Champagne, the first methodically and effectively marketed sparkling wines was perfected in the eponymous region, approximately 140 kilometres northeast of Paris.
Sparkling wines were first produced in southern France (Limoux), but Dom Perignon, with the help of Dom Ruinart, perfected the method of production and made it drier than those from Limoux.
Champagne has been associated with joyous occasions and celebrations, and yet it can be enjoyed every with everything, and in every mood, as Mrs. Bollinger used to say.
Champagne has been much imitated, and champagne manufacturers defend the name of their specialty vigorously. They have fought many a court battle to stop sparkling wine producers in France and elsewhere in the world. American courts protected producers in the USA and allow them to use the term champagne on the label, but American wine drinkers know the difference. The USA is one of the biggest export markets of champagne.
All European and other countries use terms such as methode classique, sekt, methode traditionelle, Cava in Spain, or simply fermented in this bottle.
At least two famous champagne manufacturers set up wineries in California (G.H. Mumm, and L. Roederer) using California grown fruit and employing methode champenoise.
What makes the difference between champagne and other sparkling wines is terroir (combination of climate, soil, and other geographic characteristics).
IN Champagne the soil contains a lot of chalk.
There are many other sparkling wine producing regions in France i.e Loire, Bordeaux, Limoux, Alsace, and Burgundy (Cremant).
Cremant sparkling wines are under three atmospheric pressure, whereas champagne is six.
Outside of France, Russia, England, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Austria, Chile, Argentina, the U S A, and Canada produce sparkling wines – some using the more expensive and time-consuming methode champenoise, others less expensive techniques like Charmat, transvasage, injecting of CO2 and aging, and simple injection of CO2 just before and while bottling.
The Champagne region has three sub-regions Montagne de Reims, Vale de la Marne, and Cotes the Blancs each of which yields different quality of fruit.
Champagnes may be brut sauvage or naturelle, with less than three grams of residual sugar, extra brut six grams, brut 12 grams, demi-sec, and doux more than 12 grams.
In Champagne, authorities recognize the use of seven grape varieties – chardonnay, pinot gris, petit meslier, pinot meunier, foremanteau, arbonne, and pinot noir. Of all, chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier are the most popular.
There are hundreds of producers in the region, but the following are the most famous and largest, dominating world markets – Moet et Chandon, L. Roederer, Charles-Heidsieck, Heidsieck Monopole, Perrier et Jouet, Pol Roger, Deutz, Nicolas Feiullatte, and Marne et Champagne.
Here are some champagnes and sparkling wines you can confidently drink and offer to your guests:
Champagne Laherte, 2008
This is a family-run winery producing a few thousand bottles. This brand from a one-hectare plot behind the winery contains all the recognized grape varieties. It smells floral and fruity (apples). In the mouth, the wine is light, elegant, and refined, with a very fine and persistent perlage and long aftertaste.
Recommended as an aperitif, or with sole fillets in cream sauce, or shrimps with dill in a cream sauce.
Reserve Brut, Chapagne, Bereche et Fils
Excellent refreshing, light with small and persistent bubbles.
Andre Clouet Rose, A. Clouet, Champagne
A mouth-watering, fruity, balanced and elegant sparkler with a long and pleasant aftertaste.
All above wines must be ordered one case minimum containing six bottles from firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Cuvee Brut, Krug, Champagne
Disgorged in 2000 this wine offers apple and pear aromas with subtle nuances of flowers, chalk, and orange peel. A very complex and elegant wine.
Brut Rose Dom Perignon, 2000, Moet et Chandon, Champagne
Vintage champagne is made only with fully ripe fruit, and this occurs only approximately three times a decade in Champagne.
Dom Perignon is made only when the vintage quality warrants the designation.
Made mostly using pinot noir, which makes the wine robust, deeply flavoured with aromas of strawberries.
Very fine and persistent perlage. Elegant and refined and polished.
Cristal, 2005, L. Roederer, Champagne
An outstanding, elegant and refined champagne exuding aromas of wild flowers, green apples and minerals.
The purity and precision, harmony of flavours and balance make this sparkling wine one of the best of the vintage.
Grand Brut, Perrier et Jouet, Champagne
Light yellow, brilliant wine. Spicy, and perfumey aromas along with pineapples waft out of the glass. Refined and elegant with very small and persistent bubbles.
Brut Rose, Lanson, Champagne
A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier with a pale salmon colour and red fruit aromas. In the mouth, it is harmonious, balanced, light and elegant.
CEV Lily, Colio Estates and Winery, Ontario
Pale with hues of green. Aromas of apple and citrus emanate from the glass.
In the mouth, flavours of lemon and apple emerge.
Small persistent bubbles, light and elegant make this wine appropriate for toasts, as aperitif, or with white fleshed fish.
La Rose No. 7, Domain J. Laurens, Limoux, France
Limoux in Languedoc-Roussillon is known for its sweet sparkling wines. This cremant-style as opposed to sparkling wine smells of raspberries. On the palate, red fruit flavours emerge. The bubbles are delicate and persistent. A fine off dry wine to enjoy as an aperitif or with a light meal.
Brut reserve Particulaiere, Nicholas Feuillatte $ 44.95
Brut Reserve, Segura Viudas, Catalonia, Spain $ 24.95
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.