Sparkling White Wines

Synonyms: Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, sparkling wine, California sparkling wine, Cava, Champagne, sparkling moscato, sparkling riesling, Cremant, Prosecco, Vinho Verde

Wine Name: Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir, Cava, Champagne, sparkling moscato, sparkling riesling, Cremant, Prosecco, Spumante, Francicorta, Vinho Verde

Background: European countries such as France (Champagne, Cremant), Italy (Prosecco), Germany (Sekt), Spain (Cava) have trademarked names for their sparkling wines whereas most of the new world wine producers do not. They just call their wines “Sparkling” and their location such as California, New York, Australia, Chile, Argentina etc. These wines can be made by the traditional Champagne method or several different techniques such as the Charmat or tank method, the transfer method or simply by adding carbon dioxide with machine carbonation. The longer a wine is left on its lees (dead yeast cells) the more toasty and bready the taste becomes and the finer the bubbles appear in the wine.

Classic Brands and Sources: Numerous brands in almost every wine producing country


Brut Nature Body – light

Acidity – dry

Sweetness – dry – no added sugar 0-3 g/l

Tannins – low

Extra Brut Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry <6 g/l

Tannins – low

Brut Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry <12 g/l

Tannins – low


Extra Sec/Extra Dry Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – off dry 12-17 g/l

Tannins – low

Sec/DryBody – medium (-)

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – semi-sweet 17-32 g/l

Tannins – low

Semi Sec/Semi DryBody – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – semi-sweet 33-50 g/l

Tannins – low

Doux/SweetBody – full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – sweet > 50 g/l

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Often consummed on its own without food. With food, the dryer styles go well with fish, shellfish and lighter meat dishes with acidic sauces. Sweeter versions can go with heavier dishes that have spice or hotness or sweetness.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Dry styles – light fish, shellfish, chicken, pork with citrus-based sauces
Off dry styles – chicken, pork, veal with spicier sauces, Pacific rim foods, Mexican foods
Semi-sweet, sweet styles – dessert dishes
Rosé dry or off dry styles – beef and lamb dishes and dishes with slight spiciness

Cheese Pairings:

dry – Brie with rind, Brin D’Amour, Camembert with rind, Emmental, Feta, Garroxta, most goat cheeses, Muenster, Raclette, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire, Swiss, Vacherin
off dry – Brick, Colby, Double Glouster, Edam, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Langres, Vermont Shepard
sweet – any rich cheese, blue cheeses, “cheese cake”