A lot of times I have noticed there are a lot of myths and confusion when it comes to wine. It is quite understandable how the consumer can get confused when it comes to wine labeling and there is just so much of it.
This time I’ll try to explain what is Champagne and where does it come from.
Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines can be called Champagne. So what is the difference?
Well, for a sparkling wine to be called and labeled Champagne, it has to meet two main criteria, it has to be from the Champagne region in France and it has to meet the rules of Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, which regulates what grapes are used, where they are grown and how the Champagne is produced.
The grapes used to produce Champagne are , and Chardonnay. There are more than one hundred Champagne houses and 19,000 smaller vignerons (vine-growing producers) in Champagne. These companies manage some 32,000 hectares of vineyards in the region.
If you think about it, 32,000 hectares is not a lot, if you consider the amount of Champagne consumed in the world everyday. This brings us to this - why Champagne can be so damn expensive? As a luxury celebrative beverage Champagne is known and consumed worldwide, so the demand is there, but the producers are limited only to the land of Champagne. So the results is that a bottle of Champagne can cost anywhere from 30€ to a couple of thousand euros.
So how to know if you’re buying legitimate Champagne? In most european countries the word Champagne is protected by law, but if you are from a country like the US, I would think twice before buying the 10$ bottle that says champagne on it.
Here are a few popular brands of Champagne that you won't go wrong with
Veuve Clicqout Ponsardin Brut and Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial are both from popular brands and both of these are considered in the mid range price. Veuve Clicqout Ponsardin Brut is 36.99 € at my local alko outlet and the Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial is 38.99 €. As in taste the brut is going to be dryer (opposite to sweet) and the nectar is a little fruitier and a little sweeter.
The other two bottles are a little pricier. Both of them are single vintage and are not produced every year, but only when the vine maker considers the yield to be premium quality. Dom Pérignon is Moet & Chandon’s front house champagne and is going to take you back 160+€ depending on the vintage. The Bollinger Grande Année rosé is going to match the Dom Pérignon in price or will be a little pricier. As in taste they both should be superb.
I hope this will help you the next time you are at the supermarket and looking at hundreds of different bottles and save the confusion.