I’m sure you’ve heard that “real champagne is only from France,” which is confusing, because what are you supposed to toast on New Year’s Eve? Here’s the only difference between champagne and sparkling wine:
Champagne is sparkling wine, but the grapes are from the Champagne region of France. The process is the same, the grape varietals are the same, and both are bubbly – the only difference is the place where the sparkling wine is made.
Not that all sparkling wine is equal – there are distinct differences between the various sparkling wines like all wines, but champagne is most definitely not always superior to sparkling wines. California winemakers like Gloria Ferrer, Chandon, and J Vineyards produce excellent sparkling wines that are sophisticated, balanced, and pair perfectly with a chic brunch or celebration.
PS – Sparkling wine and champagne should not be reserved for New Year’s Eve or romantic celebrations. Enjoy it year-round – it’s fun to drink on it’s own or to compliment brunch, appetizers, salads, seafood and desserts.
PPS – Consider popping the cork on a bottle of Michelle Brut or Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, watch the extremely entertaining wine documentary Somm while enjoying a charcuterie platter and have yourself a delectable date night in.