2018 – Should I drink Champagne or Sparkling Wine?

2018 – Should I drink Champagne or Sparkling Wine?

What will Sparkle in your Glass?

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” — Mark Twain

Champagne, Cuvee, Cava, Sparkling Wine…. With so many choices what is the right drink for you to celebrate with on New Year’s Eve?

In my opinion, there is no wrong sparkler. It is simply a matter of taste and budget.

Let’s discuss how each type of sparkling wine gets its name.

Champagne is what is traditionally associated with the region of Champagne, France. In the Northeastern portion of France, the terroir features chalky and mineral rich soils. The grapes used are primarily 2/3 red and 1/3 Chardonnay. The most common red varietals are Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The fermenting process is a 2-step method known as Methodé Champenoise or fermenting in a bottle. The juice of the grapes is fermented into alcohol and then bottled to trap CO2 gases for the bubble effect. France was given ownership of the name Champagne during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Prosecco is a popular sparkling wine made in Italy. This sparkling wine features large bubbles and a fruity flavor. Glera grapes are the predominant varietal in this sparkling wine with a 15% mixture including one or more of the following grapes – Bianchetta Trevigiana, Pinot Biano, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir. Proseccos are dry to very dry and are well paired with mixed wine cocktails such as Bellinis and Mimosas. Prosecco goes through its secondary fermentation in steel tanks instead of bottles.

Cava is a beautiful tasting sparkler from Spain. Cava is made primarily from Macabeu grapes. Cava can be white or rosé with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as possible additions. Cava is also made in the traditional champenoise method.

Other wines that are labeled sparkling outside of Champagne are generally labeled sparkling wines using traditional fermentation methods including those in other regions of France and America.

One of my favorite champagnes is Veuve Clicquot from the Maison Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. The Yellow Label Brut Champagne is a delightful blend of Pinot Noir and grapes from as many as 50 to 60 different Crus. Pinot Noir is at the core of the Clicquot, with Chardonnay and Meunier varietals included. This Champagne is smooth and crisp with tastes of peach, pear and oak. The average price of this Champagne is $60 per bottle. During the holiday season you can find it at many wine stores on sale averaging $40 – $50.

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut and some of the masters of Jazz

When to Drink: Now
Alcohol Content : 12%
Varietal: Pinot Noir, Muenier, Chardonnay
Food Pairing: Seafood, Salmon, Pasta
Average Selling Price: $60/bottle (holiday sales are on now!)
PositiveVines Helpful Hint: A Cru is a French vineyard that produces high quality wines. A Cru can be referred to as a Grand Cru or a Premier Cru.

Keep in mind that my list of sparkling wines is not by any means exhaustive. You may prefer a German Sekt or an Italian Asti-Spumante to those sparklers that I’ve listed. The mixologists in the group will use their favorite bubbly to make a champagne cocktail. I wish you Bonne Année, Feliz año Nuevo and Happy New Year with a full glass of bubbly and look forward to continuing our journey of learning about wines from around the world!

Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

Drink Responsibly!
#champagne #NewYear2018 @veuveclicquot #wbc2018 #embracetheworld