Fantastic fizz.

Whether it’s to mark a special occasion, enjoy with delicious food, or just as a well-deserved treat, there’s something about a glass of effervescent sparkling wine that always feels – and tastes – celebratory.

As Lily Bollinger once said: ‘I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.’ 

On Cunard, there are myriad options to choose from at any time of day: be it a lively Buck’s Fizz with breakfast; a chilled glass of prosecco by the pool; a Champagne cocktail at sundown; or even a delicious glass of cava after dinner. And that’s not to mention the signature Champagne Laurent-Perrier Afternoon Tea for which Cunard is rightly famed. Here we discover some fascinating fizz facts, dispel a few bubbly myths, and find out more about this irresistible tipple’s sparkling history. Cheers!

Champagne.

Champagne is predominantly made from three grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, using the méthode champenoise. After the initial alcohol fermentation, the wine is fermented again in the bottle, so that the carbon dioxide which is produced falls back into the wine, and creates the famous bubbles. It’s made in the Champagne region of France and is strictly regulated – there is even an official office (Comité Champagne), which ensures the appellation’s exclusivity. Sparkling wines produced in other areas of France are termed crémant.

Cava.

Mainly created from three Spanish grapes (Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo), cava was first made in the middle of the 19th century when Josep Raventós visited Champagne and became interested in producing a Spanish sparkling wine in the same way. He created the first sparkling wine 21 years later in the vineyards of Penedès in Catalonia. Like Champagne, it has a second fermentation in the bottle – only cava produced in ‘the traditional method’ can be so-called, though it can also be made in other areas of Spain, such as La Rioja, the Basque region and València. As with Champagne, the method means that the wine ages well.

Prosecco.

Named after a village in the Veneto region of north-east Italy, Prosecco, like Champagne, has an appellation that is similarly protected by European law. It is made from the Glera grape, which could date back to Roman times, and also has two fermentations, but the second one is in steel tanks rather than in the bottle. It is then bottled under pressure – this is called the Charmat method. The wine – sparkling, semi-sparkling, or even still – is meant to be drunk young.

Sparkling success.

Quality English wine has been rightly acclaimed and awarded in recent years. The majority of English wines are sparkling and are mostly made using the same three grape varieties as Champagne. The South East of England – particularly parts of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent – is an especially good region because the chalky soil, tempered with a cool climate, is almost identical to the Champagne region in France.

"The quality and finesse of many English wines now plainly rival that of Champagne. We’re delighted to have varieties from Kent, Hampshire and East Sussex among the sparkling wine selection on board our fleet alongside the famous Nyetimber, from West Sussex, on our wine list." - Anthony Habert, Senior Manager of Beverage Development at Cunard.

No matter where you sail, a voyage with Cunard is sure to be sparkling. Enjoy a flavorsome selection of effervescent wines from France, Italy, Spain and beyond with our array of world wines, available by glass or bottle.

Tingling Tastes.

Buttery, floral, biscuit and toasty are all terms associated with sparkling wine, which can be anything from sharp and dry to delicately fruity. Sparkling wines also make outstanding companions to sweet and savory dishes - and not just canapés and wedding cake.

Charles Metcalfe, who has written two books on matching wines with food and was a guest on Cunard’s Voyage du Vin, offers this advice for mastering the perfect sparkling wine food pairings:

‘Most Champagne and cava is near-dry, so best with savory dishes,' advises Charles. ‘Champagne complements seafood dishes, such as oysters, seafood risotto or grilled sole, while cava is brilliant with tapas. Prosecco goes well with sweeter dishes but also makes a great contrast with charcuterie, so do try it with salty meats such as prosciutto, as well as hard cheeses, including Parmesan and Grana Padano.’

Discover a world of drinks from home, with Cunard.

Sparkling wine is just the beginning. Explore Southern Europe's vineyards, learn to make a new cocktail, or plan an on board wine experience, all from your own home.

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The cocktail hour.

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Our wine experiences.

Enjoy a wine tasting alongside a three-course meal, or gain a qualification in wines or spirits with our Wine Academy.

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