What is Champagne?
- Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France, just a hundred kilometres north of Paris. Only sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region can be called Champagne.
- It is an expensive drink, but in my opinion worth the investment. Worse case scenario if you don’t like it, you can transform it into a funky cocktail.
What makes Champagne so special?
- The bubbles
- The high acidity
- The diversity of styles
- Generally, wines go through one fermentation process. Fermentation happens when the sugar converts to alcohol. During the fermentation process carbon dioxide gas is also created, but the gas can escape from the tank where wine is being fermented.
- In Champagne, there is a second fermentation. This fermentation happens in the bottle, where the carbon dioxide cannot escape, therefore creating the bubbles.
The wine’s high acidity:
- For Champagne having high acidity is a must as high acidity gives the sensation of crispness and freshness.
- Wines have different levels of acidity. In warm climates the grapes ripe fully, this makes the grapes higher in sugar, but lower in acidity. In cold climates it is the opposite, the grapes find it hard to ripe fully, therefore the are low in sugar and high in acidity.
- The Champagne region has cold weather which makes it perfect for making Champagne.
Diversity of styles:
In general most wines are dry, including Champagne. All Champagne are labelled with a word to indicate their sweetness level. Dry Champagne are labelled “Brut”. Other sweetness level terms for Champagne wines are:
- Extra brut or brut nature – these wines are very dry
- Sec – dry, but slightly less than brut wines
- Demi-sec – medium sweet
- Doux – sweet
Which glass type should I drink Champagne from?
A flute glass as it makes the bubbles travel in a narrow spaces, so you don’t lose the bubbles.
What temperature is the best to drink Champagne?
Quite cold, between 3-7°C.
What is the best Champagne?
Like with any wines, the best one is the one you like the best. So you will have to try several ones to see with one you like the most. My favourite so far is a Henriot, Vintage Brut.
Alternatives to Champagne:
If you are starting to taste sparkling wines, or you are on a budget but you still want to have the pleasure of quality sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne, a great starting point is to taste some Crémant or Cava.
What is Crémant?
Crémant is a French sparkling wine made using the same process as Champagne.
What is Cava?
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made using the same process as Champagne.