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Sparkling Wine

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People swoon over Sparkling wine, especially Champagne. As in, "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" or "I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not." At WineOnline.ca, we love Sparkling wine too! Whether it’s called Champagne or Prosecco or Cava or Mousseux or Crémant or Espumoso or Sekt or Spumante, it’s all Sparkling wine and it’s all delicious. For the record, while all Champagne is Sparkling wine, not all Sparkling wine is Champagne. That’s because Champagne can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region in France.

The traditional way to produce sparkling wine is popularly known as the Champagne method and is used for Crémant, Cava, better varieties of Sekt and of course Champagne. This method creates the effervescence right in the bottle in a complex process, where the winemaker handles each individual bottle many times. In the Charmat method, the wine is mixed in a stainless steel pressure tank. And when the sugar converts into alcohol and carbon dioxide, the yeast is filtered and removed. Then the wine is bottled. The Charmat production method is widely used in the US and in Italy - especially in the Asti province in the production of Prosecco wines. Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier are the primary varietals used to produce Sparkling wine but Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Vidal are also used in smaller quantities.

Most sparkling wine (including Champagne) is non-vintage where winemakers blend grape juice from several different years. This allows them to keep a consistent flavor profile year to year. If you see a vintage sparkling wine, it means the makers thought that year was spectacular and will represent their winery’s highest quality. And it is also reflected in the price. A vintage wine will often cost 2 or 3 times more than non-vintage.

Sparkling wines have their own characteristic taste. Some taste bready, some citrusy, some fruity. Watch for the classification of sweetness. Sparkling wine is labelled “brut” or “extra dry.” Brut tastes dry, with no perception of sweetness. Extra dry actually tastes slightly sweet.

WineOnline.ca carries wines from the great Sparkling wine producing areas - Prosecco and Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain, Crémant from Burgundy, a wide variety of Niagara Sparkling wines and of course Champagnes from the premier producers at different price points.

As some witty pundit claimed, “If life brings you troubles, drink some Champagne, then your problems will just become bubbles… ” So if you are celebrating or not, bring on the Sparkling wine!

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