Champagne or Sparkling? What Bubbles Do You Prefer?

By Zeke Quezada

It almost seems like a cliché to celebrate with champagne on a special occasion, but we do it all the time. Why do we choose this fizzy substance to drink when things go well?  If you like it so much why do sports teams spray it all over themselves? Why toast? Why not just grab a bright Riesling and celebrate three cheers to a victory or indulge in a Montepulciano to reflect on the win?

We love our bubbles, so naturally, we should figure out why we love them so much. You can find out all about this wine-making process on our pages in the Wine Academy on WineMaking.


Champagne or Sparkling


Champagne should be the prized liquid that comes from the region of Champagne in France but it often, incorrectly,  refers to just about anything with bubbles in it. This wine that comes from the Champagne region is prepared in the traditional method and boasts about 6 atmospheres of pressure in the bottle. If you hear the loud pop, that is universal sound for, “Get the party started!”

The Details on Champagne



There is a beauty that comes from a good Prosecco because as you drink it, you know full well that it did not cost you anywhere near what Champagne of this quality would set you back. The winemaking process is slightly different than Champagne, and it has a bit less “fizz” than its neighbor to the West. From dry to Brut to sweet Prosecco satisfies your craving for Old World bubbles while staying within a reasonable budget. Beware; there are a lot of marginal Proseccos out there an that is where you must navigate the minefield.

The Details on Prosecco



Cava might be the cheaper cousin to Champagne, but its value should not understate its quality. The grapes are different than those found in Champagne and Prosecco, and they produce a sparkling wine that at times is boasting note of citrus while being somewhat subdued in the sweet category. Cava is a quality alternative to expensive Champagne.

The Details on Cava and Spanish Wine



It majestically works with just about any food and can stand alone by itself. It flirts with tones of pink, red and salmon while delivering a vibrant fruit flavor that can stand up to light meals with ease and posture itself nicely against stronger heavy dishes. However, bubbly glass or Rose’ in the middle of the afternoon with a sliver of cheese is a gift from the gods.



Sparkling Wine

Readily available and usually well priced this is the drink you serve at picnics or on the front porch when you need a little effervescence to spark your day. California producers use the traditional method and will on occasion call it Champagne when it is made in North America, it is sparkling wine.  These bubbles can be your warm weather got to drink and when mixed with the right ingredients can create some fascinating wine cocktails. Can you say, Spritzer?

The Details on Sparkling Wine



Wait, there is one more. Lambrusco. This black sheep of the sparkling wine family has made a resurgence in recent years, and you should not dismiss it.  The super sweet varieties still are difficult to stomach, but those that offer a dry, crisp, summer-like flavor profile are right to be put into your rotation.  We have the details on Lambrusco in our Wine Regions of Italy section on Emila-Romagna