It’s All About the Bubbles

If the sound of a cork popping on a bottle of bubbles sounds like a celebration, then you probably have a few bottles at home ready to get the party started. But what kind to buy and how to store them are important for getting the optimal experience.

Champagne vs. Prosecco

Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France, about 150km northeast of Paris. Prosecco comes from the northwestern Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Champagne can be a blend or single varietal wine. The most planted grape varieties are pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, and a few more. Prosecco is made principally from the glera grape variety, which must make up at least 85%.

Another key difference is the way they are made. In both, the base wine undergoes a second fermentation, creating the CO2 that creates its sparkle.

In Champagne, the méthode Champenoise or “traditional method” bottles the base wine with yeast and sugars that cause the second fermentation in the bottle. For a nonvintage Champagne the minimum time for fermentation is 12 months; vintage Champagne spends three years on its sediment.

With prosecco, the tank method is normally used for the second fermentation so instead of bottling, the base wine goes in a pressure tank with sugar and yeast. CO2 is created and the wine is filtered to remove sediment before bottling.

Storing your Bubbles

If you’re storing at home, there are certain things you need to do to get the most out of your bubbles:

1. Keep your bottles away from bright light.

2. Store in a cool place where the temperature is constant. The actual temperature (ideally 7°C to 10°C) is less important than consistency.

3. Consider magnums for long-term aging. Standard bottles (75cl) age well if properly stored. Magnums (1.5 liters) are best for long-term because the ratio of wine to surface area allows for a slower, more even maturation and a finer lasting flow of bubbles.

4. Store your bubbles short term, up to one month, standing. Any longer and you risk drying out the cork.

5. If you’re looking to store vintage cuvées long term, they should be stored on their sides in a cellar or wine rack.

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