Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Cremant

“If it’s sparkling wine not from Champagne, but made in the Champagne method, what is it called?” the teacher asked in class. We were talking about France.

I promptly answered, “sparkling wine.” Phew, that was an easy one! What else could it be?

“Crémant,” another student responded right after me.


French sparkling wine

Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

Oh well, now I know. It’s better to get it wrong in class than on the exam. Sparkling wine made in the Champagne method from elsewhere in France other than Champagane is called Crémant.

In fact, traditional Champagne varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier) do not have to be used to make Crémant. It’s generally made from grapes that produce the best still white wines in the given region, but aromatic varieties such as Muscat and Gewurztraminer are forbidden.

One other interesting fact, you may have seen rose Champagne. It’s the only type of rose wine in the EU where red and white wine can be blended to make a rose. Typically, roses are made from dark skinned grapes only.

I hope you had some tasty wine today. After all, it is Wine Wednesday! I’m probably the sole person I let down yesterday because I didn’t post and I didn’t meet up to my daily challenge. I’m sorry if I let you down too. I eventually forgave myself and made a studying schedule for the remainder of the month, vowing again to not disappoint myself royally with the ultimate goal of acing the WSET 3 exam. I hope you’ll forgive me. As my friend Shannon had put so well in her health blog the other day, life happens. I talked about Bordeaux in my last post and definitely will revisit that. I have to. If there’s anything you want to know in the meantime, please leave a comment below.

Oh, what are you doing Friday night? Want to drop by the blog that evening? That’s when I’ll publish my next post. Until then, you can always see what I’m up to on Twitter @VinoVanny or Instagram @VinoVanny.

Cava. It’s all part of the journey.

Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn and I got a lesson this past Monday.

I had put a bottle of cava in the fridge in anticipation of a celebrating a moment, but that moment didn’t happen, so it stayed in the fridge in anticipation for another momentous occasion and nothing really occurred.

In case you don’t know, cava is sparkling wine from Spain made in the same method as champagne, the sparkling wine from France.

A few weeks passes by and the bf asks me if it’s ok to be kept in the fridge that long.

“Yeah, sure! It’s in the fridge!” I say with the confidence of a sommelier. I thought that because it wasn’t in the heat, it’s ok. But I wanted to make sure I was correct because it would be totally awesome if I were. So I google it and… apparently, you’re not supposed to keep unopened wine in the fridge for longer than a couple of days. The reasoning is that the fridge is intended to keep fruits and veggies crisp, so if you’re keeping wine in there for weeks like I did, you’ll actually dry out the cork which will let air in. Oops. Lesson: Don’t leave an unopened bottle of wine in the fridge for a month.

I drank the cava anyways and took notes on it because I wanted to compare it to the next time I have this Spanish bubbly when stored properly and enjoyed in a flute glass.

Spanish sparkling wine

Cava, although made in the champagne method, is not champagne. Only champagne from Champagne, France can be called champagne.

Yes, I did enjoy it. If it went bad, I didn’t notice. There was an explosion in my mouth and it was the most potent carbonation sensation, ever (ever!) making my mouth salivate like crazy, too. The finish wasn’t as long as I’d like, short in fact, but I’m not sure if that’s what you should expect from a cava. My sparkling wine knowledge is weak, and it’s something I plan to work on in the upcoming months. It wasn’t until maybe 7 or so minutes later that almost sting-like feeling from the carbonation dissipated a little and it was the most enjoyable then.

I thought sparkling wine should be served in a flute glass. There is less surface area so the rate at which the wine loses its carbonation is slowed down, but I found that I liked this cava in my bowl wine glass. I don’t know if I would’ve enjoyed it as quickly or as much with a flute glass given a) it’s harder to detect the aroma and b) it would’ve taken longer for the carbonation to soften. So, that’s another lesson learned. Well, a reminder that rules aren’t black and white. What I should’ve done, in hindsight, was to taste it in one of my ISO glasses first. All my tastings at home should be first tasted with an ISO glass as that’s a consistency.

I’d like to start tasting more sparkling wines, particularly champagne. There’s no reason to wait for a celebratory moment to enjoy a bottle. What’s your take on all this – the glass, sparkling wine, storage? If you leave me a comment, you’d totally make my day.