November 27, 2017
Many visitors to our stores are unaware of the world of champagne alternatives for every taste and budget, because champagne has become a catch-all term for sparkling white wine. Get to know your options with this guide and pop a bottle in celebration this holiday season.
Champagne: The Basics
With its quality grapes and labour-intensive production, champagne is a worthy investment for truly special occasions. Its distinct flavour comes from it being aged longer, often using historic recipes and procedures. Champagne is also regionally specific, meaning nobody outside of the Champagne region of Northeast France can legally produce a similar product and call it ‘Champagne’.
Prosecco: The Youthful Alternative
Bright, fruity, and less aged, Prosecco is commonly confused for champagne. Prosecco is ideal for large crowds, mixing well with cocktails and mimosas or just simply chilled in a glass. It’s no low-brow alternative to champagne, though. Many varieties still adhere to similar production standards—look for ‘DOC’ on the bottle to be sure yours follows these traditional practices and is made in Italy.
Cava: Champagne’s Spanish Cousin
In the past, Cava was often marketed and colloquially known as ‘Spanish Champagne’, a title it had to lose once ‘Champagne’ became a protected name. This is due to its very similar production method, only in Cava’s case, it is made in Spain with Spanish grapes. Cava’s nice flavour profile is somewhere between that of Champagne and Prosecco.
Other regions around the world produce sparkling wine with its own distinct taste and characteristics, including varieties made right here in Canada’s Okanagan and Niagara regions. While these three varieties may be considered the best-known, they’re not your only options. Our sommeliers can help you find the perfect sparkling wine to match any occasion and taste you seek. Happy celebrating!
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