The end is near.
As students sing bittersweet praises to final classes and shed salty tears on Facebook about horrible exam schedules, hints of sunny warmth ooze their way through the solar system and into our lives. It’s “fear time” as much as it is “beer time” (although when is it not?), and the combination of sunny promises and year-end celebration makes the rest of us want to pop open the sparkling wine. But the hundreds of products confuse us, and we all want to buy the pretty labels because they make us look spicy and special (and of course you are!) — but let’s look at four famous types of sparkling wine.
Rules number one and two: all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.
Legit champagne is the stuff that comes from the French region of the same name. Its premium prices are largely due to image and prestige, but its intrinsic balance and finesse are not unlike the liquid equivalents of classic orchestral numbers. The northerly climate of Champagne means that these wines are generally of high acidity, and mandatory aging on the lees contributes to absolutely delicious yeasty and bread-like aromas. These wines can be hard to appreciate, and sometimes the hefty price tags are less than tempting.
Anyway, you just had a bad exam and all you want to do is get drunk.
The younger generation is drinking more wine — and that might explain both the drastic increase of over 300 per cent in sales over the past eight years (by volume, in B.C.) of Italian prosecco. Appealing here are the easy apple and pear notes, as are the lower price tags and a fun-sounding moniker reminiscent of both an exotic-sounding place and a porn star surname. Where champagne sings with the precision of a violin, think power chords or Cyndi Lauper when it comes to prosecco.
If there ever was an awkward and underappreciated sparkling wine, the unfortunate non-award would go to Spanish cava. It’s similar to champagne in terms of production method, but that’s where the similarities end. Unlike champagne, cava’s image is that of Crocs, and some cava producers are striving to rebuild its image. Buy cava for some earthy and lower-acid goodness, and subsequently feel good about the fact that you’re helping out a wine that feels like it’s the new character on Glee.
“Moscato” seems to be a word that’s slowly moving into Voldemort-level depths of spoken blasphemy; maybe because it tastes like stale Skittle juice at its worst. But at its best, it tastes like flowers, peaches and fresh bags of tropical Skittles. Some of my wine colleagues would scold me for admitting to periodically wanting to drink a bottle of cheap sparkling moscato like I’m angry at it — but much like sex, sometimes the bad times aren’t super bad. The wine is an infamous subject in several rap songs, so that’s got to count for something.
In any case, there’s always a sparkling wine to pair with any sort of mood. Who really needs an excuse? Cheers to that.