Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Beyond
Sparkling wines are increasingly gaining popularity among consumers as they want to explore more beyond red and white wines. As the wine market continues to evolve, wine lovers have more and more varieties to choose from, that too coming from all corners of the world and at every price point. So, while there was a time when a premium sparkling wine was only Champagne, people can also try out other options like Prosecco and Cava. But how are these sparkling wines different from each other?
Champagne Vs Prosecco Vs Cava: What’s the difference between these sparkling wines
The major difference between these three sparkling wines is the regions in which they are produced. While Champagne comes from the Champagne region in France, Prosecco hails from Northeastern Italy and Cava belongs to Spain. However, the difference doesn’t end here. The wines use different varieties of grapes and techniques for carbonation. Let us go over some chief characteristics of each of these sparkling wines to understand how different or similar they are.
Winemakers in the Champagne region use Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier varieties of grapes to make this sparkling wine. Costing anything above Rs 7,000, the value of this sparkling wine lies in the method used to manufacture it. In the traditional method, winemakers add yeast and sugar to the base wine and transfer it to the bottles. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation within wine bottles, creating pressure within the bottle as the resultant CO2 has nowhere to go. Since the traditional method requires a lot of expertise, patience and monitoring, it is expensive.
This wine is produced in Northern Italy from the Glera variety of grapes, which was earlier known as Prosecco. Winemakers can add other indigenous varieties of grapes like Verdiso, Bianchetta, Perera, etc., as long as Glera makes up for 85 percent of the blend. Apart from the grape variety and region, one of the key ways in which Prosecco differs from Champagne is how it’s made.
Winemakers use the tank method to make Prosecco- they add a mix of yeast and sugar to the base wine and transfer it into huge steel tanks, which are then sealed shut. Since the carbon dioxide has nowhere to go, it carbonates the wine in the tank. Once the process is complete, the winemakers transfer the sparkling wine into bottles. However, such a sparkling wine has a lower value than the one made using the traditional method. The starting price for Prosecco in India is Rs 2000.
Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the main varieties of grapes used to make this Spanish sparkling wine. Like Champagne, Cava too undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle (traditional method). Thus, many experts are of the opinion that Cava resembles Champagne more than Prosecco does. However, the starting price for Cava is Rs 1500 since it is lesser known than both Champagne and Prosecco.
You may be wondering why Champagne costs so much more than Cava and Prosecco.
Is it just the process? Or the grape varieties being used?
Not just these two factors, Champagne also costs more because of its popularity and branding. Due to its indelible association with words like celebration and luxury, Champagne is the go-to for anyone who seeks to buy premium bubbly.
Both Cava and Prosecco have premium variants on offer for buyers who are willing to explore.
While we have primarily discussed white sparkling wines, Champagne, Cava and Prosecco are all available in red and rosé styles as well. And not just these three, try as many sparkling wines as you can to refine your palate.