Many of us have experienced the taste and sensation of sparkling wine at a celebration or as an after meal treat, but not everyone knows the difference between the types of sparkling wine we are eager to consume. Sparkling wines by category are so much more than typical Champagne! Bubbly wine types include all kinds of bubbly wine, including Moscato, Prosecco, and Champagne.
Our favorite popular sparkling wines come from trapped carbon dioxide that is captured in the vat where sparkling wine is derived or within the bottle itself. It can be white, pink, yellow, wheat, and variations of the four, depending on where and how it is made.
Interested in learning more about sparkling wine types and how they came to be? This article will explore the various types of sparkling wine, how they came to be, and how you can find the perfect sweet sparkling wine, or dry bubbles to perfectly fit your palate or occasion.
The Skinny on Sparkling Wine
If you don’t know much about sparkling wine, consider this your crash course.
Sparkling wine is more than just typical Champagne. Bubbly wine, unlike champagne, can come from grapes that are grown around the world! True Champagne is made from the region of, you guessed it, Champagne, France. This is one of the major distinguishing factors off the bat.
The major difference between sparkling wines is the double fermentation process the sweet grapes undergo to produce the bubbles we know and love. The longer the second fermentation takes, the more bubbles will be produced as a result. The second fermentation is what makes sparkling wine so light, refreshing, and fizzy.
Here are some categories of sparkling wine as they pertain to the location, what the wine tastes like, how it looks aesthetically, and how you can tell the difference yourself.
Categories of Sparkling Wine
New World Sparkling Wine
Fancy a drink from the United States? Sparkling wine categorized in the “New World” bracket comes from the United States and is a bold rendition of Champagne, with an intense taste and bold flavors.
The grapes used for this demographic of wine are normally extra fruity due to the abundant sunlight given to the grapes during their growing season. Often new world sparkling wines come from Napa and Sonoma.
Elegant, citrus forward, and lively, Italian prosecco comes from the hills of northeast Italy, from a region Veneto, and embodies flavors of floral, apple, pear, and citrus. With fewer bubbles as compared to Champagne, prosecco is perfect all day, every day.
It isn’t as bold as a New World sparkling wine, but also not as fruity as a Reisling. This particular prosecco process includes a double fermentation within a stainless steel tank.
Affordable, dry, and made in a traditional bubble-trapping method with fermentation in the bottle, Spanish Cava is a bold sparkling wine that is perfect for a summer day, brunch or paired with a fruit and cheese board for tastings.
Many Spanish Cava enthusiasts prefer this sparkling wine for celebrations since the cost is so low (under $10 per bottle) and easy to drink.
Champagne is one of the most recognized brands of sparkling wine. Hailing from Champagne, France, these ancient Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes are acid-forward, dry, and grown in a chalky soil which provides a nutty aroma.
The finish can be described with sharp fruit-forward tones like pear, apple, and citrus. Due to its popularity and the region in northeast France, Champagne can run anywhere from $40 and up.
Sweet Sparkling White Wine Moscato
What is Moscato sparkling wine? Moscato sparkling wine is a widely consumed, celebratory drink that has just the right amount of frizzante. This fruit-forward sparkling wine is made from the Moscato Bianco grape, in the northwestern region of Italy. This fine wine has bold aromas of pear and acacia flowers with a crisp finish that pairs perfectly with dessert.
Describing characteristics of sparkling wine
Now that we have explained some our favorite wines, it is time to filter them into categories, specifically regarding taste and finish, so you can boldly choose a wine that will fit the occasion and bring a smile on your face once you hear the famous pop of the cork.
- Dry, lean, and zesty sparkling wines are made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. These produce a sparkling wine that is not as sweet but holds hints of fruit finish. You can expect this profile in a Brut, Extra Brut, Champagne, and Cava sparkling wine.
- Airy, dry, and fruity sparkling wine profiles come from the region of Italy, the United States, Argentina, and even South Africa. These wines have sweet tones with bold tastes of pear, white peach, and citrus. The popular rosé falls in this category, as well as Moscato sparkling wine, Brut, and Extra-Dry prosecco.
- Sweet, perfumed wines are made from extra sweet grapes with an added perfume during the dosage portion of the wine-making process. Highly aromatic Muscat grapes are used in this profile to create the fizzy, bubbly, divine Moscato. Expect prosecco, Moscato, and rosé labels for this palate.
- Rich and nutty sparkling wines are top-shelf, expensive wines that have been through an “extended tirage” process and fermented in oak barrels that bring nutty tones forward and can even hold hints of smoky flavor which gives a very interesting and aromatic finish.
The process of autolysis is performed as the second fermentation takes hold; the yeast from the second round of fermentation sits and eventually dies in the bottle, and the age will produce this exquisite taste and aroma.
The next time you find yourself in a specialty wine store or even your closest grocery store, pull out this handy guide and find the perfect sparkling wine for you. And of course, when in doubt, choose the sweet, fizzy, absolutely delicious wines from Castello Del Poggio for a sparkling Moscato you won’t forget.