These are currently the four most popular sparkling wines, although there are many others. Sparkling wines are made using a secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation. In 2013, Prosecco outsold champagne around the world.
Cava comes from Spain, primarily around Barcelona and the sparkling
wine can be extremely high quality. Cavas are made in the
'Traditional Method', and many are aged longer than Champagne is.
The principal grapes used are Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada.
Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
grapes. Only grapes grown in the Champagne region of France can be
used for Champagne, which is produced in that region using a
specific 'Traditional Method'. Although its history dates back many
hundreds of years, Champagne only got its sparkle in 1668 when
Pierre Dom Pérignon, cellar master for the Benedictine Abbey was
developing new ways to make wine more enjoyable and stumbled on the
method by accident.
Cremant is the sparkling wine made in the same way in any French
region other than Champagne. There are 23 sparkling wines made in
France and each region may use different grapes, such as Chenin
Blanc, Cabernet, Pino Gris, etc.
Prosecco is made from the Glera grape in the Veneto region of Italy.
It is made using the ‘Tank Method’. Prosecco is perhaps America’s
favorite bubbly, because it is not aged “sur lie” as Champagne is,
the flavors of Prosecco tend to be simpler and less complex. Think
white flowers, apple, and pear. Some even have a bit of sweetness.
Sur Lie is the method of adding extra flavor to the finished wine by
letting it sit on the lees (decomposing yeast and grapes) in order
to extract more aromas and flavors.
Bottom line, all Champagne sparkles, but not all sparkling wine
is Champagne. Champagne is perceived as a region for luxury wines,
so it can command higher prices than the others, which can be as
or more enjoyable. As with all wines, trust your tongue and not