To celebrate Global Champagne Day, we are giving you an in-depth overview of all things champagne. Champagne is the favorite drink of choice for myself and my friends. So, it is only natural that we are champagne connoisseurs.
Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine
Although most people refer to all bubbly beverages like champagne, real champagne hails from the Champagne Region of France. As a matter of fact, in France, it is illegal to refer to bubbly made outside the Champagne Region as champagne; it is sparkling wine. So that “champagne” from California is sparkling wine. Now is there a difference in taste? It depends. To me, champagne has a certain crispness that hits your tongue after that first sip, and sparkling wine does not. To others, they cannot tell the difference between Andre and Moet.
Grand Cru Anyone
During one of my field trips to Total Wine and More, one of the specialists explained the Grand Cru that is on some champagne labels but not others. Grand Cru translates to “great growth.” In short, this means the grapes used are the best of the best! Grand Cru is a distinction that represents the best grapes that were used to make this champagne. At the moment, only 17 champagne houses have this distinction.
Does this matter? No, no one is asking you, “Is this Grand Cru?” while you pour them a glass of bubbly or make them a mimosa. I usually only sip Grand Cru on special occasions or when one of my friends deserves a toast. Other than that, the Grand Cru stays on the shelf.
Champagne House Recommendations
So, who is offering champagne, and who is offering sparkling wine? I am sure you can name a few champagne houses without me mentioning them, Moet or Veuve anyone? But let’s go over some that are not as popular and have been around a lot longer.
Taittinger (Ty-Thun-Jey) – A favorite of mine
Dom Perignon – named after a monk who is considered the “godfather” of champagne
Veuve Cliquot (Verv Klikoh) – The Rose is terrific, and the brut is a staple.
Nicolas Feuillatte – Great affordable bottle for family dinners
Pol Roger (Poll Ro-Jey) – if you want to sip like the Queen of England, this is for you
Bollinger (Boll-Lan-Jey) – My go to champagne
Perrier-Jouet – Gifts I give to my champagne friends
Krug – no words to describe this champagne; it is my absolute favorite
Ruinart (Ree-nar) – oldest champagne house in the world, for the “sophisticated palettes.”
So You Know
1. If you hear a pop when you open a bottle of champagne, you are opening the bottle the wrong way. The bottle should make no sound or a hissing sound.
2. Please, please, please chill your champagne.
3. Whether you get sparkling wine or champagne, get what is best for you.
4. If you are making mimosas, get sparkling wine.
5. Do not drink out the bottle; let’s keep it cute and classy.
In closing, however you choose to celebrate Global Champagne Day, please do it responsibly. Have fun but have good, careful fun! Until next time, Clink Clink!