Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, it’s time to beat the heat with some chilled white wines. If you’re a Champagne lover, this is the perfect time to expand your knowledge of sparkling wines by trying the multitude available. If you find yourself wondering, “What is sparkling wine, and how is it different than Champagne?” you’re not alone. Here, we’ll take a look at the various types of sparklers and discuss how you can serve them with the perfect meal this summer.

What is sparkling wine?

Sparkling wine is produced when yeast ferments with sugar, with CO2 sealed in to prevent the gas from escaping. The result is a delightfully bubbly beverage that is light on the tongue, perfect for the summertime.

Champagne is sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France and is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Champagne is a sparking French wine, but there are plenty of other delightful sparking wines (such as sparkling white Italian wines, or Spumante). California is also known for its fruity, lively bubbly .

How do I serve it?

You may think of sparkling wine as being reserved for special occasions only, but “bubble heads” can build a summer menu completely around sparkling wines. Start the evening with a blanc de blancs, a light, sparkling, fine white wine made entirely of Chardonnay grapes, followed by a medium-bodied brut. Pair your entre with a sparkling rose, and then serve dessert with your favorite blanc de noirs, or full-bodied, fruity sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier.

What should my menu look like?

Blanc de blancs is light and acidic, so it pairs nicely with fish, creams, fried food, brie, and even popcorn. A brut can be wonderfully paired with heartier appetizers, such as meats and cheeses, mushroom dishes, pates, and foie gras. Your summer entree with rose can include roast chicken, smoked salmon, and filet mignon. Paella, ratatouille, potatoes, and grilled asparagus finish the entree nicely. Your blanc de noirs could be paired with sorbet, fresh fruit, or a fruit-based dessert, such as meringue or coconut cake.

Once you start your relationship with bubbly, it’s often hard to stop. You can experiment with new and rare types and buy sparkling wine online year round. Why not see what winter pairings work with your favorite sparklers? We won’t stop you.

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