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Sparkling wine suggestions from Festival Foods' experts
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sparkling wine

Any time is a good time for a little sparkle, right? Right! So let's talk sparkling wine. Since it's probably not something you're throwing in your shopping cart every week, we want to give you some sparkling insight into the bubbly options in our Wine & Spirits Department.

The questions:

What Sparkling Wine Can Be Called Champagne? Most countries restrict the use of the term Champagne to only those sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France.

How Does Champagne Get Those Bubbles? To produce Champagne’s unique bubbles, the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation process within the bottle. After bottling, a few grains of yeast and a small amount of sugar are added to the bottle to begin ​a second round of fermentation. The gasses produced during this second fermentation get trapped in the bottle and create the sparkling or carbonated effect.

The types: 

Asti Besides the popular Prosecco, the land of pizza and romance (Italy) is also known for another sparkler called Asti. Formerly referred to as Asti Spumante, this is a slightly sweet, delicate, white sparkling wine. Like Prosecco, Asti doesn't go through a second fermentation in the bottle. Instead, large steel pressurized tanks are used as vessels to hold the wine during fizz formation; but some Asti producers do use the Méthode Champenoise, which is the second fermentation. 

Champagne This is a variety of sparkling (or carbonated) wine produced in the Champagne region of ​France. Champagne is typically produced from a few specific varieties of grapes, including Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Although these grapes are not all white, champagne is typically a white wine due to extraction methods that minimize contact between the juice and skin.

Prosecco is America’s new favorite bubbly. Flavors of Prosecco tend to be simpler. Think white flowers, apple and pear. Some even have a bit of sweetness, especially cheaper versions

Moscato d’Asti include sweet sparkling wines from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, Moscato d’Asti is made from Moscato grapes in the Asti region and is white.

Spumante California Champagne - Spumante Sparkling Wine is light, sweet and sugary. Try Spumante, and you'll be treated to warm fruity flavors with a crisp aftertaste. Best served chilled and perfect for dessert.

Sparkling drinks on the shelf

The terminology:

Depending on how much sugar is added for the secondary fermentation, Champagne will have varying levels of sweetness. The sugar and sweetness level is indicated by the terminology used on the label:

■ Brut Nature - Little or no sugar is added during the second fermentation. Wines with this label may have up to three grams of sugar added per liter.

■ Extra Brut – Slightly sweeter than Brut Nature, this wine may have up to six grams of sugar added per liter.

■ Brut – Typically still considered a fairly dry Champagne.

■ Extra Dry, Extra Sec, Extra Seco – Wines that bear this label contain between 12 and 17 grams of sugar per liter.

■ Doux, Sweet, Dulce – The sweetest of Champagnes, bottles labeled with any of these three names contain 50 or more grams of sugar per liter.

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