Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy. The classic example of a sparkling wine is champagne, which is exclusively produced in the Champagne region of France. Most sparkling wine is white or rosé but there are examples of red sparkling wines such as the Italian Brachetto, Australian sparkling Shiraz, and Azerbaijani “Pearl of Azerbaijan” made from Madrasa grapes. The sweetness of sparkling wine can range from very dry “brut” styles to sweeter “doux” varieties (from the French words for ‘raw’ and ‘sweet’, respectively).
The sparkling quality, of sparkling wine, comes from its carbon dioxide content and may be the result of natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the traditional method, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved (as in the Charmat process), or as a result of simple carbon dioxide injection in some cheaper sparkling wines.
In most countries the word “champagne” is reserved only for the specific type of sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. The French terms “Mousseux” or “Crémant” are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region, such as Blanquette de Limoux produced in Southern France. Sparkling wines are also produced in other regions of France as well as other countries around the world. These sparkling wines are often referred to by their local name or region, such as Espumante from Portugal, Cava from Spain, Franciacorta, Trento DOC, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico and Asti from Italy (the generic Italian term for sparkling wine being spumante) and Cap Classique from South Africa. Sparkling wine have also been produced in Central and Eastern Europe since the early 19th-century. “Champagne” was further popularised in the region, late in the century, when József Törley started production in Hungary using French methods, learned as an apprentice in Reims. Törley has since become one of the largest European producers of sparkling wine. The United States, is also a significant producer of sparkling wine today, with producers in numerous states. Recently production of sparkling wine have started in the United Kingdom again, after a long hiatus since some of the earliest examples of sparkling wine was produced there.