Other Bubbles, or “It’s Not Champagne!”

Two glasses of bubbly wine

Did you know that only 8 percent of the sparkling wines of the world come out of the Champagne region of France, while more
than 90 percent is produced outside this venerable region?

Many bubbles are made around
the world. Some of these employ the Champagne, or Traditional, method of fermentation, where the second fermentation (when the bubbles are formed) takes place in the bottle the wine is shipped in. Other bubbly wines are produced using different methods. For instance, Italian Prosecco is usually made using the “tank” method, where the second fermentation takes place in a large pressurized tank.

The fermentation method used can determine the final cost of the sparkling wine, with tank method production costing less. However, this does not mean the wines are necessarily inferior. Prosecco is meant to be a sparkling that preserves the crisp fresh fruit of the base wine, and tank method production allows this to shine through. Champagne method sparklings exhibit more yeasty, or autolytic, qualities, which can make the wines more complex and age worthy, but are usually more expensive due to the higher production costs.

In some cases the same grapes that comprise Champagne, that is, Chardonnay, Pinot
Noir, and Pinot Meunier, are used, but more often other grapes, like Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Shiraz, are employed to create crisp, refreshing, complex,
and delicious sparkling wines.

Hotter Climates, More Sparklings?

global climate conditions are contributing to an increase in sparkling wine
production in places formerly too cold to grow wine grapes. Tazmania, Patagonia,
and England are three far-flung regions of the world now producing scintillating
sparkling wines of depth and complexity.
In the case of England, the wines are
grown in the same “Paris Basin” soils of chalk as Champagne, which gives both
wines their distinctive minerality and racy acidity (see my previous posts on English wines).

Experience Other Bubbles

Gusbourne vineyards
Gusbourne in the UK makes sparkling and other wines.

On February 12, I will be hosting an in-store event at the Wine House in Los Angeles that will allow you to compare
and contrast more than 20 sparkling wines from a variety of countries.

You’ll be able to taste Cremant from France; Prosecco,
Franciacorta and Lambrusco from Italy; Sekt from Germany; and Cava from Spain.  Additionally, there will be approachable New World sparkling wines from California, Oregon,
and New Mexico, as well as Tazmanian and Patagonian sparkling Pinot Noirs, and Australian
sparkling Shiraz. There may be some other surprises as well!

And you’ll be able to soak up the bubbles
with cheese and charcuterie from the Wine House’s newly expanded gourmet section.

Purchase tickets
for yourself or as a gift for the bubbles lover in your life. I hope to see you there!

Until next time,