Although it is a common practice to call any wine that has bubbles “Champagne,” this is incorrect. All sparkling wines are not Champagne. Yet all Champagnes are sparkling wines. Only a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France is Champagne, although many sparkling wines made in other regions of the world are just as fine as Champagne.
Other Sparkling Names:
Cap Classique is a sparkling wine made in South Africa.
Cava is a sparkling wine made in Spain.
Sekt is a sparkler from Germany.
Cremant is a semi sparkling wine made in France, outside the Champagne region, with about half the pressure as a sparkling wine.
Spumante is a sparkling wine made in Italy. But if a sparkling wine made in Italy is made of Muscat grapes it is an Asti.
Frizzante is a semi sparkling Italian wine.
Sparkling Wine made in Canada or the United States is a called sparkling wine.
Methods of making sparkling wine:
1. Method Champenoise: (French for Champagne method) A process that includes a labor intensive and expensive second fermentation (using yeast to convert of sugar to alcohol) process inside the bottle, creating the bubbles. This method is used in Champagne and other fine, high quality sparkling wines.
2. Transvasage/Transfer Method: Wines produced through a second fermentation in the bottle, but not the bottle in which they are sold. Wine is fermented in first bottle, transferred into and filtered inside of a vat, and then transferred into a second bottle. The term “bottle fermented” is sometimes used on these wines, which can be confusing for buyers. This method is used for smaller (splits) and larger bottles (Jeroboam, etc.)
3. Charmat/Cuve Close/Tank Method: A process used to make less expensive sparkling wines through mass production. The wines are fermented in large stainless steel tanks. Afterwards the wines are filtrated and bottled under pressure. A variation of this method is the Russian Continuous Method.
4. Carbonation: The least expensive method of adding carbon dioxide to wine by injecting it into the wines.
No matter the name, opening a bottle makes any day special. So pop open a new term tonight!