Last week, Brenda discussed canned wines as a hot trend for wine in 2017. This week, we bring you another great wine trend; Sparkling Wines!
I am a HUGE fan of bubbles and enjoy trying a new bottle whenever I can, so I love that experts are saying sparkling wines will continue to be hot in 2017. I love that restaurants and bars are adding more bubbles to their menus. Recently, Entrepreneur noted sparkling wine as a major wine trend in 2016 because, “It’s lower in alcohol (so ostensibly you can drink more), lower in calories (so ostensibly you can drink more) and bubbles just seem to make us happy”. Who doesn’t want to drink more and be happy? You can count me in.
There are many styles and finishes of sparkling wine out there. I am by no means a wine expert, but I’ve complied some “sparkling wine basics” and some of my favorite go to bottles.
To start, sparkling wine has a fascinating history full of myths and contention. One of the most well know myths is that a Benedictine Monk in the 17th century named Dom Perignon invented the process for making French Champagne. This myth might not be completely accurate but the iconic brand Dom Perignon, is named after him. Dom Perignon is produced by the famed champagne house Moet & Chandon. You can read more about the myth on VinePair and how the two techniques for making sparkling wines, came to be.
The two techniques for making sparkling wine are, the Charmat-Martinotti method or Italian method and the Champagne method. Vinepair describes, “the real difference between the Charmat-Martinotti method and the Champagne method is the ultimate taste of the wine. Wines in the Charmat-Martinotti method tend to be younger and fruitier while wines made using the Champagne method are often drier and less fruity”. In addition to Champagne the most well-known sparkling, there are several other types of sparkling wines that are usually named after the region where the grapes were produced or the type of grapes used. Cava from Spain, and Prosecco from Italy for example.
I often hear people say they stay away from sparkling wines because of the sugar content or because it’s “too sweet”. Surprising to many, including myself, sparkling wines can have less residual sugar than red or white wine, depending on the finish. Here is a great chart from Wine Folly that shows residual sugar in sparkling wine based on the finish; Brut Nature, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi Sec from dry to sweet, in that order. I personally like drier wines, with less residual sugar so I look for Brut on the label. I’ve never had a Brut Nature, so I’ll add trying one to my 2017 goals. I’ve read they can be tough on the palette though and harder to find.
If you are new to sparkling wines or are looking for a new bottle to try, here are some of the bubbles I love:
- I’ve always loved Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2013. It’s a brut in the $30 range, so great for a special occasion. Blancs de Blancs are made of 100% chardonnay grapes.
- I stumbled onto Scharffenberger Brut Excellence non-vintage in Costco and love it. It’s made with the traditional champagne process but with grapes from Mendocino, California and is in the $20 range.
- Are you familiar with Cava? Cava is Spain’s sparkling wine claim to fame. Freixenet Sparkling Cordon Negro Brut Cava is a very affordable and pleasant non-vintage in the $12 range. I love the bottle, it has a very 1920s vibe.
- Schramsberg as makes a Sparkling Brut Rosè 2013. This Rosè is described as flavorful, complex and dry. It’s another splurge in the $30 range, but it received 92 points from Wine Spectator and in my opinion, well worth it.
- Mumm Napa Brut Prestige is a tried and true, non-vintage favorite that you can find almost anywhere fine wine is sold. Also in the $20 range.
- Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve was another great Costco find for me in the $20 range. It’s described as having an abundance of bubbles, white fruit forward with a fresh opening, smooth, pleasant and balanced. I had a few glasses of this during the holidays and it made me happy.
Can you tell I like bubbles?! I hope you try some of these bottles and enjoy. If you have any bottles you love, I'd love to hear from you.