#KoolKeeperSummer Bubbles From Around the World

Join us as we talk to Italian Wine Writer Jeremy Parzen, CEO of Champagne & Villages Sophie Couvreur, Ferrari Trento US Ambassador Jamie Stewart, Spanish Wine Importer Jose Pastor, and Gloria Ferrer Winemaker Steven Urberg to learn about different types of sparkling wine from around the world!

There’s no doubt that popping a bottle of sparkling wine is the best way to get a party started. In fact, what would any special occasion be like without a few bottles of bubbles? The feeling you get when drinking a glass of bubbly is the perfect blend of festive and special- and of course, we can’t forget that it’s also just delicious!

Often times, all sparkling wine is mistakenly referred to as Champagne. However, Champagne is only one of many different types of sparkling wine from around the world. Sparkling wine goes by many names, depending on where it’s produced. The list of places that produce sparkling wine is long and diverse, and each type is unique with its own tasting notes and characteristics.

Learning how to differentiate the various types of sparkling wine can be a challenge. But never fear, our expert guests, Italian Wine Writer Jeremy Parzen and former #SommChat guests CEO of Champagne & Villages Sophie Couvreur, Ferrari Trento US Brand Ambassador Jamie Stewart, Spanish wine importer Jose Pastor, and Gloria Ferrer Winemaker Steven Urberg are here so we can all learn about sparkling wines from around the world!

Let us know which types of sparkling wine you’ve tried, and be sure to send in your wine questions so that I can make sure to cover them over the rest of #KoolKeeperSummmer!


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What makes Franciacorta and Prosecco unique from other sparkling wines?

JEREMY PARZEN: In my view, the thing that makes both wines so unique in the panorama of sparkling wine today is that they are uniquely Italian. Both wines are inexorably linked to local enogastronomic traditions and the people who grow and produce them. The wines couldn't exist without the Franciacortini and the Prosecchisti, nor could the Franciacortini and Prosecchisti exist without the wines.

How does Franciacorta differ from Prosecco, another Italian sparkling wine?

JEREMY PARZEN: They differ inasmuch as Franciacorta is a classic-method wine while Prosecco is a Charmat-method and ancestral-method wine. Classic-method wines are double-fermented in bottle. Charmat-method wines are double-fermented in pressurized tanks. Ancestral-method wines are double-fermented in bottle but they are not disgorged (like Franciacorta and conventional Prosecco). Franciacorta is made primarily with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while Prosecco is made primarily with Glera grapes. Franciacorta is the toast of Milan, Prosecco the toast of Venice. They couldn't be more different or more distinct. And they are both elements in highly distinct culinary and cultural traditions.

Which types of grapes are used to make Franciacorta and to make Prosecco?

JEREMY PARZEN: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the primary grapes in Franciacorta. Glera for Prosecco.

What are the prominent tasting notes of Franciacorta?

JEREMY PARZEN: Franciacorta is known for its vibrant freshness, rich fruit flavors, and a classic sour note that many consider the red thread of the category.

What types of food pair well with Prosecco?

JEREMY PARZEN: Adriatic seafood, classic Venetian soft shell crabs and giant crabs, langoustines, goby risotto, fried salt-water fish.

What types of food pair well with Franciacorta?

JEREMY PARZEN: Pickled and fried lake fish (Lake Iseo), air-dried fresh-water sardines (a local specialty), crudo, Japanese cuisine. But Franciacorta has extraordinary breadth and nimble versatility when it comes to pairing. I love Franciacorta with nearly any traditional-style Asian cuisine.


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What is a ‘grower champagne?’

SOPHIE COUVREUR: A grower champagne owns vineyards, and he does his harvest of his vines. He makes his wine in his personal winery, and he does everything from the beginning to the end. He blends maximum 4 villages.

From your point of view, what makes grower champagne special?

SOPHIE COUVREUR: Champagne from growers points out the characteristic of the terroir. Champagne from Cote des Blancs, Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Cote des Bar is totally different. The flavors, the tastes, the textures are distinct. For example ,Chardonnay from each region is totally different.

Which grapes are used to make grower Champagne?

SOPHIE COUVREUR: Main grapes in Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

How do vintage Champagnes differ from non-vintage Champagnes?

SOPHIE COUVREUR: Non-vintage champagne is a blend of several years. A vintage champagne is only 1 year in the bottle.

