Sparkling Wines of the World

Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy. The carbon dioxide may result from natural fermentation, either in a bottle, as with the méthode champenoise, in a large tank designed to withstand the pressures involved (as in theCharmat process), or as a result of carbon dioxide injection.

Sparkling wine is usually white or rosé but there are many examples of red sparkling wines such as Italian Brachetto and Australian sparkling Shiraz. The sweetness of sparkling wine can range from very dry “brut” styles to sweeter “doux” varieties.

The classic example of a sparkling wine is Champagne, but many other examples are produced in other countries and regions, such as Espumante in Portugal, Cava in Spain,FranciacortaTrento and Asti in Italy (the generic Italian term for sparkling wine being Spumante) and Cap Classique in South Africa. In some parts of the world, the words “champagne” or “spumante” are used as a synonym for sparkling wine, although laws in Europe and other countries reserve the word Champagne for a specific type from the Champagne region of France. The French terms “Mousseux” or “Crémant” are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region. German and Austrian sparkling wines are called Sekt. The United States is a significant producer of sparkling wine: California in particular has seen French Champagne houses open wineries in the state to make American sparkling wine according to the Champagne method. Recently the United Kingdom, which produced some of the earliest examples of sparkling wine, has started producing Champagne-style wines again.

Pasadena, CA: Pop Champagne and Dessert Bar

The 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau made its much-anticipated debut at a special wine tasting and dinner at Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar organized by the Alliance Française de Pasadena on Sunday, November 22 from 4:00 to 10:00 P.M.    Alliance director Fanchon, shares that the organization is very old and one of the first in the Southwest dating back to 1924.  The French school opened 15 years ago and is located across the street from the restaurant.  Fanchon describes the event as  “…just an excuse to have fun.”  If fun is what you are looking for then Pop Champagne and Dessert bar is the right place.  They have an extensive wine and champagne list to accompany your small plates. 

 

(Scallops Cordon Bleu)

My meals were from a prefix menu for the event.  Everything eaten except for the ice cream was paired with wine or champagne.   Chef Ray Velasquez is wonderful in balancing flavor and has a since of humor when it comes to food.  He told us that his mother always told him not to play with food.  Among his unique creations are scallops Cordon Bleu and popcorn ice cream.  Yes, popcorn ice cream is on the menu.  What does it tastes like?  It has the smooth flavor of kettle corn.   In the picture below give us a unique approach to serving poached pear on a tart.

Pop Champagne and Dessert provides a romantic and fun environment for an evening out.

Photos by Crystal Johnson

Review by Crystal Johnson Restaurant Critic, Los Angeles Examiner and the Valley Scene Magazine