Sparkling Wine vs Champagne: What's the Difference?


Are sparkling wine and champagne the same thing? While both are bubbly and celebratory, they are not interchangeable. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine can be called champagne.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between sparkling wine and champagne, the specific grapes used, production methods, and what to consider when buying them.

What is Champagne?

Champagne is a sparkling wine that is exclusively produced in the Champagne region of France. Only sparkling wines produced in this region using specific grapes and methods can be called champagne.

The three grape varietals that are typically used in champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These grapes are grown in the cool climate of the Champagne region and are carefully selected for their quality.

What is Sparkling Wine?

Sparkling wine, on the other hand, is a broad category of wine that includes all types of wine that have bubbles. Unlike champagne, sparkling wine can be produced anywhere in the world using a variety of grapes and methods.

Sparkling wine can be made from red or white grapes and can have different levels of sweetness.

Types of Sparkling Wine

Prosecco

Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine made from Glera grapes. It is typically less expensive than champagne and has a lighter, fruitier taste.

Prosecco is often used in cocktails such as Aperol Spritz and is a popular choice for brunch.

Cava

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that is made using the same traditional method as champagne. It is typically made from Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes, and has a dry, citrusy taste.

Crémant

Crémant is a French sparkling wine that is made using the traditional method. It can be produced in different regions of France and is made from a variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Chenin Blanc.

Crémant is often less expensive than champagne but still has a complex and nuanced flavour.

Sekt

Sekt is a German sparkling wine that is typically made from Riesling grapes. It can be produced using the traditional method or the tank method and is often less expensive than champagne.

Rosé

Rosé sparkling wine is made from a variety of grapes and can be produced using the traditional method or the tank method. It has a pink colour and can have different levels of sweetness, from bone-dry to sweet.

Champagne

Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that is exclusively produced in the Champagne region of France using the traditional method. There are several different types of champagne, including Blanc de Blancs (made from Chardonnay grapes), Blanc de Noirs (made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes), and Rosé (made from a combination of red and white grapes).

Production Methods for Champagne and Sparkling Wine

The Traditional Method

The traditional method, also known as the méthode champenoise, is used to produce champagne and many other types of sparkling wine. The method involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which creates the bubbles.

The wine is then aged on the lees (dead yeast cells) for a period of time, which gives it its characteristic flavour and complexity.

The Tank Method

The tank method, also known as the Charmat method, is used to produce sparkling wine. This method involves a secondary fermentation that takes place in large tanks, rather than in individual bottles.

The wine is then bottled under pressure to create the bubbles.

Differences Between Sparkling Wine and Champagne

As mentioned before, one of the main differences between sparkling wine and champagne is that champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, using specific grapes and methods. Sparkling wine, on the other hand, can be produced in any part of the world using different types of grapes and production methods.

Another significant difference is the level of carbonation. Champagne is known for its high levels of carbonation, which creates a creamy texture and persistent bubbles in the glass, while Sparkling wines can vary in carbonation levels, depending on the production method and style.

The ageing process is also another significant difference between the two. Champagne is typically aged for a minimum of 15 months, while some premium varieties can be aged for several years, while Sparkling wine can be aged for a shorter time or not at all, depending on the style and winemaker's preference.

Lastly, the price is a significant difference between the two. Champagne, being a luxury product, is generally more expensive than sparkling wines, which are available in various price ranges to suit different budgets.

What to Consider When Buying Champagne and Sparkling Wine

When buying champagne or sparkling wine, there are several things to consider, such as:

Style: Champagne and sparkling wines come in various styles, such as brut, extra brut, and demi-sec, each with varying levels of sweetness. Consider the occasion and the food you will be pairing it with to select the appropriate style.

Production Method: The production method can significantly affect the wine's flavour and texture. Traditional method wines, such as champagne, are generally more complex and offer a richer taste, while other methods, such as the tank method, create a lighter, fruitier wine.

Grapes: The type of grapes used can also affect the wine's flavour and aroma. Champagne is usually made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, while sparkling wines can be made from different varieties such as Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Moscato.

Brand and Price: As with any wine, the brand and price can significantly impact the quality of the wine. Higher-priced champagne and sparkling wines may offer a better taste and texture than lower-priced options, but this is not always the case.

It is always a good idea to read reviews and recommendations before making a purchase.

Discover Where to Buy the Finest Champagne and Sparkling Wine Today!

Look no further than Franks Premier Wines! Our online store is one of the best places to buy premium wine, but we also recommend checking out your local wine shops and liquor stores.

Shopping online? Be sure to read reviews and ratings to make sure you're getting a quality product. However, if you are shopping from our website, you can always be confident knowing you will only find premium wineries and you will also have access to seeing reviews from customers all year round.

Don't hesitate to contact our customer service for assistance in finding the perfect bottle. For a more intimate experience, we suggest visiting a local winery or tasting room.

There, you can try a variety of wines and speak with the winemaker to learn more about the production process and the unique styles available. But if you can't make it to a winery in person, you can still enjoy the best in Australian wine from Franks Premier Wines.

So, whether you prefer a luxurious bottle of champagne or a more affordable bottle of sparkling wine, there is something out there for everyone. Read our blog to explore all things wine related and discover your new favourite bottle!