â€œCome quickly, Iâ€™m drinking the stars,â€ is a famous quote from the 1880â€™s and is a reference to drinking Champagne.Â Tomorrow on New Yearâ€™s Eve, millions of people around the world will be celebrating with a glass of sparkling wine, not Champagne!Â Let me explainâ€¦
Champagne is actually a region in France where some of the best sparkling wines in the world are produced.Â Everywhere else in the world, wineries produce sparkling wines.Â Confused yet?Â All wines produced that have â€œbubblesâ€ are sparkling wines.Â In order for the label to state â€œChampagne,â€ it must be from the Champagne region of France.Â You will find some California sparkling wines that state â€œCalifornia Champagne,â€ but they are required to state â€œCalifornia.â€
So what is the differenceâ€¦nothing!Â Most sparkling wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle which creates the bubbles in the bottle.Â The two most common grapes used to produce sparkling wines are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Â Â
Now that we now know the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine, letâ€™s take a look at the different â€œstylesâ€ of sparkling wines.Â The following list is in order of driest to sweetest.
BRUT:Â Brut is ALWAYS the driest style of sparkling wine produced.
EXTRA DRY:Â Extra Dry is actually in the middle of the scale when we are talking about sweetness.Â As confusing as it may be, BRUT IS DRIER THAN EXTRA DRY!
BLANC DE NOIR:Â Blanc de Noir translates to â€œwhite on red,â€ which means it is made with Pinot Noir grapes.Â This style will have a soft pink color and be similar in dryness to an extra dry.
BLANC DE BLANC:Â Blanc de Blanc translates to â€œwhite on white,â€ which means it is produced with Chardonnay grapes.Â Blanc de Blanc is similar to Extra Dry.
SEMI-SECO or DEMI SEC: A slightly sweet sparkling wine
ASTI:Â Asti is a region in Italy that produces a sweet sparkling wine produced from Moscato grapes.Â Similar to Champagne, the wine must be produced in Asti to have the Asti name on the bottle.Â Always one of the best sellers, Asti is commonly referred to as â€œAsti Spumante.â€Â A few years ago, Asti producers removed â€œSpumanteâ€ from their label so that Asti would not be confused with the â€œSpumanteâ€ that was being produced in other parts of the world.Â California wines labeled â€œSpumanteâ€ are very similar to Asti!
BRACHETTO:Â Another sparkling wine specific to Italy, Brachetto is a sweet, red sparkling wine.
MOSCATO Dâ€™ ASTI:Â Almost exactly the same story as Asti, but Moscato dâ€™ Asti has smaller bubbles and a little less fizz.Â This small difference gives Moscato dâ€™ Asti a richer flavor and tends to taste a little sweeter than Asti.
Â As you head out to purchase your bottle of bubbly for the New Year, donâ€™t forget the sparkling apple juice or sparkling grape juice for friends and family who prefer a non-alcoholic sparkling drink!
Have fun, be safe and Happy New Year to everyone!