Sparkling Wine vs Fizzy Wine. What’s the difference? – How to distinguish a Sparkling wine from a Fizzy wine and what are the main differences that a wine expert must know.
Sparkling Wine or Fizzy Wine? Matter of Pressure
The first difference between sparkling wine and fizzy wine is about pressure and it is sanctioned by the European Regulation. A fizzy wine is defined as such when it has a pressure (due to the carbon dioxide developed by fermentation) “not less than 1 and not more than 2.5 bar”. A sparkling wine, on the other hand, must have at least a 3.5 pressure bar (for some categories 3).
The two main methods for the production of sparkling wine are the Classic Method and the Charmat Method (or Martinotti). The first is the method of the Champagne, the Franciacorta and the Trento DOC, while the second is used to produce many other sparkling wines, first of all, Prosecco. (Find out why we prefer sparkling wines during the Summer!).
Both methods start from a base wine that will follow two fermentations.
The difference is mainly in the second fermentation. In the Classic Method, the refermentation takes place in the bottle where the wine rests on the yeasts from a few months to several years. In the Charmat method, the refermentation takes place inside stainless steel fermenters at controlled temperature and pressure, for a time of about 30 days in general. For the fizzy wines, the Charmat Method is usually used, where however the resting time on the lees will be shorter (around 20 days).
How to recognize a Sparkling Wine from a Fizzy Wine at a glance
There are elements in the packaging of sparkling wine and fizzy wine that can help us distinguish the two types of bubbles.
First of all the cap. We recognize a sparkling wine immediately by the mushroom cork which, thanks to the metal cage, guarantees a closure capable of containing the pressure of the bottle. Semi sparkling wines can be found with several types of cap: cork, crown cap, screw cap…
These closures, which we also find in still wines, are excellent for containing a lower pressure, for example, 2.5 bar.
Another difference: is the bottle. If we can choose between various glass weights for fizzy wines, this is not the case for sparkling wines. In fact, sparkling wines generally have heavier and thicker bottles, capable of containing strong internal pressure even under mechanical