Let’s talk about bubbles. More particularly, the bubbles in wine. Some wines are fizzy; others are not. Some people I know simply refer to fizzy wines as Champagne but not all fizzy wines are Champagnes. To start with, wines that have that fizzy characteristic are called sparkling wines. They don’t really sparkle, perhaps calling them bubbly wines or fizzy wines would be more descriptive, but in the wine world, they are sparkling wines.
Champagne is a sparkling wine. I might have mentioned it before — Champagne is a regional classification, a designation that means the sparkling wine was produced in the Champagne region of France. Prosecco, likewise a sparkling wine, is made from Glera (a.k.a. Prosecco) grapes and comes from Italy. Asti, also an Italian sparkling wine, is sweeter than Prosecco and generally lower in alcohol. Espumante is a sparkling wine from Portugal. Cava is from Spain. The regional origin of sparkling wine is printed on the label.
Another word that you often see on labels of sparkling wines is “Brut.” Is Brut a kind of sparkling wine? Does it denote the wine’s regional origin?
Brut refers to the level of sweetness (a.k.a., the amount of sugar added during fermentation) of a sparkling wine. Brut Natural means less than three grams of sugar per liter; Extra Brut has less than six grams of sugar per liter and Brut has less than twelve grams of sugar per liter. Ergo, Extra Brut is sweeter than Brut Natural and Brut is sweeter than Extra Brut.
Extra dry wines are sweeter than Brut. Then, there are the dry wines, semi-sweet wines and, finally, the sweet wines. If you’ve read the Prosecco post from a few days ago, Prosecco is generally extra dry or dry. Asti is generally a sweet wine. Note, however, that these classifications change from time to time depending on the rules of regulatory bodies that govern wine production in every country.
Last night, I made strawberry fizz with a Brut wine. You can always use something that is sweeter or less sweet but please make it a sparkling wine.
Strawberry fizz and a few things about Champagne and sparkling wines
- 1 cup strawberries (frozen are okay but thaw them a bit)
- 1 bottle sparkling wine
- Puree the strawberries in a blender.
- Drop a tablespoonful or two of strawberry puree into glasses.
- Fill up with the sparkling wine.