Best Champagne Wine Guide

Your Sommelier's Best Champagne Wine Guide

The Romans were the first to identify the most suitable hills for winegrowing in the region and plant grape varieties, which were resistant to its harsh climate. Then the regional abbeys took over the vineyard estates and developed a very special know-how of blending Champagne wines; the most famous being of course the monk Dom Perignon. The blending of grapes from different parcels and even different years gives very specific wines, typical of the winemaker and well above the sum of the quality of each grape. The birth of the Kingdom of France in Reims then consolidated the reputation of Champagne wines, which were served at French king coronations in Reims until 1825. From the 17th century, Champagne winemakers learned how to master the natural effervescence of wine and started to bottle rather than store it in barrel to better preserve those special bubbles.

The name Champagne is now exclusively reserved for wines produced in a specific area and a specific method known as “Méthode Champenoise” – or “Traditional Method” Champagne is the wine that accompanies special occasions like weddings or simply great family moments.


The Winemakers...

Independent Winemakers

They produce their champagne with their own grapes and under their own name. Usually called Grower Champagne.

Champagne Houses

They are called “Négociant Manipulant”. They can have their own vineyards but the also buy grapes from winegrowers to elaborate their wines. All major brands of Champagne are "Houses".

... And Their Wines

Brut (Non Vintage Champagne)

It is a blend of several grape varieties from different years to obtain the typical wine of the winemaker or the House.

Millésimé (Vintage Champagne)

It is the blend of grapes from a specific year, that gives a Champagne a strong character marked by the vintage.

Rosé

Champagne Rosé is produced by macerating red grapes or as a blend of champagne and red wine from Champagne.

Blanc de Blancs

A blend of Chardonnay grapes from different vintages (except for “Blanc de Blancs Millésimé”) and different parcels.

Grapes

Pinot Noir

Dominant grape of Champagne vineyards (38%), it gives the wines aromas of red fruit and a strong structure. It brings the body and the power to a Champagne blend.

Pinot Meunier

More vigorous variety that supports the most difficult climatic conditions, it gives flexible fruity wines and brings softness to Champagne blends. Champagne made of 100% Pinot Meunier are called "Blanc de Noirs"

Chardonnay

This vigorous white grape gives larger grains than Chardonnay. It is widely spread on soils that are not suitable for Pinot and Chardonnay, while remaining excellent vineyard soil. The dry white wine it produces is called Bourgogne Aligoté and it can also enter into blends to make Crémant de Bourgogne.


Key Figures

Surface: 33,580 ha
Winemakers: 5,000
Production: 268m bottles

Find more information on the region and its wines on the official website of the region or on Wikipedia


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