Those of you who read yesterday's post now know everything there is to know about the production of Champagne. Well, at least you know where the bubbles come from. Today, I just wanted to cover a couple of sparkling wines from other areas of the world.
This is a sparkling wine from Spain, and is also the name of the DO (which is the governmentally regulated appellation that it comes from). The Cava DO is a bit confusing, because it is broken up, and has small patches all over Spain. The vast majority of the wine comes from an area called the Penedes in the NE section of the company, near Barcelona. They are made from Parellada, Xarel-lo, and Macabeo grapes. Most Cavas have a slightly bready taste, and should be drunk young- they don't tend to age very well. You will know it is a true Cava, as it will have a 5-pointed star printed on the bottom of the cork. Try the wines from Codorniu, or Avinyo- they are delicious, and should cost less than $15.
Break out the Bellinis! This is a (usually) dry, appley tasting wine from the Veneto in Northern Italy. It is made from the Prosecco grape, and can be made either lightly sparkling (frizzante), or fully sparkling (spumante). If you are looking for quality, look for either "Conegliano" or "Valdobbiadene" on the label (this has to do with the DOC, the appellation, that it comes from). Sometime this summer, you must buy a bottle of Prosecco (try Le Bellerive) and put some peach nectar in it. You then sip your Bellini poolside, and wonder what the poor people are doing!
The United states has several producers of quality sparkling wine. The best ones are making them from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes, but some stray off that path. Just look for "method champenoise" on the label, and go for it. I have already recommended Gruet. You can also try ones from Iron Horse, Soter, Gloria Ferrer, and Scharffenberger for some quality good times.
This is a sparkling wine from Germany. They are typically made from Riesling, and fruity/sweet in style. I have only tried one, and it was okay. I would rather spend the energy finding a quality Champagne. If any of you all have recommendations on a Sekt you have tried, let me know.
Tomorrow, a brief lesson on the terms on a champagne bottle.
My wife was giving me a small hard time about talking about Champagne, but then not recommending one. I really like to drink "Grower's Champagne"- these are very small production Champagnes made by individuals in France. They just have more soul to them than the big houses. If you can find it, try the A. Margaine Demi-Sec. It is wonderfully off-dry, and refreshing. It should also set you back less than $50 (which is pretty good for "true" Champagne!)