When it comes to celebrations, there is nothing better to help you get in a party mood than a bottle of sparkling wine. Whether it’s Champagne, Prosecco, or any other sparkling wine, they bring the zing, with bubbles, freshness, and flavour that is instantly appealing. When served chilled, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your celebration the right way.
You’d be amazed by how many different types of sparkling wine there are! Not only is sparkling wine produced in most wine regions around the world, but it is made from dozens of different types of grapes.
If you’re looking for the best types of sparkling wine to try, here are a few well worth considering:
This is the classic French sparkling wine, perhaps the most famous wine in the world, and is produced ONLY in the Champagne region of France. Traditional Champagne is made using Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir grapes, and all champagne producers must follow specific appellation rules for the growing, harvesting, and vinification process.
There are more than 300 Champagne houses, with more than 15,000 vine-growing producers in the region. Most of the big Champagne brands (known as Grandes Marques) do not own their own vineyards, but buy grapes from a large number of growers. Producers such as Fleury are unusual in owning and managing their vines, which gives them greater control over methods used (they are completely biodynamic) and quality produced. Roughly 337 million bottles of Champagne are produced every year – most of which is exported outside France every year.
Pinot Noir grapes infuse the wine with red-berry flavours, adding structure and body. Chardonnay grapes make the wine crisp and fresh, with tropical and citrus flavours. Pinot Meunier grapes deliver herbaceous, earthy flavours and give the wine a well-rounded, rich taste. Those made entirely from Pinot Noir are known as ‘Blanc de Noirs’, while those made from Chardonnay are called ‘Blanc de Blancs’.
Try the Blanc de Noirs from biodynamic pioneers Fleury.
AOC Champagne Fleury Blanc de Noirs
This is their ‘house’ Champagne which is made from 100% Pinot Noir and is deliciously fruity and offers fantastic value.
Prosecco is now the most popular sparkling wine in the UK, overtaking Champagne. It’s the affordable Italian answer to the French sparkling wine, beloved for its off-dry fruitiness and gentle bubbles. The vinification process is less time and cost-intensive than champagne, so the wines tend to be cheaper – though no less enjoyable!
The Prosecco grape is used to produce this Italian sparkling wine (also known as Glera), and it gives the wine a slightly sweet, fruity flavour. The wines are meant to be enjoyed young, so they don’t need to spend as much time aging (in the cask and bottle) as champagne and other sparkling wines.
The flavours of Prosecco sparkling wine tend to be flowery, with heavy nuances of peach and stone fruits. Some people detect hints of vanilla bean on the palate, and the wine will be slightly sweeter than most Champagne. There is even a Prosecco rosé, made using Pinot Noir grapes in the mixture.
Our most popular Prosecco is the Giol Prosecco Frizzante, which has class lemon and pear drop flavours with a gentle fizz.
IGT Veneto Prosecco Frizzante Bianco Giol
English Sparkling Wine
English Sparkling Wine was little known as recently as ten or twenty years ago, but it is truly flourishing now. There are more vineyards and producers, awards are flying in, and they’re even being sold in top Parisian restaurants!
Most are made the same way as Champagne, using the same grapes, and can even be on the same soil thanks to a seam of chalk that runs from Champagne, under the English Channel to southern England. In general, the wines are a bit lighter, with more citrus and less yeasty character than Champagne, which makes them a great aperitif.
Organic English wine was pioneered by Roy Cook of Sedlescombe from the late 1970s, and today there are a number of organic producers, and they’re making some of the best English sparkling wine around.
Albury Estate Premier Cuvée is an outstanding wine from a new estate, run biodynamically in the beautiful Surrey Hills.
Albury Estate Premier Cuvée Brut
Made from a traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is an elegant style of fizz, and a great introduction to English sparkling wine.
For those who love champagne but want to try something different, Cava is one of the best types of sparkling wine to consider. This wine comes from Spain, and is a dry, fresh option made from a number of traditional, local grapes, with Chardonnay being a more recent addition:
In recent years Cava’s image has been dominated by the big brands competing on discount pricing in supermarkets. This lowering of price, and quality, has led Albet I Noya to leave the appellation, now labelling their wines as coming from the Denominación de Origen Penedès region. The rules for this appellation are much stricter than those for Cava, resulting in a superior product, but one that still has the classic style of quality Cava.
These wines aren’t as sweet as Prosecco, and tend to be lighter and fresher than Champagne. They are a great option for those looking for quality sparkling wine made in the traditional method, but without the richness, or price tag, of Champagne.
Try the Albet I Noya Brut Reserva to see how good these wines can be, and what great value.
Albet i Noya Brut Reserva
Moscato d’Asti D.O.C.G.
If you can’t get enough of the tangy, rich flavours of the Moscato grape, you’ll love this Moscato sparkling wine.
It is made using only the Muscat Blanc grape, and it’s one of the sweetest of the Italian sparkling wines. Not to be confused with Asti Spumante, this low-aclohol, sweet sparkling wine is perfect as aperitif or works perfectly when served with fresh fruit tarts for dessert.
The aromas are heavily perfumed of honeysuckle, nectarine, and pear, and you’ll find that the wine is beautifully frothy. Torelli Moscato d’Asti must be one of the most enjoyable, hedonistic wines available in the UK! Its impossible to resist its sweet, refreshing charms, and at only 5% alcohol, why should you?
DOCG Moscato D’Asti
Yet another Italian sparkling wine makes it onto this list, and it’s another idiosyncratic style, unique to the Emilian-Romagna region.
Lambrusco is a light red sparkling wine that tends to be frothy and sweet, but you can find some that are dry and have a yeasty flavour and a bitter finish. The Charmat method is used to make the sparkling wine, which means that the wine spends less time aging – it’s meant to be consumed while young.
While they’re not as common or as popular as traditional champagne, there are very high quality Lambruscos for the most discerning connoisseurs.
While it’s not the most famous type of sparkling wine, this uniquely Australian product is very popular in its homeland. Nothing says Christmas down under like going to the beach with a bottle of chilled sparkling Shiraz!
With medium tannins and acidity, it is usually off-dry and inexpensive. Shiraz grapes are Australia’s most commonly grown variety, and it is grown on a massive scale. The vinification process is inexpensive, leading to a cheap, easily affordable bottle of red sparkling wine.
If you’re a fan of sparkling wines, these are the types of sparkling wine you’ll want to try this autumn. The wide variety of sparkling wines will make it easy to find a vintage and style that suits you best.