What is the difference between Grower Champagnes and Big House Champagnes?

SOPHIE COUVREUR: I have attached a chart to show the differences between Grower and Big House Champagnes.

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What does Metodo Classico mean?

All Metodo Classico is Italian for the process of making wine through second bottle fermentation, like Champagne.

What are the qualities for Trentodoc wines?

We define them as sparkling wines from the mountains. A special blend of elements: land, altitude and climate.

What makes #FerrariTrento’s sparkling wines unique?

Our grapes are grown at 400 to 700 meters above sea level. Ferrari was the first Trentodoc and continues to lead. Giulio Ferrari had a dream, & didn’t hide from it. He believed he could succeed and left no stone unturned in it.


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What makes Cava different from other sparkling wines?

JOSE PASTOR: Many people associate the word Cava with a region in Cataluña responsible for producing good affordable sparkling wine. But Cava is not a region itself. The word Cava translates to “cave” or an underground place for storing wine at appropriate temperature, humidity and light conditions. Unlike Prosecco, also known to many people as an option for affordable sparkling wine and which is normally produced by the charmat method (2 nd fermentation takes place in tank), Cava can only be made by the traditional champenoise method (2 nd fermentation takes place inside the bottle), a more costly, labor-intensive way of producing sparkling wine. The majority of Cava produced in Spain comes from the Penedès region of Cataluña. Yet, there are also good examples of Cava being made in regions like La Rioja, Valencia and Extremadura, to name a few. As you can imagine, all these places or regions have different type of soils, climates and grapes. And because of that, they usually tend to produce different expressions of Cava.

What types of grapes are used to make Cava?

JOSE PASTOR: Most white Cava coming from Cataluña are blends of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. In terms of rosé, pink Catalan Cava is usually made with Garnacha, Monastrell and/or Trepat. In my opinion some of the most interesting, complex and age-worthy Cava is made from 100% Xarel-lo grapes.

Are there different types of Cava?

JOSE PASTOR: Like in Rioja, there are some aging requirements involved with Cava. In order to obtain the Cava back label, the wine must spend more than 9 months aging on the lees before disgorgement, more than 15 months to be called “Reserva”, and more than 30 months to be called “Gran Reserva”. Of course, these aging requirements don’t necessarily guarantee any type of quality.

What are the most prominent tasting notes of Cava?

JOSE PASTOR: Interesting question. I’m not very good with tasting notes, but when I think about Cava there are two types of producers and flavor profiles that come to mind. Those who work in a larger scale with a “quantity over quality” philosophy, such as cooperatives and large wineries, who don’t farm their own vineyards, machine harvest their grapes, and use enological products in the cellar to standardize the taste of their Cava. Although there is nothing wrong with these wines, they usually tend to retail for around $10 to $15 and have a more primary, sweet (fruity) profile and seem rather boring. Then there are those producers who work with a “quality over quantity” philosophy, such as growers and small family wineries who farm their own vineyards organically, hand harvest their grapes, and don’t use enological products in the cellar to standardize the taste of their Cava. These wines normally retail for around $20 to $25 and balance the fruitiness with a more secondary, savory (mineral) profile. This second type is the kind that I prefer. Here are the producers that I believe are worth checking out:

Established: Recaredo, Raventos i Blanc and Suriol

Up-and- Coming: Pere Mata, Mas Candí and Júlia Bernet


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What makes sparkling wine a great match with food?

Its crisp acidity is a great palate cleanser, allowing it to stand up to salty or fatty foods and creamy sauces.

Was it challenging in your early years for tasters to take California sparkling seriously?

No, CA sparkling wine has always stood on its own. We are happy to see increased consumption in California sparkling wines overall.

What makes the Gloria Ferrer wines so unique?

Certainly, we continue to learn from each harvest, strive to always improve and create more small exclusive blends.

Thanks again to our expert guests Jeremy Parzen, Sophie Courveur, Jamie Stewart, Jose Pastor and Steven Urberg! To learn even more about sparkling wine, check out our Life Tastings Videos featuring Wine Expert Peter Wasserman's on Champagne!

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Wine Writer Jeremy Parzen

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CEO of Champagne & Villages Sophie Couvreur

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Ferrari Trento US Ambassador Jamie Stewart

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Spanish Wine Importer Jose Pastor

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Gloria Ferrer Winemaker Steven Urberg