Prosecco, Champagne & Cava: What's the Difference?
Have you ever wondered what the difference between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco is? All three wines have become synonymous with celebrations, and whilst the bottles of bubbly are common, particularly in the run up to the festive season, there are distinct differences between the three.
Location & Grape Type
One of the most significant differences between the wines is the regions in which they are produced. Champagne is a drink that is solely made in the Champagne region of France from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes.
Cava is one of the most popular sparkling wine in Spain and is produced in Catalonia in the north east of the country using Macebeu, Xarello and Parellada grapes. However, it can sometimes be created using Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes too.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine that is produced in an area spanning nine provinces across the Veneto and Fruili Venezia Giulia regions. Typically, the drink is made from Glera grapes, which are in abundance in the area; however, it can also be produced using Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta Treviagiana grapes.
Another key difference between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco is the methods of how they are produced.
Champagne is created using the ‘Traditional Method’, which is a slow process and begins with the creation of a base wine using grapes that have been picked early in the season. This gives it a tart flavour, and the producers will then add sugar and yeast to create the carbonated process. Once this has been completed, the Champagne will then be aged using either lees or riddling. The drink will then undergo a disgorgement process before a final wine and sugar mixture is added, known as dosage. Cava is also produced in traditional method.
Producing Prosecco tends to be easier, with makers using what is known as the ‘Charmat Method’. Although it follows a very similar process to the Traditional Method, the wine is stored in large tanks during the second fermentation, which makes it more affordable to produce. Pale Fox does things slightly differently- whilst most Proseccos will ferment in tank for 30 days or less, we leave ours to ferment much more slowly over a period of over 100 days. Whilst this does mean that it costs significantly more to produce than most other Proseccos, we feel it is worth it. The bubbles are finer and more persistent and the wine is in contact with the yeast for much longer (even more than most Champagnes) which gives the wine a complexity and richness that you would normally find with a Champagne.
To the untrained palette, the trio might taste similar, but they have their own distinct taste profiles. Champagne features a range of crisp flavours and features more autolytic flavours alongside citrus fruits and biscuity notes. Cava, similar to champagne, traditionally has a more earthy flavour profiles whilst Prosecco, provides the drinker with more fruity notes such as apples and pears alongside more floral tastes.
Pale Fox is slightly different. We try to produce something that is a halfway house between Champagne and traditional Proseccos. We retain that light, fruity flavour one would associate with a Prosecco but with a nutty, biscuity aftertaste, as a result of the yeast contact, that one would normally associate with a Champagne.
Finally, another key difference between the three drinks is the food that they are paired with. Champagne is a dry and rich, which makes it ideal for pairing with the richer appetisers and small plates: Blinis, sour cream, caviar, foie gras- all of the kind of things you would normally associate with the hyper rich.
Cava also goes well with vegetables, in particular artichokes or asparagus, as well as salads. A dry Cava is also great with fried fruits and traditional Spanish tapas.
Prosecco’s light nature lends itself to lighter Italian style Aperitivo and Cicchetti (small Italian hot plates). Some would even suggest it pairs well with Sushi but don’t hold us to that! See here or our perfect food pairings for Pale Fox.
We are currently offering £15 off all case orders of our Single Estate Prosecco. Click here to shop.