“Come quick! I am tasting stars!” - Dom Perignon
Ah, the lovely bubbles, so satisfying as they dance across your tongue. But is this Champagne? Cava? Prosecco? It's sparkling wine first and foremost. What you call it depends on the region where it is grown.
To be true Champagne, like the Billecart-Salmon Brut, it has to be made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier and grown exclusively in the Champagne region of France. The grapes are hand harvested, pressed, blended and cellared. Traditional Champagne is subtly aromatic with hints of orange peel and is brioche-like on the palate with crisp acidity. Because of the labor intensive winemaking method, called méthode Champenoise, it is generally the most expensive of the sparklings out there.
Prosecco, which hails from Italy, is the most consumed sparkling wine in the United States and like Champagne, it can only be produced in select parts of northern Italy. Made predominately from the Glera grape, it is light, refreshing and relatively crisp and fruit forward. This bubble is usually made in the Extra Dry style, which, oddly is not as dry as Brut. Why? Who knows? Ask the French! Proseccos are value sparklers and are made in the charmat method which is a more affordable way of producing. Our favorite is Ornella Molon from Campo di Pietra.
Cava, known as the Spanish Champagne, is the Catalan word for cellar. It is made primarily from Macabo, Parellada and Xarello in the same manner as Method Champenois but is referred to as the Traditional Method in Spain. While it can be produced in several regions in Spain, 95% of it comes from Penedes. With a lower acidity than its French counterpart, it tends to be lightly salty and lemony with slight herbal notes. Try the Los Monteros Cava for a great bargain! Why are we writing about sparkling wine in September? We believe that bubbles are great for holidays, but should not be reserved just for special occasions. Every day should be celebrated! La dolice Vita. Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup.
Our Recommendations this month:
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne
12% ABV | Retail: $66.99
Fine bubbles & stone fruit with a bright finish.
Ornella Molon Brut Prosecco
11.5% ABV | Retail: $21.99
Quince and lychee with a quenching finish.
Los Monteros Brut Cava
11.5% ABV | Retail: $10.99
Crisp with pink grapefruit and a light and fresh finish.