Whether you are looking to impress your friends, have an impending wine tour, or would like to become an expert on wines, you need to be able to tell the difference between sparkling vs. fizzy wine.
Visible Differences before Opening A Bottle
The question of whether a wine is sparkling or fizzy will often arise in the store or at an event when the bottles are in front of you but not yet open. The labels are not always helpful as sparkling and fizzy wines are generally put together.
But, there are signs that can help.
Thickness of Glass
The first thing to look at and feel is the weight of the bottle. As liquid weighs roughly the same the difference in weight reflects the glass used. Heavy bottles have thicker glass and therefore are usually sparkling wines not fizzy.
Take a look at the top of a fizzy white wine and you may find a screw lid or simple cork. This tells you the bottle is fizzy. Sparkling wines will pop a standard cork. That means they need something a little stronger at the top, such as a mushroom cap.
Therefore, if it has a cork or screw lid it’s a fizzy wine. A mushroom lid indicates a high likelihood of a sparkling wine, although a fizzy could be hiding in there!
The Bubble Test
Sparkling wines have a lot more bubbles and fizz than a fizzy wine. You’ll first notice then when you pour the wine. If it foams while pouring it’s a sparkling wine.
It is also visible in the taste. As soon as you put sparkling wine in your mouth it will be targeted by bubbles. Fizzy wine is bubbly but not to the same extent. Take a sip of a fizzy white wine and then a sparkling one, you’ll quickly notice the difference.
Why Sparkling And Fizzy Wines Are Different
The main difference between fizzy and sparkling wine is the sweetness and the number of bubbles.
This is all down to the production process. Both sparkling and fizzy wines are made with wine that is fermented twice. The first fermentation is the same as for any wine production. The second is performed inside a stainless steel container. This allows the temperature and pressure to be perfectly controlled.
The control allows the wine to be pressured to between 1 and 2.5 bar, making it fizzy. If it has a higher pressure, that’s anything over 3.5 bar, it becomes sparkling. The process can be completed in as little as 30 days.
You should note that Champagne also undergoes a secondary fermentation. But, it is done in bottles over yeast and can take years to be ready.
How The Pressure Is Different
The key to the pressure difference is in how much sugar and yeast are present. These two compounds react to produce carbon dioxide which causes the bubbles. The greater the volume of sugar and yeast the more sparkling it will become. That’s also why sparkling wines tend to be sweeter
It’s easier than you think to become a wine expert! But, to solidify what you have just learned you should try several sparkling and fizzy wines, such as a Prosecco or something from the Ca ‘Delle Rose brand. Who doesn’t love a good tasting session?