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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Sparkling Wine From Around The Globe


Posted: August 23, 2006
by: Susan Anderson

Are you trying to cool off from the scorching heat of August, well make sure that next glass of wine is sparkling.

With higher acidity, delicate flavor, lower alcohol than most wine and that tingle on the tongue sparkling wine leaves you refreshed and wanting another bite of food or sip of wine. Sparkling wines can be served as an aperitif, at any meal, with any course. They may be white, pink or red. Bone dry, dry, fruity or sweet. Sparkling wines are produced in almost every wine-producing region in the world.

Lets talk about some reasonable priced bubblies from regions other than France and the United States. We’ll save those two countries for the holidays.Cabernet1

Spain: Cava, the name is derived from the catalan word for cellar, is bottle-fermented otherwise known as the traditional method or the method used for making sparkling wine in Champagne. It differs from champagne in the fact that cava is typically a blending of white grapes only, whereas champagne is normally a blending of red and white grapes. Made in the Penedes region, south of Barcelona the grapes used are the local macabeo, xarello, parellada and the traditionally French grape chardonnay. Rose is now being made with the addition of garnacha, monastrell and cabernet sauvignon. In the United States you now find sparkling wines from Spain made from Pinot Noir. Aria from Segura Viudas, produces both a non-vintage brut and rose from pinot noir that are excellent and good value.

Garnacha

Italy: One of the numerous sparkling wines of Italy prosecco is produced in the Veneto region just north of Venice. Prosecco is made predominately from the grape of the same name with small amounts of pinot bianco, pinot grigio and chardonnay added. The best grapes come from the hills between the villages of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. The prosecco grape is too delicate to survive the extended aging required by the traditional Champagne method without losing its freshness and aromatics. It is produced instead by the Charmat method, where the wine is pressurized in large stainless steel tanks and additional sugar is added to those tanks to encourage a second fermentation. Prosecco - is characterized by light, delicate bubbles and a flavor of apples, pears and almond on the finish.  It is best known as the base for the cocktail Bellini and along with white peach juice made Harry’s Bar in Venice famous. Mionetto, Nino Franco and Zardetto are all reliable producers.

Germany: Sekt a German word that is the shortened substitute for Qualitatschaumwein or quality sparkling wine as defined by the European Union. Sekt is fruity and traditionally somewhat sweeter than sparkling wines from France, United States or Spain. They may be made using grapes from Italy, France, Spain or other European countries and are labeled very simply as dry (trocken) or medium-dry (halbtrocken) Its method of production is commonly Charmat.  A small portion of the market is deutscher sekt and is made solely from German wine grapes. The wine is made in the brut or extra dry style and the bubbles come as a result of the Champagne method. Riesling is the grape of choice.  Henkell Trocken and Deinhard are the easiest to normally locate of good value sekt and I have tasted some fine, refreshing sekt from Burklin-Wolf of the Pfalz.

Australia & New Zealand: The wine industry of Australia and New Zealand produce sparkling wines using the champagne method and use traditional French champagne grapes along with other grape varieties. A specialty of the Aussies is sparkling shiraz. This is a deep red sparkler with a fruity peppery aroma. The flavor is full-bodied with berries being the dominant taste with modest amounts of spice, vanilla and oak. It finishes with a hint of chocolate. Try matching this fizzy with barbequed lamb or even a chocolate dessert.

New Zealand known for making great pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay can naturally make great sparkling wine. New Zealand typically makes a wine with vibrant acidity and ripe fruit flavors these are two needed characteristics for good sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine needs the higher acidity to balance the flavors against the bubbles. Marlborough is the leading region for producing sparkling wine. Lindauer Brut NV is New Zealand’s most popular and most imported sparkler. For bang for the buck, it is hard to beat this sparkler from New Zealand.

Sparkling wine, no matter what you call it, simply the best summer wine you could imagine.

Susan Anderson


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