With a loud pop, a cork flies into the air, people duck, scream, and laugh as the bubbles start rolling out of the bottle. The clinking of glasses fills the room as a sparkling fountain of fizz fills each glass for a toast. Now you may wonder, "Is this really Champagne or is this Sparkling Wine?"
Even though many use this name to refer to every type of sparkling alcoholic beverage, true champagne actually hails from a region in France named, yes, Champagne.
The region of Champagne in France has become so popular with their wine making techniques that many producers have tried to duplicate them. However, theses knock-offs never live up to the name. its easy to understand since the French have been producing champagne in the Champagne region since the early 1700's.
With champagne, the wine is actually bottled before it is completely fermented. The fermentation process in the bottle produces carbon dioxide, thus adding to the bubbly.
Sparkling wine is not fermented in the bottle, but instead is injected with high levels of carbon dioxide during the bottling process. Because of this injecting of the carbon dioxide, sparkling wine usually has a higher concentration of bubbles, offering a more dramatic "pop" when the cork is removed. To the well trained palate, the mechanically infused bubbles can offer a slightly more mechanical taste.
Another difference between the two beverages is the origin of the grapes. Just as in traditional wine, the region and conditions in which the grapes were grown influence the final product. The grapes used in sparkling wine usually result in a much lighter consistency than champagne.
Still want to learn more about the difference between the two bubbly beverages?
Challenge yourself to a taste test! Buy a bottle of champagne ans a bottle of sparkling water. taste the two side-by-side and you'll begin to notice the subtle differences. Chances are you will notice some nuances, but not a lot on the first try. Invite your friends to join you.
Its fun to compare notes to see how sophisticated your taste buds can be.
In the future, when someone pops the cork on the bottle of bubbly, you will have the information you need to discern whether that bottle is sparkling wine or if it came from the Champagne region and is truly champagne. That information probably won't matter as you and your fellow party goers are toasting and enjoying the bubbly, but its just another fun thing to know about wine.