Champagne, Prosecco, Crémant, and Cava
The main differences between Champagne and other sparkling wines come down to where they're made, and how.
For example, Champagne and Prosecco are both sparkling wines, but they are produced in different regions and using different methods.
Champagne is produced in the Champagne region of France, while Prosecco is produced in the Veneto region of Italy, the best known area being the Valdobbiadene.
Champagne versus Prosecco
One of the main differences between Champagne and Prosecco is the production method. Champagne is produced using the "Champagne method," or "méthode Champenoise," which involves a series of steps including fermentation, ageing, and disgorgement. Prosecco, on the other hand, is produced using the "Charmat method," which involves a second fermentation in a large, sealed tank rather than in the individual bottle. This difference is usually credited with the difference in the size of the bubbles between Champagne and Prosecco, Champagne having finer bubbles.
Another major difference is the grape varieties used to make the sparkling wines. Champagne is typically made with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes, while Prosecco is made with Glera grapes. These grape varieties give Champagne and Prosecco their distinct flavors and aromas.
Difference in taste between Champagne and Prosecco
In terms of taste, Champagne is often described as having a more complex flavor profile with notes of fruit, bread, and toast, while Prosecco is typically described as being lighter and fruitier with notes of citrus and green apple.
What is Crémant and how does it differ from Champagne?
Crémant is produced in other regions of France, but using the same method as Champagne. There are several different regions in France that produce crémant, including Alsace, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley.
The grapes used to make Crémant differ depending on the region. For example, Crémant de Bourgogne is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, just like Champagne, whereas Crémant de Loire is made with Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
Finally, there is a difference in price between Champagne and Crémant. Champagne is often more expensive mainly due to the prestige the Champagne region had curated over the years. Crémant, on the other hand, is often seen as a more affordable alternative to Champagne, and often every bit as good.
And how does Cava differ from Champagne?
Cava is produced in Spain, mostly in the Catalonia region. It is made from a blend of Spanish grapes varieties, including Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. Cava is produced using a similar traditional method as Champagne, with the wine being fermented and aged in the bottle. It is then aged for a minimum of nine months before it is released for sale. Generally speaking, Cava is drier and more citrusy than Champagne, with flavors of green apples and pears.
Read our deeper dive on Champagne or browse our Champagne, Crémant, Cava and Prosecco wines.