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I'm sure you've heard (& drunk) Champagne. It's a status symbol & with the beautiful complex taste also expensive. If you're looking to go Sparkling, celebrating a special occasion, but the budget is tight, look at these alternatives.
But, before you start, please don't look at these as replacements for Champagne, as some are even better (trust me).
Cava is the sparkling wine from Spain. Made in the Traditional Method way, the same way how Champagne is made, it uses the grape types of Macabeu, Xarl-Lo & Perellada. A rose version is made too, adding some Pinot Noir, Monastrell or Garnacha. The main region for producing Cava is Penedes, Catalonia, near the city of Barcelona. Although Cava is produced the same way that Champagne is produced, it has more robust bubbles, is lower in acidity & has more green & citrus fruit flavours. Cava is cheaper than Champagne, because the addition of the sweetness (tirage) & rotating process is done by machine rather than by hand. Cava DO is the official appellation of Cava. When in the store, look out for labels with Cava on them. There isn’t a real distinction that can be seen on the label, but some wine makers will age their Cava, creating more complex nutty & baked apple notes.
Prosecco might by, after Champagne, the most popular sparkling wine out there. Coming from the Veneto & Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region in North-East Italy, it made of the Glera grape. Prosecco is made the Tank Method way, whereby the 2nd fermentation is done in tank. This way is foremost much cheaper, but also it lets the wine retains its freshness. Prosecco is a dry, easy-to-drink wine with crispy fruity notes. The bubbles might be different too, with a Frizzante having tiny bubbles & Spumante more robust bubbles. When in the store, look out for labels with Prosecco or Prosseco Treviso DOC on them for more entry-level. The more complex (& more expensive) ones shall have Prosecco Superiore DOCG or Conegliano-Valdobbiadene on them.
Cremant is the other sparkling wine made in France. Made across the country, it has a pleasant creamy texture & flavour. It’s made in the same way as Champagne, the Traditional Method way. Known areas you might find are Cremants from Alsace, Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bordeaux & Loire. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir are the main base grape varieties, with in each region additional grapes used to create their ‘’own’’, expressing regional characteristics. For example: Pinot Blanc, Riesling & Pinot Gris in the Alsace, Aligote in Burgundy, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux & Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc in Loire. A rosé version they do too.
Sekt is the spakling wine from Germany. It´s made in the same way as Prosecco, the Tank Method that is. Sekt is made from the Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris & Pinot Noir grape varieties & are in general lower in alcohol with sweeter notes of apple, pear & white flowers. There are 2 types of Sekt. One can contain grape varieties imported from countries like France, Spain or Itally & blended in Germany. This is the cheapest of the 2. The other is called Deutscher Sekt, that has been made with grapes only coming from Germany. The first is dominating the market & you will see this in most of the wine stores. Although, a label showing the vintage & vineyards name on the label represents quality. If you’re looking for the best, look out for Winzersekt or Sekt b.A., as these come from small estates in destined German wine regions. Rosé versions are made too.