Indubitably, sparkling wine consumption has increased by leaps and bounds during the last decade.
This is due mostly because of improved flavours, styles, lower prices, and marketing undertaken by prosecco, champagne, and other French sparkling wine producing regions, not to speak of the U.S.A Spain, Ontario in Canada, and Australia.
Sparkling wines taste crisp, refreshing, and full of character that are great on their own but can also be paired with all kinds of dishes providing they are dry. Most sparkling wines are white, and a few red. Rose sparkling wines are becoming increasingly more popular, especially rose champagnes.
There are various techniques of sparkling wine production – Cremant – less vigorous, much less expensive than champagne, but can be very appealing. Cremant d’Alsace, Cremant de Boutgogne are well known for their dryness, minerality, flavour and appeal.
Cava- proprietary term for Spanish sparkling wines employing methode champenoise or method Charmat. Xarello, parellada and macabeo grapes represent the basis for CAVA blends. Some producers blend small amounts of chardonnay grown in Spain. Catalonia is the largest producer of Cava wines. Prosecco from Veneto in Italy is produced by the Chramat method. It can be sparkling or semi sparkling using the grape variety called galera. Prosecco wines are relatively inexpensivem ay be dry or off dry.
Lombardy produces Franciacorta sparkling wines that employ the champagne method and are relatively expensive. Blanc de blancs on teh label means the wine is made using white grapes only. Blanc de noirs simply means that the wine contains only red grapes (mostly pinot noir in France, shiraz in Australia for red sparkling wines. Tasmania uses pinot noir and chardonnay).
Champagne – the region is famous for its sparkling wines using mostly pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay. There, seven grape varieties in total are permitted but not often used. Methode champenoise requires the most labour, but now machines have been invented to do the riddling, cutting costs.
Here are a few suggestions you may want to try:
(All prices are L.C.B.O 2015)
Special Cuvee Brut Champagne, Bollinger, Champagne
Expression Brut Cremant de Limoux, 2012 Southern France
Brute Reserva Heredad Cava, Segura Viudas, Methode Traditonelle, Penedes, Catalunya, Spain
Cuvee sS. Flavy Brut Champagne, Gardet, France
Brut Sparkling Roderer Estates, Mendocino, California
Tierra Sur Brut, Santa Alicia, Bio Bio Valley, Chile
1868 Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Carpene Malvolti, Veneto, Italy
Sparkling Limestone Riesling, 2013, Tawse Winery, Ontario
Tasmanian Cuvee, Josef Chromy, Tasmania, Australia
Showcase Five, Blanc de Noirs, Trius, Ontario
Brut Vouvray, Domaine de Vaugondy, Loire Valley, France
Blanc de Noirs Methode Traditonelle, Domaine Chandon, California
Creamant d’Àlsace Brut Rose, Pierre Sparr, Alsace, France
Brachetto d’Àqui Rose,Viticoltori d’Acquesi, Piedmont, Italy