Sparkling wines are wines that have considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. This makes them fizzy and bubbly. The carbon dioxide is produced by natural fermentation, or in a large tank designed to accept high pressure or as an effect of injecting carbon dioxide in the wine. Sparkling wines must have more than 2.5 atmospheres of carbon dioxide at sea level at a temperature of 20 degrees Celcius.
California, USA is one of the largest regions in the world that produces sparkling wines. Specifically, the region is known for its rose sparklers. On the other side of the world, the United Kingdom has introduced world-class champagne style wines.
Most sparkling wines are either white or rose. However, there are also sparkling red wines such as the Australian sparkling shiraz. Some sparkling wines are also considered light sparklers, producing only a slight fizzing. These are called frizzante or petillant. A perfect example of light sparklers is the vinho verde from Portugal.
The most popular sparkling wine is champagne. In fact, most people use the word “champagne” to denote most sparkling wines. However, there are other styles that are produced in many other countries and regions.
Cremant, for example, is a type of sparkling wine that is produced in French regions outside of Champagne. Famous Cremants include Cremant du Jura, Cremant d’Alsace and Cremant d’Origine Controlee. According to French appellation laws, a Cremant must be harvested manually with yields not exceeding a particular amount for their AOC. Also, all Cremants are aged for at least one year.
Another example is the Cava, a type of white or pink sparkling wine produced in the Penedes region in Catalona, Spain. This wine is produced in three levels of dryness; brut nature, brut or extra dry, seco or dry, semiseco or medium and dulce or sweet. According to the Spanish Denominacion de Origen laws, Cava must use selected species of grapes such as macabeo, parellada, xarel-lo, Chardonnay or Subirat.
Cap Classique is a sparkling wine made in South Africa. Grapes for this wine are carefully selected to ensure that only healthy grapes are used. These grapes come from diverse regions in the Cape.
There are other classes of sparkling wines such as the Italian Asti and Spumante, the German Sekt and the Russian Sovetskoye Shampanskoye.
These wines taste great. One should be available in the bars of serious wine collectors. I know that I always have Sparkling wines around!
P.S. If you are the only Champagne drinker in your house (as I am), it’s sometimes tough to drink the whole bottle in one sitting. Here’s a stopper that will help you to preserve those bubbles until the next time you are ready for more!