Feel the Fizz: The Many Types of Sparkling Wine
Ah, the bubbly. Whether we’re drinking it to celebrate, to brunch, or to just feel a little extra fancy, it adds a little extra sparkle to the occasion.
So what gives a sparkling wine its signature bubble? Carbon dioxide! Sparkling wine goes through not one, but two, fermentation processes- one to create the wine itself and the second to create the carbonation. During the first fermentation, carbon dioxide is released, and in general wine production, that would be expelled. However, because sparkling wine goes through a second fermentation, those bubbles are retained and incorporated into the wine, giving it that delicious fizz!
Most people refer to all sparkling wines as Champagne but really, each sparkler has its own region. The most popular regions for producing sparkling wine are Champagne, France, Prosecco, Italy, and Cava, Spain.
Of course, there are many, many more beyond these three but if you’re looking in your local wine shop, you’ll notice these first. Each region has its own method of production that may vary in fermentation or bottling, which is why they all taste a little different.
The thing that differentiates categories of sparkling wine is not where they come from but the sweetness. There are four levels:
Extra-Brut- The driest kind of sparkling wine; the yeast ate up all the sugar during fermentation so this will not be sweet at all.
Brut-The most common kind of sparkling wine as it’s a little dry and a little sweet. Many Champagnes are labeled Brut.
Extra-Dry- Commonly mistaken with extra-Brut, this is actually a little sweeter but still retains a very dry taste. Prosecco is generally extra-dry.
Demi-Sec- The sweetest of the sparkling wines- it’s generally a dessert wine, like Moscato.
Finding the perfect sparkling wine can take some research, and it helps to know which non-sparkling wines you prefer, as those flavors translate even after the bubbles are added.