A Beginner's Guide to Champagne & Sparkling Wine
Yes, there's a difference.
Did you know that there's a difference between champagne and sparkling wine? Don't worry-we're here to show you the way. Before you raise your glass with your guests on your wedding day, you should know what exactly you'll be drinking and what to should serve. We talked to event designer Bronson van Wyck to break it down-think of this as your ultimate guide to all things bubbly!
"Only wine from the Champagne region of France can be labeled as such," says New York City–based event designer Bronson van Wyck. "And it must be produced in the méthode Champenoise, with its second fermentation occurring in individual bottles. Most Champagne varieties are rich and complex, but my favorite for weddings is blanc de blancs, or white wine from white grapes. It's easy to pair with food and usually very dry with a clean finish. For the true bubbles aficionado, select a single-vintage Champagne, made during a year with an exceptional harvest and aged in the bottle longer."
"Prosecco is bright, clean, and easy to drink. It's mainly made from the Glera grape variety in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of Italy, and nearly all proseccos are fermented in vats (not in bottles, like Champagne), so it's more affordable. It's also lower in alcohol than many other sparkling wines, so it's a good option for hot-weather celebrations."
"Cava has fresh, citrus notes, and is made with a blend of Spanish grapes in the same method as Champagne (secondary fermentation in the bottle). Because of this, it's closer in character to Champagne than prosecco," but it's generally more affordable than the former.
This is a broad term for sparkling wine made in certain regions of France. "The grapes vary slightly, but I find crémants to be the closest substitute to true Champagne. They're often meant to be drunk relatively young as well, and are well-priced and a bit more complex than cava or prosecco."
"A popular choice these days, rosé Champagne is made either by allowing the white juice to stay in contact with the red skins of either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier grapes (or both), or by adding a small amount of red wine to the otherwise white juice. It's typically dry and complex, and looks particularly pretty when served."