads to a secondary fermentation which occurs in the bottle. It is at this time that the bubbles are produced.

There is another method called Charmat, which also includes wine going through two fermentation phases. However, unlike Methode Traditionelle, with Charmat method, the second fermentation occurs in large tanks or barrels. This process is much quicker than bottle fermentation.

What Is the Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine?

The answer to this question is quite simple – there is no difference. Champagne is a region of France, popular for producing Sparkling wine. Hence, Sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France is called Champagne.

How to Know If the Sparkling Wine Is Dry or Sweet?

Most bottles will have an indicator on the label which describes the level of sweetness. So the words for you to look for to easily choose Sparkling wine are:

  • Extra Brut – The most dry style.
  • Brut – The most common Sparkling wine produced.
  • Extra Dry – Often recommended for mixing in drinks such as Bellini and Mimosa.

How to Serve Sparkling Wine?

Now that you know how to choose Sparkling wine, lets learn how to serve them. Most Sparkling wines should always be served very cold, around 3 to 6 degrees Celsius. Non-vintage Sparkling wines should be served a little warmer, around 5 to 8 and premium Sparkling wines from 7 to 10 degrees Celsius.

To serve the bubbly, use a fluted glass to reduce the amount of air coming in contact with the wine surface. Do not use wide-bowl glasses because they tend to let the bubbles dissipate too quickly, causing the Sparkling wine to lose its effervescence.