Champagne and other sparkling wines are made from blended grapes, often red varietals. Only those grapes harvested from the Champagne region can produce authentic “Champagne,” but there are plenty of other fabulous sparkling wines worldwide. Spain's sparkler is called Cava, Italy has Prosecco and Moscato d'Asti, and French other-than-Champagne sparkling wines are referred to as Cremant. Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. also produce fantastic sparklers at great value, giving France a run for its euro. Generally, sparkling wine is either white or rosé, although there are some delicious reds. Aromas range from applesauce, spiced apple and ripe pear to freshly baked bread. More ripe fruit flavors, like apple and pear, typically point to its origination in the Americas or Australia. If the sparkling wine is creamy, yeasty and nutty in flavor, it’s probably European. Sparkling wines and Champagnes are categorized as extra brut, brut, extra dry, sec and demi-sec, depending on their sugar levels. The most popular sparkling wines and Champagne are brut and very food-friendly, while sec or demi-sec offerings are typically great as aperitifs or paired with fruit and dessert. In short, there are as many different kinds of sparkling wines as there are occasions to drink it. But why wait for a special celebration? Sometimes, “Friday” is reason enough to break out the bubbly and celebrate.
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