Difference between sparkling wine and chapaign
Sparkling wine vs Champaign:
Undoubtedly two of the most popular drinks of the world, sparkling wine and champagne are two beverages that are indeed indispensable during moments of joy and celebration. However, the fact that almost all sparkling wine types have been referred to as champagne has created a formidable confusion between these two popular drinks, much to the disappointment of many. However, this article may of a little comfort to sparkling wine and champagne lovers as it seeks to make the distinction between the two beverages, as well as provide a little background information about how they are made and what makes each of them special.
What is sparkling wine?
Sparkling wine is basically white wine to which carbon dioxide has been incorporated to make it fizzy and bubbly. However, red sparkling wines such as Italian Brachetto and Australian sparkling Shiraz too exist in the rather extensive world of the sparkling wines. Wine is made from the fermentation of grape juice that is extracted from pressing the grapes. The natural chemicals and acids in the grape juice let the wine to ferment naturally without the addition of extra sugars, acids or other chemicals. Various types of yeast are added to enhance this fermentation process and the sugar from the grapes is thus converted in to alcohol by the help of the yeast. White wine uses grapes with lighter skin and a lighter flesh. The grape skin, the stems and the seeds are gently taken off the grape juice soon after the pressing of the grapes during the fermentation process, not giving the juice much time to interact with these external ingredients that will contribute towards adding strength and character to the wine. White wines are usually stored and conditioned in stainless steel tanks or bottles and their sweetness may vary from very dry “brut” styles to sweeter “doux” varieties.
What is champagne?
Champagne is a sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne area of France. It is being created by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation. Champagne is made strictly in accordance to the regulations and procedures approved by Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) as The Madrid Treaty of 1891 gave France legal protection against the use of the name Champagne for all sparkling wines produced anywhere else in the world. However, the types of grapes that are to be used in the making of champagne are specified by the above committee as well as certain aspects of viticulture which includes the pruning, degree of pressing and etc. After the primary fermentation and bottling, a second alcoholic fermentation occurs in the bottle which is induced by adding several grams of yeast and several grams of rock sugar in to the wine. The yeast and the rock sugar thus create carbon dioxide within the bottle, thus giving the champagne its bubbly effect. A minimum of 1.5 years is required for champagne to completely develop its flavor after which the bottle is manipulated in a process called remuage, where the lees settle in the neck of the bottle. After chilling the bottle, the pressure in the bottle forces out the ice containing the lees and then the bottle is quickly corked to maintain the carbon dioxide in solution.
What is the difference between champagne and sparkling wine?
Differences cannot be gauged very easily when it comes to champagne and sparkling wine. This is due to the fact that champagne has indeed become a generic name for all sparkling wines produced all over the world as a result of the Madrid Treaty of 1891 which granted France, legal protection against the use of the name Champagne for all sparkling wines produced anywhere else in the world. Champagne indeed is a type of a sparkling wine and yet, it is only the sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France that can veritably be referred to as Champagne.
The fizzy effect of both sparkling wine and champagne is achieved by the amount of carbon dioxide integrated in to the wine. The methods in which this is done in champagne and sparkling wine are very different. In the case of sparkling wine, carbon dioxide injection is done in a large tank that is capable of withstanding the pressure from the procedure whereas in the case of champagne, the process of incorporating carbon dioxide in to the beverage is done with the méthode champenoise where natural fermentation occurs within the bottle itself.
The art of champagne making is very much regulated even down to the minute details of viticulture of vineyards that produce the grapes used in champagne. The making of sparkling wine however, does not face such strict regulations. Champagne has always been associated with luxury and celebration and yet, the word sparkling wine does not invite the same sensation in to individuals. This may be the reason that most individuals prefer the term champagne over sparkling wine because of which champagne has become a generic term for all sparkling wines worldwide.