Sparkling Wine vs Champagne
Sparkling wine and champagne are delicious bubbly drinks that are perfect for celebrating just about any occasion.
With sweet and dry varieties and endless flavors, popping open a bottle is common especially around the holidays. It’s also delicious at parties, graduations or a romantic dinner for two.
Some use the names sparkling wine and champagne interchangeably, but they are actually considered two entirely different drinks.
The main differences between the two are the location in which the grapes are grown and the method used for creating the drink.
An interesting fact about the two is that champagne can always be classified as a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine can truly be considered champagne.
Champagne on the other hand strictly comes from the Champagne region in France where it is grown, fermented and bottled. It’s typically made with chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot Meunier grapes.
The chalky mineral soil in this region strongly contributes to the flavor of the grapes, and the cold, wet and harsh climate affects the acidity of the grapes.
The grape juice is placed into cellars and then undergoes fermentation in the bottle, also known as the traditional method. This lasts at least 18 months and creates champagne’s yeasty and crisp acidity.
For a beverage to legally be labeled as champagne, it must be grown within 10 miles of this region, according to European law.
Champagne also has a strictly controlled production process involving how the grapes are grown, harvested and processed. For example, all grapes used in Champagne must be handpicked and pressed immediately (only twice) in a covered environment.
The term sparkling wine encompasses beverages like processo, cava, sekt and champagne.
Sparkling wine does not have nearly the same restrictions champagne has – it may be made with any grapes, and there are endless variations in terms of fruitiness, methods, bubble size and location.
While any grapes can be used for sparkling wines, chardonnay and pinot noir are the most common. As for methods, the traditional method, or the tank (Charmat) method can be used.
Another difference is price – some of the higher end champagne can cost up to thousands of dollars, while sparkling wines are typically more affordable.
Grape quality and method of production are the main factors when it comes to price.
Your Drink of Choice
Both beverages are wonderful with lots of flavor and bubbles, and many are equally delicious and high in quality and care. It really comes down to personal taste and preference, so grab a glass and decide for yourself!