Sparkling Wine


The Loire Valley is one of seven appellations in France approved to produce Crémant - dry sparkling wines made in the "Méthode Traditionelle", the historic method used in Champagne. A variety of grapes can be used to make Crémant de Loire but Chenin Blanc is the most popular.
Saumur Brut was one of the first designated Appellations in Loire Valley. The sparkling wines of this AOC are produced exclusively by traditional method with the second fermentation taking place in a bottle.
The sparkling wine Cava was born in Spain in 1850. It eventually took on its modern form in 1872 when Jose Raventós of Codorníu introduced the método tradicional, the technique with which Cava is imbued with carbon dioxide bubbles. D.O. Cava was first created as a denominación específica, applied to sparkling Spanish wines that complied with certain production methods and expectations and standards of quality. Now, it is also used to define the areas in which Cava may be made. This area spans eight regions within Spain, although 90% of Cava is produced in Catalonia, with 75% made in San Sadurní d’Anoia in Penedès, where Cava was first created.
English wine is revelling in unprecedented growth. As its reputation improves both domestically and abroad, more vineyards are being planted and existing ones grow older, offering the happy combination of scale and quality. Although situated at a perilously high latitude, the effects of global warming appear to be, at least in part, benefiting the English in their attempt to produce wine. While wine has been produced here for a long time, often using Germanic and other cool climate grape varieties, the industry really seems to have found its stride in the production of sparkling wine from the traditional Champagne varieties. Furthermore, the best sites in the south of England are grown on south-facing slopes with chalky soils, not unlike their French counterparts in Champagne, a mere stone throw across the channel.
Marlborough sits at the tip of the South Island is the largest of New Zealands big three wine regions. Situated in a large flat valley floor with deep gravel and silt beds, summers are dry and nights often cool. Sauvignon Blanc is the grape the region is most famous for, though much of what is produced here is sold off in bulk to large commercial producers.
Penedes is the largest wine region in Cataluna, and the one from which Cava originates (now its own DO). It rises from the Mediterranean in a series of plateaus that can be divided into three distinct regions, from low to high: Bajo Penedes, Medio Penedes and Penedes Superior.
Now the largest wine-producing region in Italy, Veneto sits in the north-east of Italy stretching westward to Lake Garda and north to the Austrian border. Soave and Valpolicella are the regions two most important zones, but drastic enlargments of existing DOCs means that quality is not always assurred. Look for quality conscious growers such as Gini who use the single varietal Garganega rather than the other, permitted but somewhat neutral varieties.