Cava, Prosecco, Champagne, Oh My! Four Sparkling Wines to Try This Summer with Zucchini Fritters

Bubbles! We love them! But when they come from different parts of the world and have different names  how are they the same? Different?

How does a Italian Prosecco taste side by side with a Spanish Cava, a glass of Champagne, a sparkler from California? Do they all go with the same foods? What goes with bubbles?

What makes them each distinct? What it comes down to is

Grapes and Place

While sparkling wine can be made from just about anything from just about anywhere,

  • Prosecco is made from at least 85% of the glera grape in a region in northern Italy
  • Cava can come from anywhere in Spain and is made from indigenous and other grapes
  • Champagne is ONLY from the Champagne region of France and can only use a limited number of grapes

Menu:
Fried food is a great pairing with sparkling wines– no need to get all fancy! With so much zucchini growing in my garden, I was excited to find this fritter recipe, and wow are they good!  Be sure to squeeze out the excess liquid otherwise they are a soggy mess that will taste good but won’t hold 
together. 

  • Zucchini fritters
  • Charcuterie
  • Potato chips
  • Sushi from Sprouts
  • Sue’s homemade curried and regular hummus

ITALY, VENETO
NV Riondo Prosecco DOC Spago Nero Vino 
Frizzante
ABV 10.5% SRP $15
samples for my review consideration 

What’s unusual about this wine? It’s frizzante, which means the bubbles are more gentle than a typical– there’s a lower atmospheric pressure in a frizzante wine.

Method: Charmot or tank method

Grape: Prosecco must be made with at least 85% Glera, a grape that is likely indigenous to nearby Slovenia, and has been in the area for a long enough time that some say it is indigenous to the Veneto.

The remaining 15% can be an indigenous grape or an international one, and some producers are experimenting with pinot noir to make a rose prosecco which currently does not exist but 60% of Americans think they’ve already consumed!

How do we know it is glera? Why does this taste like prosecco? The quality of the bubbles, the sweetness of the fruit, without being sweet. It’s very fruit forward, and the fruit lingers.

This sparkler is made from 100% Glera and is the #1 seller.

Color: Pale lemon, delicate bubbles

Nose: Grassy, lemon verbena, lemon grass, faint white flowers

Palate: Bright citrus, lemon lime, nice bubbles, clean finish, heft on the mid palate, clean stoniness, slight petrol finish.

Pairing: The humus was okay with the wine, but not great. I’d rather have a California roll as the avocado, salt of the soy, and the spicy sweet ginger really showcase the wine. Go with fried foods, like potato chips, zucchini fritters, calamari or egg rolls. Try dipping a zucchini fritter in soy sauce– it’s wonderful!

If you’re a fan of Prosecco stay tuned! We have three DOCG wines and seven DOC wines coming up!

More Prosecco and pairings for you to check out:

Italy also makes wine using the traditional method and international grapes like in Trento at Ferrari or in Franciacorta, but there also small producers making sparkling wines from indigenous grapes including Lambrusco.

SPAIN, D.O Penedes
Segura Viudas  Cava
ABV 12% SRP $30
purchased on sale 

Method: Traditional

Grapes: Xarel-lo, Parellada, Macabao, also viura. How do we know this is cava? While made in the traditional method, we’ve noticed the bubbles are bigger with petrol and green apple. The mouth feel on the sides of the tongue is very distinct.

Color: Very foamy when pouring big bubbles, pale lemon,

Nose: Floral, toasted banana, rubber, petrol, granny smith green apple; the banana blows off after being open for a bit.

Palate: Very foamy, bubbly, yeasty, the bubbles stick to the tongue, minerals, limestone, fruit is present on the sides of the tongue, green apple,  the top of the tongue experiences the bubbles and the acidity.

Pairing: The zucchini fritters were nice, but we both wanted something more rich and creamy with this wine. Fantastic with the rosemary crusted manchego cheese. It makes the wine fruitier and more expressive. It yearns for some chorizo salami. This is a tapas wine. Sue made a hummus with Indian spices which was a fantastic pairing.  It yearns for salt. It loves the soy sauce for the sushi. Loves oysters!

More Wine Predator stories about Cava:

USA, CA
Gloria Ferrer “Blanc De Noirs”
ABV 12.5% SRP $22
purchased on sale 

How do I know this is a California sparkling wine? The nose can be deceiving. However it lacks the minerals of French Champagne. It has characteristics of Champange, but lacks the complexity.

Method: Traditional

Color: Coppery in color, rose gold,  so pretty, delicate bubbles move up through the glass, some larger bubbles cling to the outside of the glass, looks like Champagne

Nose: Almond, marzipan, brioche, apple danish

Palate: Caramel apple up front, lively bubbles, roasted apple pie, toasted almonds, nice bright acidity, raspberry rhubarb finish

Pairing: Delicious with sushi, the acidity of the wine cleans the richness of the avocado in the California roll. Yummy with potato chips, the clean wine cleanses the oils in the food. The zucchini fritters were also a wonderful pairing. With the triple cream brie it becomes an apple danish, super satisfying.

More Wine Predator stories about sparkling wine from the US:

Piper-Heidsieck – Champagne
Method Champenoise
sample  

Color: Daffodil, persistent, delicate bubbles rising from the middle of the glass

Nose: Brioche, apple danish, raspberry,

Palate: Clean fresh, lots of minerals and acidity, very bright and lively, apple danish brioche, tart and acidic,

Pairing: I loved it with the zucchini fritters and could even imagine this with some Indian spices, Fantastic with potato chips, so french fries would also be fantastic. Triple cream brie and the wine are fantastic together. Great with the Marcona almonds. It does not fight with sushi, and actually went quite nicely with the California roll, bringing out a nice sweetness in the sushi rice.

More Wine Predator stories about Champagne:

There’s so much more to learn about wine, bubbles incldued!

Cheers summer patio sipping and supping!

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