Pouring Now: Sparkling Wines

Did you know that champagne is only one form of sparkling wine? True (legally speaking) champagne comes from the Champagne region of France, but there are many different types of sparkling wines. Different countries and regions each have their own variety! Sparkling wines tend to have a lower alcohol content, and many of them are sweet, best enjoyed with dessert or a light dinner. While not comprehensive, the following is a brief overview of a few common types that can be found on U.S. shelves.

**Sparkling Wines for Summer**

Moscato. Muscat refers to a type of grape, often used for sweeter wines. Anytime you see the term “Moscato” you can be sure it will be a fruity, lighter wine. Australian-produced moscato is on the rise, and a good bet. (For college students, the ever-affordable Yellowtail makes a version.)

Moscato d’Asti. A moscato from the Asti region in Italy. Moscato d’Asti is a very sweet bubbly that was introduced to me by my Danish host father. While dessert wines are often paired with fruit, in my opinion this wine is best enjoyed with a thick slice of chocolate cake, as it balances out of the heaviness.

Prosecco. A dry sparkling wine, also from Italy. Compared to champagne’s slightly aged taste, prosecco is more refreshing and shines when served with fruit: sorbets, peaches, pears, & strawberries. Cupcake Vineyards makes an affordable prosecco. And why not try these Prosecco Petal Pops for a summer cool-down?

Cava. Cava refers to a type of sparkling wines that originate in Catalonia, Spain. Cava is either white or rosé. If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, take the time to visit El Xampanyet in the El Born neighborhood. Another special gem is Can Paixano, located in Barceloneta. It’s a popular local bar known for its cheap glasses of pink cava. Cava is good with tapas, but best for celebrations and a nice, rowdy night out.

Generic sparkling wine from the cheap-o rack. True champagne is harder to come by, but cheap “shampagne” is ever popular. There are many different ways to spice up a bottle of cheap bubbly this season. Enjoy it with a splash of limoncello or elderflower liqueur. Invite all your friends over and host a champagne cocktail bar. The bellini is a classic cocktail that pairs champagne with fruit puree – this raspberry twist looks delicious.

Mackenzie Zimmer is from Chevy Chase, Maryland, and no, it was not named after the actor. Read more…

Originally posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

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