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Feeling Bubbly? Everything You Need to Know About Sparkling Wine

Nothing says "let's celebrate" like popping open a bottle of sparkling wine. But with plenty of varieties available, knowing what to serve when can be tricky. Here's everything you need to know to serve sparkling wine at your next event.

What Is Sparkling Wine?

Sparkling wine is wine that is carbonated. This means it has bubbles. It's light, it's fizzy, and it can be a lot of fun. Many sparkling wines take on a name associated with the region or country where it is made. For example, Champagne is a sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France.

You'll find that sparkling wine comes in five different levels of sweetness:

Extra-Brut: Extra-dry (least sweet). During the fermentation process, all of the sugar in this wine has been eliminated. 

Brut: Dry, but with a hint of sweetness. A little bit of sugar gets left behind during the fermentation process. Champagne is considered a Brut wine.

Extra Dry: Still dry, but sweeter than Brut or Extra-Brut. Prosecco is a popular sparkling wine that is considered Extra Dry.

Demi-Sec: A sparkling wine with a noticeable amount of sweetness. Great for serving with dessert, or with spicy Asian flavors.

Doux: As sweet as they come. Lovely for dessert, or any celebration that deserves something sweet.

Choosing a Sparkling Wine

Different sparkling wines are created using different techniques. This gives each type of wine a different flavor (and price point). 

First up is Champagne. Likely the most well-known type of sparkling wine, Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France. It follows a traditional form of winemaking where the liquid is fermented in bottles. You're likely to pay more for Champagne as it uses more expensive grapes. In return you'll get a tasty brut wine with wonderfully fine bubbles.

Next is Cava. This is a Spanish sparkling wine. It's fermented the same way as Champagne, but uses less expensive grapes. It tends to be sweeter than Champagne (but not sweet enough to be considered demi-sec), and has coarser bubbles. 

Finally, Prosecco. This Italian sparkling wine is fermented in tanks before it is bottled. Its bubbles tend to be coarser than Cava and Champagne, and it also tends to be sweeter. 

If a wine is carbonated but isn't Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco, it will likely be labelled under the general term "sparkling wine." These beverages don't follow any traditional wine-making techniques, and can come from grapes grown anywhere in the world. 

How do you know which sparkling wine is right for your next celebration? Consider your tastes, your wallet, and the foods you'll be serving. And if you're still not sure, don't be afraid to experiment. Try something new and who knows: you may end up with your next favorite beverage.

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