True or False:
All champagne is sparkling wine, all sparkling wine is not champagne.
If you answered TRUE, you are correct and probably don’t need to keep reading. If you were unsure or answered false, let me explain.
For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to call all wine with bubbles, bubbly wine…I mean you’re also reading this on the Bubbly Side of Life, so we must right?
Do You Really Mean Champagne?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people use champagne as a general term for bubbly wine. If you order champagne, that means you want a glass of bubbly wine that comes from Champagne, France. And if it does not come from Champagne, France, then you are not drinking champagne.
Now I understand that people use this as a general term and quite honestly, have no clue why it bothers me so much. When I am on board a flight for example, I order a sparkling wine, and 9 times out of 10, the flight attendant clarifies with, “Do you mean champagne?”
People ask me all the time, “What champagne do you recommend?” and I always question whether or not they truly mean champagne or simply are asking for my bubbly wine favorites.
Champagne is the term we’ve “normalized” for bubbly wine, but it really is a very specific type of bubbly wine.
Champagne comes to us from Champagne, a small region in France. It’s made using the traditional method or méthode champenoise under strict regulations. Champagne is made using one of a combination of grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.
Actually, there are a lot of bubbly wines made using the traditional method, using the same types of grapes that come from other regions outside of Champagne, France (so they can not be champagne).
In fact, most cava out of Spain, most crémant out of France (regions outside of Champagne) and many sparkling wines in other areas of the world including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are made using the same traditional method that is used to make champagne.
If you’ve been following Bubbly Side of Life for a period of time, you know that we love all bubbly wine, but particularly love to shine a spotlight on sparkling wine for a number of reasons:
- It’s located in our own “backyard,” very easy to visit (and that’s our favorite hobby) and easily accessible.
- It’s often times much less expensive than champagne.
- Because it’s not under strict regulations, they are often more playful than traditional champagne.
- In our opinion it’s often times better than champagne.
You might also have caught on to my love of cava as well. After all, I did study in Spain, minor in Spanish in college and taught Spanish for 6 years. Not to mention, one of my favorite experiences of all time was when I visited Artcava outside of Barcelona.
Bubbly Wine Tasting
Are you wondering what the difference really is with all the different bubbly wine types? The most fun and easiest way to explore and find out if it’s truly champagne you’re in love with or another type of bubbly wine is to do a tasting.
If you’re curious about champagne, then here’s what you need to do:
Go to the store or jump online to your favorite liquor store and purchase these bubbly wine types:
- Sparkling wine.
The key is to make sure the label says: traditional method or méthode champenoise. If you want to be even more accurate, make sure the types of grapes are all identical.
If you’re curious in general about bubbly wine types, then you want to add a bottle of Prosecco to the list above. Prosecco is a bubbly wine made using a tank instead of the traditional method like champagne.
Is there a right or wrong way to go through a tasting? No. Some people like to take a sip of each of them to compare and others like to taste the full glass before moving on to the next one. I almost always do the first way, but truly, it’s a personal preference.
Pro Tip: Have oyster crackers handy to cleanse your palate after each taste so you can truly decide which is your favorite type.
By the way, if you want to experience bubbly wine at a tasting event, but don’t want to organize it, visit our Bubbly Events page to learn more about what types of events we offer.
Choosing Bubbly Wine Types
If you need some help choosing the bubbly wine for your tasting experience, check out these blog posts: