Sparkling wines you must try that won’t break the bank
Champagne – the bubbly, playful, and stimulating wine has historically been associated with luxury and the parties of the aristocracy of Europe for centuries. A good bottle of Champagne is likely to cost you more than $50 a pop. And while a bottle of Champs can be totally worth the splurge, we are here to tell you there are some alternatives to Champagne out there that can be just as tasty.
Unsure where to start? Download the Sippd app to explore some alternatives to Champagne in a wine list we’re calling “Spectacular Sparklers”!
How do we get bubbles in our wine?
If you tuned into our “Dry-ish January” post, see here, you learned how we got alcohol in our wine through fermentation. If you were too busy recovering from your NYE quarantine celebrations (we get it), here’s a brief recap: the yeast eats the sugar in the grapes, leaving us with two byproducts- alcohol and CO2. When we make still wine, we remove CO2 and allow the alcohol to absorb into the wine.
Now we have a beautiful still wine in front of us that we want to make sparkling. To do this, we will start a second fermentation, but this time we won’t let the CO2 go, and we will allow it to be absorbed into the wine. Voila, you have bubbles! While there are around six different secondary fermentation methods used worldwide to get those luscious bubbles inside our wine, for this article, we will highlight the two most popular, traditional method (Champagne) and tank method (Prosecco).
Traditional Method (Champagne)
With a traditional method of sparkling wine, such as Champagne, the most important thing to know is that the vessel for the secondary fermentation will happen inside the bottle. During this process, the yeast has more intimate contact with the grape juice. As a result, you can expect a sparkling wine to be richer with notes of brioche, toast, and custard followed by subtle notes of lemon and apple.
Tank Method (Prosecco)
In a tank method sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, the secondary fermentation will happen in, you guessed it, a tank! These tanks are typically large and hold the wine of many future bottles of sparkling wine. This difference in sparkling wine production will produce a wine with a lighter structure with notes of delicate white flowers, pear, and apple.
What is Champagne?
Before we get into our alternatives to Champagne, let’s start by talking about what exactly Champagne is. In simple terms, Champagne is a traditional method sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France. This means, if we produce a traditional method sparkling wine in Spain, Australia, or the United States, we can not call it Champagne.
Due to its history, deliciousness, and the basic economics of supply and demand, Champagne can call for some high prices. Check out our list for some alternatives to Champagne for you to try today! P.S. And they’re all available to shop in the Sippd app.
Cava is a traditional method sparkling wine from Spain. Similar to Champagne, you can expect to find those toast-y, bread-y, yumm-y notes followed by yellow apple, sweet meyer lemon, and quince. The predominant grapes used to make this fun and tasty sparkler are Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello.
Prosecco, along with Champagne, is the most famous sparkling wine around the world. This bubbly is approachable, accessible, and extremely versatile. Prosecco must come from the Northeastern part of Italy, where it is a part of the everyday Italian lifestyle—produced using the tank method with delicate aromas of pear, apple, melon, and white flowers dancing on the palate.
This slightly sparkly, slightly sweet delicious wine that’s full of notes of honeysuckle, Meyer lemon, white flowers, and ripe pear is totally worth a try. While Moscato d’Asti is technically made with the tank method, it’s different in that it only goes through one fermentation. Therefore, it’s common to see the “Asti” method lingering around to describe this style of sparkling wine.
Lambrusco is a tank method sparkling wine that ranges in color between deep red and light pink. It originates from the gastronomic capital of the universe, also known as the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Lambrusco is extremely food-friendly, but some of our recommendations are Pizza, General Tso’s chicken, and grilled hamburgers.
Less common than Lambrusco, but super tasty. Brachetto, also known as Brachetto d’Acqui, is a semi-sparkling sweet red wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. Produced using the tank method, Brachetto is known for its floral and strawberry candied aromatics. Try Brachetto d’Aqui with a warm chocolate brownie for an unforgettable experience.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, you may want to swap out your usual glass of sparkling wine with a festive pink version. The good news is you can find rose sparkling wines produced in both the traditional and tank method. In both Champagne Rose and Prosecco Rose, they use the skins of a Pinot Noir grape to give the juice a slight touch of blush. In addition to the color, this process brings subtle structure and layered nuances of red fruit aromas.
While we love sipping Champagne here at Sippd, we believe that sparkling wines don’t have to only be for a special occasion. In fact, if we learned anything from this pandemic, it should be to celebrate everyday life a bit more. There are plenty of alternatives to Champagne out there for you to try that won’t break the bank.
What are you waiting for? Download Sippd for free and head to the “Spectacular Sparklers” list to find your new favorite alternative to Champagne in seconds. We’ll even give you a 1-100% personalized wine score (what we call “Taste Match”) to each wine, so you know how much you’ll enjoy the bottle before you even taste it. Download Sippd for free. Enjoy!