Food + Dining Main

Your Champagne Cheat Sheet

BY February 10, 2016



Got a special celebration? Great, but you really don’t need one because we like to think champagne is perfect any time of year. Finding the right one can be confusing, however, so we asked The Continental’s new full-time sommelier, Higor Valle, to burst the bubble and demystify the various types of sparklers.  


Higor says: “Cava almost always represents the best bang for your buck. This is a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status from Spain, most of which is produced in Catalonia. Macabeu is the primary grape used in Cava, followed by Xarel·lo and Paralleda. Together, these grapes create a balanced sparkling wine that’s less sweet than Prosecco, but not as nutty as Champagne.”

Higor’s pick: “Juvé Y Camps ‘Cinta Purpura,’ a non-vintage Cava Reserva from Penedès, Spain.”



Higor says: “If you enjoy fruit-forward and easygoing wines and you would like your bubbles to also taste like that, then Prosecco is what you should look for. Prosecco is a sparkling wine made with Glera grapes (now officially named Prosecco) in the Veneto region of Italy. It is produced using the Tank Method (Charmat), which is very affordable compared to the Méthode Champenoise. It will be the fruitiest and sweetest of these suggestions, and also among the least expensive.”

Higor’s picks: "Astoria Prosecco, a non-vintage bottling from Veneto, offers extreme value. If you’d like to bring it up a notch, check out Zardetto Zeta Superiore, a 2012 vintage DOCG Prosecco that offers a bit more complexity and also is at a great price.”



Editor’s note: The only bottles of Champagne that can legally be labeled so are from the Champagne appellation region of France. Usually up to three types of grapes will be blended from the vines grown there and bottled to make household names like Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon.

Higor says: “If Champagne is what you’re looking for, consider looking beyond the top brands. In fact, there are many other houses that offer the same pedigree at a similar or lower price range.”

Higor’s pick: “Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé, a fantastic Champagne from Chouilly—it drinks like heaven.”


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