What Is Sparkling Wine?
There’s nothing like bubbles. Sparkling wine is festive, thirst-quenching, and very food compatible.
Popping open a bottle of sparkling wine instantly turns a reunion into a party, and what a party — once everyone has a thin sparkling wine glass in their hand, that’s where the fun begins.
Here are all your sparkling wine doubts and questions answered. From what is sparkling wine to all the various styles in the market.
Make sparkling wine part of your life and start enjoying some bubbles today. The best part? Sparkling wine is about socializing, getting together with friends and family for laughs, and a good time.
What is sparkling wine called?
Sparkling wine has many names, asking what is sparkling wine called renders distinct answers in different countries.
The king of sparkling wines is Champagne, which we will cover later on. Yet, we can say that many winemakers imitate the Champagne making style or Méthode Champenoise.
Here, the wine is fermented twice, once in a vat, and another in the same bottle sold to customers. That’s what makes it special.
Names for this style include Cava, in Spain, Cape Classique, in South Africa, and Franciacorta, in Italy. Otherwise, you’ll find this creamy and full-bodied style by the name of Traditional Method.
The second most important sparkling wine style is the Italian style, better known as Charmat method, and the famous Prosecco as it’s better-known example. Here, the wine is fermented twice in tanks, and not in the bottle. This yields fresh, fruity wine with a light character.
What is the difference between Prosecco and sparkling wine? Prosecco comes from a specific region in Northern Italy, and only local producers can label their products as such.
What are the best sparkling wines? Both styles are special and tasty, and you might appreciate one over the other, it’s okay.
How do you drink sparkling wine? If you enjoy it with food, you might like Champagne-inspired bottles; if you want to taste bubbles as an apéritif, then the Italian versions might be of your liking.
There’s a third method for making sparkling wine, the lowest-quality Spumante or just plain Sparkling, where producers infused wine with CO2 carbonic gas, just like they do with sodas.
Now that you know what is sparkling wine, and the specific styles, let’s dig deeper into the style.
What is sparkling wine made of?
Sparkling wine is made of grapes and yeast, but, as you’ll see, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Is there alcohol in sparkling wine? Of course, there is. Grapes are harvested, crushed, and thrown into a vat where fermenting yeast turn sugar into alcohol and CO2 or carbon dioxide.
So, what is the difference between wine and sparkling wine? Both look very similar in the beginning, but it’s a secondary fermentation that makes the second sparkle.
What makes sparkling wine sparkle? It’s the gas reminiscent of the second fermentation. Yeast consuming sugar, turning it into alcohol and CO2 gas, AKA bubbles.
How do you know if a wine is sparkling? It usually comes in a sturdy bottle that withstands the gas pressure, and it’s crowned with a wire net (muselette) that keeps the cork from popping out.
In a nutshell, sparkling wine is fermented grape juice becoming wine, and that wine being re-fermented to add bubbles.
What is sparkling wine and Champagne?
Let’s now talk about Champagne, the finest wine in the realm of bubbly wine.
Champagne is made in the Champagne region in France. And only wine coming from this small area can be called Champagne. If you’re asking what is sparkling wine, we could tell you that all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.
The wine is made with the famous grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, and collectively, they create a myriad of combinations, making all bottles of Champagne taste slightly different.
Champagne Houses are respected worldwide, and they all have their own unique style. This means you might enjoy one more than other. The secret behind each label is blending. As if each Champagne was made with a secret formula. A single bottle of Champagne can be the blend of over 100 specific wines, and that’s where no other sparkling wine can compare to Champagne.
What is sparkling wine and yeast?
Talking a little about the science behind sparkling wine, we must pay our respects to the yeast that makes everything happen. What is sparkling wine and yeast? They’re two sides of the same coin.
The yeast used in making any wine, even sparkling wine, is quite similar to the yeast used to make bread. It’s called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and it turns sugar into alcohol and gas. That gas makes the holes in bread, and also the bubbles in sparkling wine. As long as there’s sugar, yeast will thrive; when there’s no more food for the yeast, it dies.
Questions and Answers
Here are the most common questions about sparkling wine in case you still have any doubts.
Is Rose a sparkling wine?
Rosé is a wine style, and you can find it both as still wine and as sparkling wine. Some sparkling wines are rosé, but not all of them.
Is Moscato a sparkling wine?
Just like rosé, some wines are made with the Moscato grape, which can be still wines or sparkling wines. Sparkling wines made with Moscato, like the famous Italian Asti is bubbly and sweet. It’s an immensely popular style.
Is sparkling wine good for health?
Consuming alcohol in moderation is quite healthy; it’s a mood-booster and a social enhancer. Too much sparkling wine, though, like any alcoholic drink, can be bad for you in the long run.
How long can sparkling wine be kept?
A closed bottle of sparkling wine can last many years, especially if kept in a cool, dark place. Once you open a bottle, the bubbles will dissipate in hours, and like any wine, it will not last for over two or three days.
When should I drink sparkling wine?
Sparkling wine is wonderful for special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, and New Year’s Eve, but sparkling wine is much more than that.
Sparkling wine pairs nicely with all kinds of food, and they’re perfect for everyday enjoyment. After all, whenever friends come together, there’s a reason to celebrate.