So here’s something that might just blow your mind: Champagne is only "champagne" if it was made in Champagne, France. So that $20 bottle you typically get? Most likely, it isn’t really champagne at all. True champagne is also made with three varieties of grapes—chardonnay, pinot noir, and meunier—using a specific method known as the Méthode Traditionnelle, during which secondary fermentation must take place in the same bottle that the champagne will eventually be served from.
While Champagne remains a popular pick all over the world, these days, Monosoff considers Italian Prosecco to be one of the most common sparkling wines out there. It comes from the Veneto region of Northern Italy and uses the prosecco or glera grape. Unlike champagne, prosecco’s secondary fermentation happens in a stainless steel tank before it’s eventually bottled, in a process that’s known as the Charmat method.
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine, made largely in the Catalonia region with macabeo, xarel-lo, and parellada grapes that are native to the region. But while the grapes used may be native to Spain, the method Cava uses is not—Cava is made using the Méthode Traditionnelle, just like champagne.
Cremant is another sparkling wine that hails from France, but comes from a variety of different regions—including Alsace, Bordeaux, and Bourgogne—using a variety of grapes—including pinot blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay, and more. It too draws upon a method very close to the Méthode Traditionnelle.
When it comes to pairing sparkling wines with food, the possibilities are endless.
“One of the best things about sparkling wine is you can find a style to go with just about anything,” says Monosoff. “From the driest most austere champagne with caviar and French fries to a richer pinot noir-based rosé sparkler with a lightly grilled filet mignon. Sipping a delicious off-dry or sweet Italian sparkling wine after dinner? Pair it with a rich chocolate dessert."
According to Monosoff, “there is something for everyone and every food when it comes to bubbles.”