Champagne Tips, Toasts with PJ Champagne Shopping: 3 Popular Types of Champagne
Not all bubbles are created equal! When it's time to consider your special event, destination wedding and toast with family, friends and guests, you have choices. Most all-inclusive resorts offer one or two brands of bubbly so be sure to ask about your choices. For a bit of guidance on Champagne or sparkling wine, I've narrowed narrow it down to 3-Popular Types of Champagne so when you're looking at costs or brands, you at least have an appearance of some wisdom! Have a special occasion, wedding, party, toasting affair and want to look savvy when you are serving your champagne? We're here to help you and sharing some advice we found because, "all bubbles are NOT created equal!" Champagne incites happy thoughts, new beginnings, it's opulent, symbaritic. In lieu of having an extensive class, we're going to focus on three different choices, champagne, prosecco and cava. (no not kava like in Fiji! - that's another blog by PJ)
To start with, if it says “champagne” on the bottle, you'll always know where it was made and where it came from: France. But not just France, a special region called Champagne - easy to remember right? No one else can label their bubbles Champagne. This region specific environmental factors, or terroirs, that affect the crop's behavior from farming practices to habitat, plus there is a time honored and closely regulated process used in this region. Revered at a special occasion and respected, Champagne is well "Champagne" and you can't go wrong and raising the bar at your wedding reception bar, literally, will be notice for your toasts or special occasions! Revered in the wine world, champagne is mostly produced from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes. Expect almond, citrus and stone fruit flavours with an elegant bubble structure. Fine, persistent bubbles is usually an indicator of higher the quality. ~$30-$300
In February, I was in Venice for a Wedding & Romance Forum at the same time as Carnival and the Italian specialty Prosecco was in the house! Prosecco is an Italian white wine which also has a controlled designation of origin, the Glera grape, formerly known as Processo, can be spumante, frizzante, or tranquillo. Other grape varieties may be included. Made from Prosecco grapes, I prefer their fruity and florals with an aging process that gives a sweeter and lighter flavour with less-spritzy bubbles. You could say less persistent bubbles and sound versed! ~$12-25
Lastly, a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen status from Catalonia, also produced in other regions of Spain. Cava is made the same way as Champagne but with different grapes. The Macabeo grape gives a bubble and sparkle that is more floral and fruit-forward. It can be white or rosé. The Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava. So if you want something as close as possible to Champagne, Cava is your choice and you could call it a "value bubbly." The Macabeu grape tastes simple with faint floral aromatics, a lemony flavor with a slightly bitter finish that tastes similar to green almonds. The Xarel·lo (sounds like ‘Cheryl-ooh’) grape, is much more aromatic with rich floral aromas with notes of pear/melon. The third grape, Paralleda, is blended for its excellent high acidity and zesty citrus flavors. Together these three Spanish grapes create a balanced fruity sparkling wine that’s less sweet than Prosecco but not as nutty as Vintage Champagne. Ooops, what is a Vintage Champagne you ask?
The main difference between a Vintage and non-Vintage Champagne, is not that the vintage is old but that it is made from the grapes of only one year’s harvest, whereas non-vintage Champagne is a blend of different years’ harvest. Champagne Houses and growers provide a continuous house style through the blending of various vintages, to create the yearly non-vintage Champagne. Whereas a good quality year, will produce a typically fuller, deeper Champagne, making it a vintage year. So, Vintage Champagne must be made 100% from the year indicated on the label. Ooops again, what is a Champagne House? Think: Veuve Cliquot, Moet-Chandon, they are large champagne houses that purchase grapes, even cases of bulk wine from independent growers.
So, take a look at those labels on your bubbly options. Try to taste test a few and chill out. Literally, Champagne, Prosecco, Cava should be served chilled (50-57-degrees), not cold. You do want your investment to speak to you and your guests with full wisdom, that means allowing it to release it's full range of flavors, fruits, notes and nuts! Please your palate first, price second!