Champagne is the traditional wine to celebrate with, but it’s not the only sparkling wine out there or even everyone’s favorite. Keep reading to learn more about sparkling wines and how to best enjoy them.
How Sparkling Wine Is Made
Sparkling wine has carbon dioxide bubbles in it to make it fizzy, just like soda. To classify as a sparkling wine, it must have at least 3 additional atmospheres of pressure (about 44 psi). For reference, Champagne generally has about 6 additional atmospheres of pressure, making it very fizzy, while sparkling Prosecco has about 3.5 additional atmospheres.
Winemakers can add bubbles to wine in many ways, but the two most common are the traditional and the tank methods.
In traditionally made sparkling wine, like true Champagne, the winemaker ferments grapes to create a basic wine, then bottles that wine with extra sugar and yeast. The yeast consumes the sugar during this second fermentation in the bottle and emits carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Finally, the winemaker lets the wine age in the bottle and removes sediment to clarify the wine.
This method is time-tested but expensive. Most modern wines are not made this way.
In the tank method, the winemaker puts the base wine into a tank with sugar and yeast for the second fermentation instead of in individual bottles. After the fermentation, the winemaker filters out sediment and bottles the wine.
This process is less costly than the traditional method without compromising on quality. Thanks to this modern winemaking technique, everyone can afford an excellent bottle of sparkling wine.
How to Enjoy Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine is at its best when well-chilled. Generally, about 30 minutes in ice water or 3 hours in the refrigerator will get it to the right temperature. While you can drink sparkling wines from whatever type of glass you have available, many people prefer slender flutes because they preserve the bubbles better.
Sparkling wines are versatile and can pair with a huge variety of foods. Take a look at the flavor profile of the specific wine you’re interested in to see what it would work well with, but you should be able to find a sparkling wine that works with whatever event you want to celebrate, whether that’s your 10th anniversary party or a casual brunch.