Stop Staring At The Prosecco Aisle And Read This Guide To Fizz

sparkling wine
The Ultimate Guide To Buying Sparkling WineDelish

Have you ever been stuck staring at all the bottles of fizz in your local supermarket or wine shop, paralysed with choice? We've been there, and it can be hard to know what to choose, where to put your money, or even what you'll actually enjoy drinking.

Well, we're here to help.

Our guide will take you through the different types of sparkling wine, which ones are the most affordable, most expensive and best value, as well as the best type to use in your favourite spritz-y cocktails.

Although we've got a serious soft spot for other types of bubbles (Lambrusco and Pet Nat are top tier) we're focussing on the five main types of fizz here. So, without further ado, let's uncork all the info.

What are the different types of sparkling wine?

  • Prosecco: an affordable, fruity Italian sparkling wine made in the north of the country usually using Glera grapes.

  • Champagne: premium fizz made only in the Champagne region in the north east of France with mainly Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes.

  • Cava: an affordable Spanish sparkling wine made in a similar way to Champagne with Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes.

  • English Sparkling Wine: sparkling wine made right here in England, usually using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Minot Meunier grapes.

  • Crémant: in short, French sparkling wine made outside the region of Champagne, usually using Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

What's the cheapest sparkling wine?

By far, the cheapest sparkling wine you can buy is usually a bottle of Prosecco or Cava. You can pick up incredibly affordable bottles of Italian and Spanish fizz from outlets like Lidl or Aldi, and although they won't blow your socks off in terms of unique taste, you can crack them open safe in the knowledge that you know what you're getting. To make these more affordable wines sing, make sure they're lovely and chilled before uncorking, and serve alongside salty, savoury foods like a charcuterie board.

What's the most expensive sparkling wine?

It'll come as no surprise that Champers is up there among some of the priciest bottles in existence when it comes to sparkling wine. There are lots of reasons why Champagne is more expensive than other sparkling wines, but one is that lots of good quality bottles of fizz are laid down to age for months or even years, so there are increased storage and staffing costs for the winemakers. You can also get pretty pricey bottles of English sparkling wine too, as most wine made in England isn't mass produced, so there's more labour required to make them.

What's the best value sparkling wine?

Say you've got a budget of £25 for a special bottle to celebrate with - which bottle should you buy to get the most bubbles for your buck? The answer is Cava. While £25 might not get you very far with a bottle of Champers (it's likely to be mass produced without much character), Cava gives you much more to play with. Cava is very close to Champagne in terms of taste, but you're not paying a premium for the status of Champagne (or the expensive land the grapes are grown on). The reason why Cava is a better value bottle than Prosecco is because instead of being fermented en-mass in steel tanks, the wine is fermented in the bottle, which is the same method as Champagne. This also creates a yeasty substance called lees that add an extra layer of flavour. Go for a lovely vintage Cava for those toasty Champagne-like notes.

What's the best sparkling wine for cocktails?

It totally depends on the cocktail, of course! There are loads of cocktails that call for Champagne, and if you're making a classic like a French 75, then we recommend you use a good one. Other cocktails call for Prosecco, like the internet-famous Negroni Spagliato, and the iconic Aperol Spritz. If you're making something more unique, feel free to play with the flavours. Perhaps a fruity drink would suit a fresh Prosecco, and something with a little liqueur in needs the biscuit-y tones of Cava or Prosecco to back it up.