The Difference Between Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Sparkling California Wines

If you’ve ever opened a bottle of bubbly during a celebration, you may have called it Champagne. But did you know this title deserves much more singularity in the world of sparkling wines? There are four main categories: champagne, prosecco, cava and sparkling California wines.

NoJa gives you a closer look at what makes each one of these sparkling wines a unique choice for your next dining experience.


Origin: True champagne is only produced in France’s Champagne region. Northeast of Paris, this region is known for its harsh climate and hearty soil. The title of Champagne is so strict that only three grapes may be used to produce it: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier.

Taste: The flavor of champagnes can vary from very dry to very sweet. These not only depend upon the grapes but also upon the sugar content.

Price: It will be the priciest of sparkling wine options simply due to the labor involved and the quality of the grapes. A longtime favorite of champagne choices is still Dom Perignon.

Conversation piece: Champagne is made in “methode champenoise.” This is the traditional method whereby the wine is placed into bottles for a second fermentation after the first fermentation has taken place. This is what makes the bubbles.


Origin: Prosecco comes to us from the region of Italy called Veneto. The Veneto region yields a grape called the glera, which gives Prosecco its fruit-forward flavor.

Taste: Order by the glass and you’ll enjoy flavors of pear, melon and green apple. Choices in Prosecco range from semi-sparkling to fully sparkling. Prosecco is made using the “charmat method.” This method involves placing the wine into stainless steel tanks and then pumping CO2 into the tanks prior to bottling.

Price: Prosecco is by far the most affordable of sparkling wine options. You can easily purchase a nice bottle for the $12 range in most areas of the country. Because of its affordability and availability, Prosecco is gaining popularity in restaurants.


Origin: Cava is a sparkling wine made in the Catalonia region of Spain. Cava is made mainly from white grapes of macabeo, parellada and xarel-lo which are native to Catalonia. However, other grapes may be used in the final product such as chardonnay, pinot noir, garnacha and monastrell.

Taste: Cava may be white or rose’ depending upon the grapes used. In its taste, you’ll enjoy a dry sparkling wine that presents with fine bubbles.

Price: Prices for Cava sparkling wines range in the $100 per bottle range. A popular choice is Laurent-Perrier Brut, which typically costs $51 per half bottle.

Sparkling California Wines

Origin: California wineries are producing sparkling wines throughout the state, especially in the cooler northern areas. California sparkling wines are made primarily using grapes of pinot noir, chardonnay and, at times, pinot meunier.

Taste: Because of California's broad expanse, the wines' taste varies. You can find very dry wines, very sweet wines and everything in between.

Price: California sparkling wine prices range but are generally affordable for most budgets. A popular brand you’ll see is Iron Horse.

It’s Noja’s attention to detail and our focus on farm-fresh ingredients that have allowed us to continue to serve this area for so long. For an intimate meal in one of Port City’s longest-running restaurants in downtown Mobile, make a reservation to Noja. We have both indoor and outdoor seating in a secluded area, just steps from Dauphin Street in LODA at 6 N. Jackson Street. To reserve a table now, call 251-433-0377. Learn more about our cuisine and offerings at or our Facebook page.

Noja is a Mediterranean-Asian restaurant in the heart of downtown Mobile with an ever-evolving menu. Call us at 251-433-0377 to make a reservation today then visit at 6 N. Jackson St.; Mobile.

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