What is Champagne?

Sparkling wine can be a fun, delicious addition to anyone’s evening. It is a social drink. It’s what you might drink on a New Year’s party or a Mardi Gras event. Sparkling wine is a white wine that has been infused or naturally fermented with more carbon dioxide in the mix, making it bubbly and fizzy like a soda. That begs the question, however, what is champagne? Why is it different than normal sparkling white wine?

At its core, champagne is made specifically in Champagne region of France. Some mistakenly label all sparkling wine as “champagne”, but that is completely incorrect. In many countries, it is illegal to label sparkling wine as champagne unless it is specifically produced in that region. No other countries can produce champagne and many other laws prevent them from using the grapes from the region.

The grapes used to make champagne are black Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, but there are also white Chardonnay grapes used as well. Sales of champagne have grown ever since the medieval times—in 2007, it topped a record of a massive 338.7 million bottles. There’s no doubt that it is popular among the world, but they are very specific about their brand.

There are many types of champagne, but all of them are made in France. Despite champagne being made as a white wine, some black grapes are used as well. They are separated in groups. These are the different types:

Prestige cuvée: A blended wine that is the best of the production. These wines include Louis Roederer’s Cristal, Duval-Leroy’s Cuvée Femme, and Pol Roger’s Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

Blanc de noirs: Translated, it means “white from black” or “white of blacks” produced entirely from black grapes. Even though the grapes are black, they still produce white liquid from removing the flesh from the grapes.

Blanc de blancs: Similar to the listing above, this means “white from whites” and is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes. It is sometimes used in other sparkling wine regions.

Not only can champagne make a great party drink, it is also a great collectable for many wine enthusiasts. True champagne, as said above, is made only in the Champagne region of France, so getting it means it has to be imported and traded. The bottles are a large collector piece, especially older ones.

There’s even champagne etiquette. Usually, there are special glasses called “flutes” to drink it from. They are thin, slender glasses that are easy to hold. There are also champagne coups, which are special, wider and shorter glasses to hold it. You may have seen these in a pyramid-like shape where the beverage is poured into the top glass and trickles down to the others below. Wine glasses can make all the difference when it comes to drinking any sort of wine.

Champagne has been part of many celebrations and events, most notably those times where New Year’s Eve becomes New Year’s Day. Bottles are also popped during sports events like the Grand Prix and racing events. While they may be expensive, it is certainly enjoyable to let that cork burst off.