By Anthony Gorea of Valley Wine and Liquor of Herkimer NY
What is the difference between Champagne and Sparkling wine? The is the question many customers ask us at Valley Wine and liquor in Herkimer NY. Most people tend to believe that all sparkling or bubbly wines are champagne because they are usually grouped together in stores. Prior to opening Valley I always thought that anything sparkling with a popping cork was Champagne, like the bottle in the picture. I was pleasantly surprised once I was informed that this is not the case. After reading this you will understand why the French get so upset when we mistake a sparkling wine for Champagne.
In order for a sparkling wine to be considered Champagne it has to come from a designated region of France. The region is aptly named The Champagne Wine Region and it is located south of Paris. Laws have been put in place stating that the term “Champagne” can only be applied to a product if it comes from this area. If it does not come from this area then it is a sparkling wine and NOT champagne. You might have thought that the difference between the two would be more complex, but it is not. It’s location, location, location!
*Great Western Extra Dry
*Freixenet Cava Brut
*Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante…
these are all items that people tend to believe are champagnes. As you now know, these items are not champagnes. These are what would be considered sparkling or bubbly wines. While some of them may taste very similar to champagne, the only difference is the area in which the products are produced. So what about Prosecco? Italian people love to believe that this is champagne, but it is not. While it is produced in Italy it is essentially Italy’s version of champagne. Technicalities prevent it from being champagne. Prosecco tends to be a little bit sweeter than champagne without being as sweet as an Asti Spumante.
Some common uses for champagnes and sparkling wines are celebratory toasts and mimosas. Toasts are the epitome of celebrations like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Weddings, and Anniversaries. Mimosas are a very popular and common drink that you might find at a brunch. Whatever the occasion may be, you can now impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of champagne!