It’s nearly June, so that means summer has finally dropped, at least for those of us who reside well above the equator. Warm weather means beaches, vacations, less work –basically, it’s an extended party. So it’s certainly a season worth celebrating with wine. But instead of reaching for that same old Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc during the balmy months, try drinking something evocative of this festive season: the sparkling wines of Spain and Italy, Cava and Prosecco.
Before we get into the whys, there are a few of you who are probably thinking, aren’t all wines that bubble the same? Well, yes and no. Yes, they are all wines that have fizz born into them, but the style and content of what goes into the liquids are as different as the music of Jay Z and Taylor Swift.
First, let’s break down the difference between the leading sparkling wines out there, Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco, especially for those of you who just want to drink something you like and not complicate the whole situation. In the simplest of terms, what you need to know is:
Champagne is made in Champagne, France and only uses these grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier, and pinot noir. Its tastes are citrus and fruit and very dry. This is the original sparkling wine. It is still the gold standard.
Prosecco is made in Venice, Italy, uses only these grape: glera. It’s light, flowery, sweet and dry in taste.
Cava is made in Catalonia, Spain, and uses only these grapes: macabeu, parellada, and xarello. The taste is drier than Prosecco, more on the level with Champagne.
AND there you have it. Not soooo complicated. The same bubbly wine, made in different ways. It’s a veritable World Cup of European sparkling wine. There is more about the fermentation process, that which makes it bubble, but that’s another granular level that we don’t need to get into today.
Now to the why. Because really, why Cava or Prosecco?
- We’ve eliminated Champagne from this discussion because, while we truly appreciate all that the French have done to perfect wine that sparkles, it’s price point, at least $40 for a decent bottle, puts this wine out of reach for many (unless you have some cash to throw down, in which case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us over here at WineNight!).
- Prosecco was once known as the “poor man’s Champagne” but it’s gotten so damn good, it outsold Champagne in 2013.
- Prosecco is the best choice for making mimosas! Need we say more?
- Cava is often more complex taste-wise than Prosecco, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- Did we mention you can find awesome bottles of Cava and Prosecco for $15?
- If you’re throwing a party that involves food and drinking during the daytime, Cava is a great choice because it’s not all that well known in the States yet, so it will make you look like a wine expert.
There really is no bad choice here, between deciding between thhese amazing sparkling wines from Europe. Each sip is like a party in a glass. And if you’re too busy or don’t have the cash to make it to the Mediterranean this summer, at least when you’re drinking Cava or Prosecco near or at your local beach, you can feel as though you are.