The holidays are here and it’s time to break open the sparkling wine! Celebrating this time of year with family and friend’s is one of life’s joys. But what exactly should you serve your guests when you are entertaining at home? Walking into a wine store and trying to figure out which bottle of sparkling wine to choose can be overwhelming.
Luckily, hosts have many options when it comes to what to pour for their guests. Champagne? Prosecco? Cava? Sparkling wine? Maybe Moscato d’Asti? Here I am going to give you a brief lesson in Sparkling Wine 101 and some of the fabulous choices:
Only sparkling wine made in Champagne, France, using the Traditional Method, is allowed to be called Champagne. These wines undergo a second fermentation, in the bottle, which is called the Traditional Method. This is how the bubbles develop, during this second fermentation. Normally the finer the bubbles, the better quality Champagne. Champagne comes in Vintage and Nonvintage. A Nonvintage Champagne is usually the “house” style of the producer, made with a blend of vintages (the year the grapes were picked). Vintage is Champagne from a single year’s harvest. A bottle of Champagne can range from $35 to $200 or more. For some delicious Champagne cocktails click (here)
These are wines with bubbles made in a wine producing region, other than Champagne, France! So you can buy a beautiful, sparkling wine from France that is top notch but just can’t be called Champagne because…it’s not from Champagne, France! These wines may be less expensive than Champagne even though many go through a second fermentation in the bottle as well. You can find wonderful Sparkling Wines from New Mexico to Germany! A quality sparkling wine can start at $10 a bottle and up.
Everyone loves Prosecco! Easy drinking and affordably priced, Prosecco is Italy’s version of sparkling wine. It comes from the Veneto region of Italy and made with the Glera grape. This exotic sounding grape must make up a minimum of 85% of Prosecco. Whereas Champagne and Sparkling Wine are made with familiar varietals (the grape type) such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Italy has their own native grape that is used. The reason Prosecco tends
to be more affordable is due to the second fermentation taking place in a large, pressurized tank. This is called the Tank Method (many of the affordable Sparkling Wines are produced this way as well). A quality Prosecco can range from $10 to $35 for a limited production, highest quality bottle.
For recipes to make festive Prosecco cocktails click here: BBCGppdFood
If you haven’t tried Cava, I highly recommend you do. Cava is a Traditional Method sparkling wine from Spain at very reasonable price points here in the U.S. Cava was modeled off of Champagne in France. Cava is produced primarily in the Catalonia Region of Spain, near Barcelona. Impress your friends at your next party by informing them that the Cava you are serving is made from the grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada! One of my personal favorites to sip is a Cava Rose, delicious!! Cava ranges in price from $8 to $30 a bottle. To learn more about Cava click here: Cava
Moscato d’ Asti
Back to Italy for some Moscato d’ Asti. Asti is a fully sparkling wine made from the Moscato grape and Moscato d’ Asti is a less bubbly, or fizzy, version of it. These wines tend to be sweet and have a lower alcohol level than other sparkling wines. The town of Asti in the Piedmont region is where Asti comes from (Old World wines are named after their town of origin). Prices range from $10 to $25 per bottle.
With plenty of sparkling wine options and price ranges, why not try something new and exciting this year? Serve any of these choices at your holiday party, your guests will thank you. Cheers!!