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It’s a lot of Fizz!

Ever wondered what the difference is between Champagne, Prosecco and Cava. Well technically they are all sparkling wines but is that where the similarities end?

Geographically

Champagne can only be made in the champagne region of France which is an area to the East of Paris extending the the East of France. Cava used to be known as Spanish Champagne, but EU law now prevents this. It is generally made in Catalonia however can also be found in La Rioja, Castilla y Leon and other regions. Prosecco is from Italy and comes from the Veneto region.

Bubbles darling!

Champagne is made with the Champenoise method which is actually the same way that the Spanish make Cava and that South African makes Cap Classique, otherwise known as Traditional Method. There is a secondary fermentation that  takes place in the bottle and because of the yeast contact, the wine tends to have a more biscuity taste than Prosecco. It is also this secondary fermentation that provides the bubbles, however with Prosecco the secondary fermentation is done in a steel tank and then the wine is filtered, stabilized and finally transferred into bottles under pressure to retain the bubbles.

Fruitiness and Sugar

Grapes used in Champagne include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. For Cava you can have a choice of several including Pinot Noir, Macabeo, Perellada and Xarello. For Prosecco life is much simpler it can only be made of Glera well at least 85% of it, which is a white grape hence you, technically speaking cannot produce a Pink Prosecco. However, the Italians are looking for a way around this, so things may change soon.

All three can have varying levels of sweetness and this table indicates the levels of residual sugar and their corresponding description.

Champagne

Prosecco

Cava

Brut Nature (0-3g/l)

Brut (0-12g/L)

Brut Nature (0-3g/l)

Extra Brut (0-6g/l)

Extra Dry (12-17g/L)

Extra Brut (0-6g/l)

Brut (0-12g/l)

Dry (17-32 g/L)

Brut (0-12g/l)

Extra Sec (12-17g/l)

 

Extra Seco (12-17g/l)

Sec (17-32g/l)

 

Seco (17-32g/l)

Demi Sec (32-50g/l)

 

Demi Seco (32-50g/l)

Doux (50+g/l)

 

Dolce (50+g/l)

Finish

Well its all down to personal taste, Prosecco is generally lighter and fruitier hence it goes well as an aperitif and party bubbly. The Bubbles are less intense with a Frizzante style than with a Spumante style so less chance of an awkward Prosecco burp. Champagne is by far the most stylish choice, but the quality varies hugely, and the big brands tend to have a bigger price tag. English Sparkling are getting a huge amount of industry praise at the moment, as the world is warming up with climate change so our vineyards that would have previously struggled have fount that they can produce award winning Champagne style wines. 

 Cava sits happily in the middle with a fine mousse and elegant feel it’s moved on from the cheaper supermarket versions of the 90’s so if you haven’t had one lately maybe now is the time. Alternatively, and if you want to be really “out there” how about trying a Durello it’s the latest thing to arrive from Italy its light and zesty and all the Venetian locals are loving it, most importantly it’s a really good price.