One might be forgiven for confusing champagne, cava and prosecco as they all share many similarities and in some places interchanged for the same. When mixing simply opt for the less expensive variants; cava and prosecco, if this mixture requires a sweeter flavour go for the prosecco as it will generally have a more fruity and lively flavour instead of the subdued citrus notes.
Watch this quick intro video with the delightful Amelia Singer from Jamie Oliver’s Drink Tube.
In order to hold the magical title of Champagne the sparkling beverage must be produced in the Champagne region of France which is located in the North-Eastern part of the country, about 32,000 hectares of grape growing land, and must comply with the specified requirements of Méthode Champenoise in order to accurately be called Champagne. This process requires two fermentations, the addition of yeast and several grams of [rock] sugar. While this combination and period of gestation may be different for each producer the effect is similar – a white wine that has an effervescence of aggressive bubbles and a complex and diverse taste.
UPDATE: For some interesting facts about champagne see this article from A Luxury Travel Blog.
Cava shares much of the production techniques as Champagne and in order to be called Cava must come from a specific region in Spain and is primarily made of grapes from Catalonia. Cava can exist as a white or rosé variants and like champagne, from dry brut to sweet dolsec. Cava has had a documented history for more than 150 years, but the name only came into use in the 1970s.
Italy is the producer of Prosecco mostly from Glera grapes from the Veneto region of Italy. Prosecco has not always been the twin to champagne that it is today – until recent time the technique to create prosecco generated a low quality sweet wine that was very different from what you would get today. The process allows a nearly indistinguishable taste between prosecco and champagne and provides an excellent more cost effective method of getting bubbles in your glass.
Know The Differences
Prosecco shares more with champagne than does cava, with in some cases an indistinguishable flavour between prosecco and champagne, prosecco is generally fruity with varying levels of dryness. Cava tends to be more bubbly and less sweet, often with a more citrus or earthy tone.
Enjoy champagne when you are good and ready to enjoy it on its own, do not add anything to it, find a bottle you like and spend time with it there are many and they all have a distinct flavour and bouquet. Prosecco is easy, just about anyone can enjoy a chilled glass of this stuff as it’s fruity and light and easy to drink, it’s effective if you want to drink less as the bubbles will make you feel fuller sooner and it goes well with other things like Chambord. Finally we like to enjoy cava on it’s own or as a mix in a cocktail of some kind.
Now that you are more familiar with the varieties and when to use them we can start doing what matters,enjoying them! We’ve collect some of our favourite recipes for you to enjoy, drink responsibly.
Kir Royale – add one ounce of creme de cassis to a flute of prosecco or cava. Variations include substituting Chambord for the creme de cassis.
Champagne Cocktail – place a sugar cube in the bottom of a chilled flute, add 2/3 dashes of bitters (angostura or peychaud’s, fill with champagne/prosecco/cava.
Mimosa – orange juice with cava or prosecco, add Chambord to make a raspberry mimosa!
Barbotage – pour cognac or other brandy and Grand Marnier into a flute, top with champagne or prosecco.
French 75 – 2 ounces of gin, top with champagne and a splash of lemon juice.
Strawberry Prosecco Float – strawberries, vanilla ice cream and a bottle of prosecco; serves 4. Recipe Here.