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What’s the Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wines?

When celebrations begin, the bubbly is popped. There’s nothing like cheering a big event or special occasion with a glass of bubbly wine. There’s no doubt that we all love a glass of sparkling wine. If you’re struggling with which bubbly to serve, you’re not alone. If you have found yourself asking if there’s any difference between sparkling wine and champagne, we’re here to help. Take a look at just how the two wines differ and which, if any, is better.

What is Champagne?

Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that can only be produced in the Champagne region in northern France. It’s a type of wine that is produced using traditional methods using a selection of three particular grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. The wine is produced in such a way that Champagne’s signature bubbles are produced during production. Champagne tends to have a toasty, nutty flavour.

When it comes to Champagne, the origin is important. Only sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region in France can legally be called Champagne. The production of Champagne is strictly regulated. Only certain production processes and grape varieties can be included. Due to this strict production and labour intensive process, the price can be a bit higher than your typical sparkling wine. However, if you want the real thing, it’s absolutely worth it.

What is Sparkling Wine?

Sparkling wine, on the other hand, can be produced in any number of regions around the world and can include any number of varieties. Sparkling wine is a generic term that is used to describe bubbly wine. It can include varieties such as Prosecco which is often produced in Italy, Cava from Spain, Sekt from Austria and Germany and sparkling wine which is commonly produced in Australia. These different types of bubbly’s all have distinct flavour profiles and aromas and while being similar are also wildly different.

Prosecco

Often produced in the Veneto region of Italy, prosecco has larger bubbles than many sparkling wines and a sweeter taste. It has a strong focus on fruit and is fantastic for use in cocktails. Prosecco is produced in large tanks using the Charmat method. The Charmat method is faster and easier than the traditional champagne production process and this method often produces wines that are a bit fruitier than Champagne.

Cava

Hailing from Spain, Cava can be made in many different styles. It often has a balanced creamy freshness and small bubbles.

Cremant

Also originating in France, Cremant is another traditional sparkling wine that is produced across a range of regions. Cremant can also sometimes be produced with the Charmat method.

Many of the lower-priced bubbly wines that you see in stores are not traditional sparkling wines. they often have their bubbles injected into them (similar to sodas) after production to create the same effect that proper fermentation and production creates in a traditional sparkling wine.

Where do the bubbles come from?

The bubbles that give sparkling wine its distinct bubbly or sparkling effect are created during production. The formula that creates fermentation (sugar and yeast = CO2 and alcohol) creates gas and bubbles that are not allowed to escape the bottle once produced. In a sealed environment, the gas that is created in fermented wine returns into the wine instead of escaping. This gas is finally released in the form of the small bubbles you see when the bottle is opened. This unique process creates what the world has fondly come to know as sparkling wine.

Champagne vs Sparkling wine

Due to the different production processes and grape varieties used, Champagne and sparkling wine are fairly different. They have different flavour profiles, varying methods of production and different price ranges. When it comes down to it, it’s difficult to say if either Champagne or sparkling wine is better. There are so many varieties and differences that it’s like trying to decide between dark chocolate or white chocolate. Both are amazing in their own way but they’re also suited to different individuals and occasions. It can also depend a lot on individual taste. You may prefer the smooth nutty flavour of a glass of Champagne, or perhaps you’re more partial to a refreshing glass of sweet and fruity Prosecco.

Knowing the difference between sparkling wine and champagne is not only a great way to help you with your wine choices, but it’s also handy knowledge to have. Previously you may not have known what the difference was between the different types of sparkling wine and their production processes. Now, however, you have the knowledge to be able to tell them apart and decide which wine is appropriate for which occasion.

Whether you prefer nutty or fruity, we have some fantastic sparkling wine gift hampers that are perfect for any occasion. With a bottle of delicious sparkling wine as well as some gourmet sweet or savoury treats, your gift hamper will be the perfect gift for you or your friends. For help choosing a hamper, or if you have any other requests, feel free to get in touch with our team.
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