Putting Sparkling Wine to the Taste Test

Amanti Vino on the difference between a growers' champagne and a prosecco.

Amanti Vino owner Sharon Sevrens leads a sparkling wine blind tasting.
Amanti Vino owner Sharon Sevrens leads a sparkling wine blind tasting.

Amanti Vino owner Sharon Sevrens recently put this Patch editor’s love of bubbly to the test. 

Sevrens confirmed what I already suspected — sparkling wine pairs perfectly with any meal and doesn’t need to be saved for special occasions.

“I recommend champagne pretty much with everything,” Sevrens said. “When in doubt, always go with champagne.”

The Montclair wine shop owner prepared a blind tasting featuring three bottles: a growers’ champagne which retails for $39.99, a sparkling wine made in the Bourgogne region of France in the same way as champagne that sells for $24.99 and a prosecco made in Italy with the carbonation added in a tank. The latter costs considerably less at $16.99 a bottle.

Sevrens covered the labels and poured the sparkling wine. She challenged the tasters to look at the size and number of bubbles as well as the color. Then she asked us to stick our noses in each and smell for distinguishing notes. Minerality? Apples? Florals? Finally, Sevrens said to pay attention to the taste. Look for aggressive flavors and how long you can continue to taste the wine after you swallow it, she instructed.

Here’s what I found (along with some guidance from Sevrens). Can you guess which was which by these descriptions?

1.     The first glass had the lightest color and the biggest and most active bubbles. Citrusy notes and dry. In fact, all three were dry making this a tricky blind tasting.

2.     The second glass had the smallest bubbles, which disappeared the quickest. The notes were hard to come by for me, but Sevrens described it as apple brioche. I did recognize that the taste was aggressive and lingered the longest.

3.     The third glass had smaller bubbles, not as many as the first, but more than the second. The color of the second and third were similar. The taste was bold but did not linger as long as No. 2.

Did you guess the following? 

1.     Prosecco: Burgolotti
2.     Growers’ Champagne: Pierre Gimonnet & Fils
3.     Bourgogne: Parigot


Related Story

Ronnie Salmanowitz Breitstein December 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM
If you want Prosecco, it must be from Bisol


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