When thinking of bubbles, Champagne is king.
Made in France, in the region with the same name, Champagne is produced using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. This iconic sparkling wine is made through the traditional method, where the second fermentation and bubbles creation happens in the bottle.
But, did you know there are plenty of other sparkling around the world?
They are made in the same way, they are as exquisite and, definitely, worth trying!
Here we give you five alternatives to Champagne that will get you more bang for your buck!
Crémant is how the French call sparkling wine other than Champagne. There are plenty of appellations that carry crémants, but Crémant de Loire is one of the most popular. Made in the central part of Northern France, besides Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is not uncommon to blend Chenin Blanc or Cabernet Franc. The aromas of citrus, hazelnut and hints of licorice set them apart, and they’re ideal as an apéritif or with oysters.
Franciacorta is a sparkling from Lombardy region, also made via the traditional method. The possible grape blend includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. There are different styles and qualities to choose from: Franciacorta, Satén, Millesimato and Riserva, and Rosé. Like other sparkling wines it ranges from nature to démi-sec. These wines represent the sensory characteristics of the terroir. Franciacortas display a fruity profile (citrus, bone fruit) an alternative to Champagne which is a touch more aromatic.
Sparkling from Trento DOC is made in the region of Trentino, in the Dolomite Mountains, in North East of Italy. The appellation is rather new, it was established only in 1993. However, these wines have over 100 years of history when Giulio Ferrari returned to the area after studying the ways of working in Champagne. The vines are planted in terraces, exposing the grapes to the sun, which helps the wine display fruity characteristics. The refreshing nights allow to preserve high acidity. Depending on the length of time the wine is on its lees there are three different classifications: Brut, Millesimato and Riserva. The crisp and refreshing acidity, the typical stone and berry fruit aromas make this wine ideal to pair with fish and pasta dishes.
These are only a couple of the alternatives to Champagne that Italy offers. You can find out more about Italian sparkling wines reading here!
California has made a name of its own in the wine world. And that includes of course sparkling wine made via the “Méthode Champenoise” aka Traditional Method. Sparkling wine production concentrates in the northern regions (i.e. Napa, Sonoma). Here, the climate and refreshing breezes from the Pacific allow for the perfect conditions to preserve the right acidity in the grapes. Yet, there are also some exciting sparkling wines produced in the Central Coast and Southern regions, the next bottle as surprising as the last.
England surely does not come to mind when thinking about wine-producing countries. However, wine production has boomed in Sussex, Surrey and Kent in the last two decades. Especially for top-quality sparkling wines. Made with the same grapes, techniques and even similar chalky soils as Champagne, English sparkling wines is delicious. It displays a higher level of mouth-watering and crisp acidity due to the slightly cooler climate and the influence of the sea. It’s another great alternative choice to Champagne.
If you want to stand out, why not surprise your guests with one of the above choices in your next event? Offer them a surprising alternative to Champagne. We promise you will definitely win them over!
I hope you enjoyed this short guide to different yet great sparkling wines.
Are you curious about discovering new sparkling wine? Have a look at latest article about great sparkling wine producers near Milan. And, reach out on Twitter or Instagram to tell me more about you and your love for wine. It will be great to hear from you!