Is there a difference between champagne and sparkling wine? Prosecco vs. Cava? The biddies revisit a favorite topic – bubbles! They revamp episode #2 to include more kinds of bubbles. Join them as they dive into Champagne, Cremant, Cava + other Spanish sparkling wine and Prosecco.

This episode includes:

  • A quick overview of the different methods of making sparkling wine, primarily the traditional or champagne method, the tank method (also known as charmat), the transfer method and the ancestral method
  • An overview of the different between champagne cremant, cava and prosecco
  • Which wines can be actually use the word “champagne” on their label
  • What makes a cava and types of spanish sparkling wine that broke away from the cava designation

*This is an encore release of Episode 2 – Intro to Champagne Method Bubbles, with broader scope! The same content but updated and re-recorded for higher quality sound.*

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Study Notes for Intro to Sparkling Wine:

While you can “carbonate” wine, the majority (and certainly not good) bubbles are made using special techniques.

“Sparkling Wine” can be from anywhere and created a few different ways. Some specific sparkling wines need to be from specific areas.

Traditional Method 

  • Fermented twice – traditional in bottle second time (riddling)
  • Dosage added at end

Tank Method (Charmat)

Transfer Method

Ancestral Method 

Champagne

  • Always from France, Champagne region specifically
  • Always use traditional method
  • Calla to go into a bit more detail about Champagne bottle selected

Cremant

  • From France (outside of Champagne) or Luxembourg
  • Cremant wines have slightly more relaxed regulations than champagnes
  • all Crémant wines must adhere to requirements such as manual harvesting of grapes, whole bunch pressing with limited must extraction (100 liters of juice from 150 kg grapes–think of it like extra virgin olive oil), and a minimum of nine months lees aging.
  • Cremants utilize slightly different grapes than Champagne, and the blend depends on the region
  • Crémant de Limoux is most often made from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Mauzac and Pinot Noir are used as blending grapes.
  • It has been elegantly debated with a great deal of historic rigor that Limoux – not Champagne – was the first region in France to produce sparkling wine.
  • Thomas Jefferson: Monticello cellar at the time of Jefferson’s death came from southern France: red Ledanon, white Limoux, Muscat de Rivesalte, and a Bergasse imitation red Bordeaux
  • In version 1, Kara drank: Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Thomas Jefferson
  • Calla has a cremant

Prosecco

  • The popular white wine and a favorite of holiday celebrations comes from the Veneto and Friuli growing areas in the northeastern part of Italy. It is made with Glera (which used to be called Prosecco) and Pinor Noir grapes varieties, in a combination that includes 85% Glera grapes and a maximum of 10-15% of Pinot Noir, though it can also include Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio.
  • Unlike Champagne or Cava, Prosecco is made using the Charmat-Martinotti method, where the second fermentation lasts at least 60 days in pressurized tanks, instead of bottles.

Cava

  • Cava is made with native grapes like Macabeu, Xarello and Parellada, but it can also include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Garnacha and Monastrell. Its production process is similar to that of Champagne, though it’s called traditionelle.
  • Kara’s wine: Raventos i Blanc Blanc de Blancs – technically not a Cava!
    • We present a Blanc de Blancs with 5% Malvasia from Sitges, and the rest with the traditional native varieties; Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada.
    • 40% Xarel·lo: Goblet and Espaliertrained vines between 1974 and 1990. 
    • 39% Macabeu: Goblet and Espaliertrained vines between 1982 and 2000. 158% Parellada:  Goblet-trained vines between 1969 and 1989.
    • 6% Malvasia de Sitges
    • The Raventós i Blanc estate, which has belonged to the Raventós family since 1497, covers 300 acres of vineyards, woodlands and a lake in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. Following this line of succession, in 1872 Josep Raventós Fatjó made the first bottle-fermented wine in Spain using native grapes from this estate. Raventós i Blanc, the longest, documented viticulture tradition in the world, owned by the same family since 1497.
    • In November 2012, the family decided to leave the DO Cava and create their own more strictly defined and geographically specific appellation: Conca del Riu Anoia – also with more of a focus on native varietals and increased lees aging.
  • Other non-Cava sparkling DO’s to look out for: Classic Penedes, Corpinnat (4 C’s with Cava and Conca del Riu Anoia)

Vocab

Dosage: Pronounced like it’s French (doe-SAHJ), dosage, sometimes called a liqueur d’expedition, refers to the wine-and-sugar mixture that’s added to a bottle of sparkling wine at the very end of the production process. But what, precisely, the dosage consists of determines the taste of the wine. Small amounts of sugar may still result in a dry-tasting wine if the sugar is balancing high, tart acidity. Wines labeled “demi-sec” or “doux” will have quite a bit of sugar and will taste sweet. “Brut” and “Extra Brut” wines taste dry. Wines labeled as Brut Nature or Brut Zero, which have no dosage added, will taste drier still, and possibly a little too austere for some palates.

Cuvee: Batch of sparkling wine

CALLA’S WINE – Laurent Perrachon et Fils – Cremant De Bourgogne

  • Currently 5th and 6th generations are running it

Made from 100% Chardonnay from 25 year old vines planted in clay and limestone soils in the Macon, grapes are all handpicked and the wine spends 12 months on the lees before disgorgement. 

Laurent & Maxime (Wife) Perrachon work this 30 hectare (74 acre) domaine and have holdings in six of the ten crus of Beaujolais, as well as some vines in the Macon (used to produce Cremant). Domaine founded in 1877 but Perrachon name dates back to 1601 in Julienas history. (When the Roman legions first arrived, they found themselves surrounded by the Gallic men. As they quenched their thirst, they saw that the Gauls had decorated their huts with skulls in a show of submission, From this is where the name of Julienas is came.

 There could be a similar village called Jullié at one point, but there is no evidence of this. The name Juliénas instead came from two words: “Julius” and “As” meaning property of.)