With summer fast approaching, wedding season is upon us, and with that, comes a lot of clinking glasses and sipping sparkling wine. It can be daunting to pick something that doesn’t break the budget, but also doesn’t give you a headache and terrible hang over (Bambino- I am thinking of you!). With Champagne being quite costly, let’s look at some delicious alternatives for your celebrations!
How sparkling wine is made...
It is important to understand the differences in method for sparking wine production, as it will greatly affect the flavour and overall quality of the wine. Champagne is made using what is called “traditional method”. To simplify this process, it means that there are two fermentations that happen, the first in a vessel (could be oak barrel or stainless steel) and the second takes place once the fermented wine is added to its bottle. The winemaker adds yeast and usually some concentrated grape juice to the bottle and the fermentation that takes place creates CO2 (the bubbles) under pressure in the bottle. (There is far greater detail to this process; I have simplified it for you). The result is a tasting profile that has a distinct yogurt or creaminess to it, along with refreshing acid and some citrus and fruit.
The other popular method of making sparkling wine is called “tank method”. It is where both alcoholic fermentations happen in the stainless steel vessel. This is far more cost effective, but also leaves a lot more fruit notes to the sparkling wine, and less of that yogurt and creaminess that you might taste in Champagne. Tank Method sparkling wine is not aged in its bottle for any period of time before it is sold.
To be clear, a lot of sparkling wine is made using the “traditional method”, it simply cannot use the name Champagne unless it comes from the specific region in France (a brilliant marketing strategy by the Champenois). There are many affordable sparkling wines that come from France and other areas that have similar taste profiles to Champagne, with a much more cost effective price point.
An easy way to determine what your preference is with sparkling wine: Do you prefer the taste of Prosecco (tank method) or Champagne (traditional method)?
My “Traditional Method” Sparkling Wine Favourites:
Mercat Brut Nature Cava
Grande Cuvee 1531 De Aimery, Cremant De Limoux
Terroir La Baume Saint Paul Brut Cremant de Limoux
My “Tank Method” Sparkling Wine Favourites:
Blu Giovello Prosecco
Mionetto Prestige Prosecco Treviso Doc Brut
Bellstar Prosecco DOC Brut
My Local (Ontario) Sparkling Wine Favourites:
Kew Vineyards Rosalie
Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling
Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Rosé
Cheers to your summer celebrations! Do you have any sparkling wine favourites? Let me know.
Want to learn more about wine? Why not host a wine event with your friends and family? For more information about wine, food and the good life, follow me on Instagram @NewAgeNonna or subscribe to my Blog.
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