We'd never tell you to stop drinking Champagne, cuz, man, that stuff is great. But it's just the tip of the sparkling-wine iceberg. Champagne, as we all probably know by now, is made exclusively in the Champagne region of France. But they don't have a monopoly on sparkling wine over there. Prosecco and Cava are similar to Champagne, but come from Italy and Spain, respectively. While most sparkling wines are white or rosé, you can find some red sparkling wines, like Brachetto and Lambrusco.
How Do the Bubbles Get in There?
They come from fermentation. All alcohol is fermented, but sparkling wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle. Yeast eats at the sugars, producing carbon monoxide that has nowhere to go until you pop the bottle. This discovery was largely an accident that occurred over many years in the Champagne region. Because bottles were stored in cold, uninsulated cellars during chilly winters, the yeast basically hibernated. Once temperatures started warming back up, it started eating the sugars again. Before they truly understood what was happening, it wasn't uncommon for wine makers to be greeted in their cellars by bottles that had exploded.
Don't reserve your sparkling wines exclusively for celebrations. The acidity makes them great for pairing with food. Especially things like caviar, smoked salmon, cheese, cream sauces and Asian dishes of all kinds. And popcorn. Don't sleep on popcorn.