2020 Sparkling Wine Review
We spoke to you at length about Champagne in the last blog post, but what about the rest of the sparklers? It is fairly accurate to say that any country that can make a still wine, like a Cabernet or Chardonnay, can also make sparkling wine, like Champagne, or Franciacorta.
So what actually makes them all different? In a lot of ways, there are different costs in production and storage. Champagne for example is a painstakingly hard process to execute properly, the traditional Champagne grapes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are increasingly expensive to grow on land that is more and more valuable by the year.
“To buy a hectare of land in the prestigious Côte des Blancs region (see our Champagne post for a map of this region) will cost you around €1.8 million ($2.18 million, US). In addition, there’s less land to go around as the region is in such high demand. The cost of growing grapes, before even making the wine, is a serious factor influencing Champagne prices.” (Why Are Cava Prices so Much Lower than Champagne?, 2017)
If you want that sparkling tingle, without I-just-spent-a-lot-of-money feeling, here is a list of alternatives to check out…
Cava goes through the same painstaking process, the same necessary “Secondary Fermentation” that makes sparkling wine actually happen, they sometimes use some of the same grapes. So what is the difference? While Cava makes consistently delicious sparkling wines, Champagne has a luxury brand, a creamy texture, and simply put: more people know Champagne. With that in mind, if you are looking for Champagne taste on a beer budget, then Cava is your answer.
While Cava can range in price from 5 to 20 dollars, with a few going as high as $100, but for the most part, you can really find some solid Cavas around the $15 range.
Wait, did I not discuss where Cava is from?! Cava is from Catalonia (Penedès), which is northeastern Spain, near Barcelona.
Just like Champagne, they use the traditional method, and while they sometimes use the same grapes as Champagne, they truly thrive on their own native grapes of Xarello, Macabeu, and Parellada. An amazing example of this is NV Portell Cava ($10.99, available at all three locations). The wine has a yellow straw color with greenish reflections with a fine bubble and elegant rosary. It has fruity aromas with aging notes. In the mouth it is a well structured cava with a good effervescence and a fresh and pleasant finish.
Prosecco is what happens when you want to produce a LOT of sparkling wine quickly. Coming from northern Italy (just north of Venice), they use grapes (the Glera grape, specifically), and they use secondary fermentation, and they even use the dosage (just like Champagne and Cava) and that is where the similarities stop.
Instead of meticulous cellaring and gently ushering any sediment to a small part of the bottle to be ushered away, Prosecco undergoes the Charmat or “Tank” method. Simply put, you press the juice out of the grape and ferment it by adding yeast and sugar. After that, you transfer the juice to an air pressure resistant tank where the second fermentation takes place over the course of just beyond a week. Filter it, add more dosage, and throw it in a bottle to sell.
So why is it so popular? You can make a LOT of it quickly and it is significantly less expensive than Champagne to produce. It doesn’t mean that it is better than Champagne, but it ain’t bad either! Most Proseccos are light and lively and are just awesome with an aperitif, maybe a seafood dish, or simply by themselves.
We found a few that are definitely worthy of trying, and at great prices too! Consider any of the following for your foray into Prosecco:
NV Poggio Costa – arriving in all stores by Friday, Dec 11th
This wine is light and fizzy with notes of Meyer lemon, Peaches, and Brioche toast. It might not be the most complex wine in the world, but it is incredibly easy to drink and a stellar value!
Our Price: $14.99
This elegant sparkler has beautiful aromas of golden apples tinged with floral notes of acacia flower and almond leaf. Dry, crisp and fresh. An ideal opener for a meal but also perfect with spicy foods and shellfish.
Our Price: $12.99
There is a lot more that could be discussed, but we wanted to show you the best of what there is to offer outside of Champagne. We hope you’ll agree.
Why are Cava prices so much lower than Champagne? (2017, October 5). Blog INVINIC. https://blog.invinic.com/en/why-are-cava-prices-so-much-lower-than-champagne#:%7E:text=Both%20Champagne%20and%20Cava%20come,appellation%20is%20higher%20than%20ever.