Champagne is equated to celebratory events, to class, and elegance. Whether it’s spraying champagne to celebrate a victory or engagement, opening up a nice bottle at a wedding, or simply using it to make a toast, champagne is the bubbly drink associated with the finer things in life. But what is the deal with this 7000-year old drink? Is it really just the same as sparkling wine? How come it’s become such a celebration staple? And is there only one kind of champagne? Let’s seek to answer these questions in this guide to all things champagne.
What exactly is champagne?
Like bourbon and tequila, champagne is specific to a region of production. While the product itself is a sparkling wine, it’s considered champagne if it’s produced in Champagne, France.
Champagne is only made using specific kinds of white grapes, namely:
- Pinot noir
- Pinot meunier
Containing 11% to 13% ABV per bottle, champagne’s notes of citrus, almonds, and apples can range from very dry to very sweet.
What is the difference between champagne and sparkling wine?
Aside from region and white grapes used, champagne also goes through fermentation twice unlike other wines.
Champagne is fermented once in the barrel, and then again in the bottle. It’s this bottle fermentation that sets champagne apart from other sparkling wines.
How was champagne invented?
As it is with many alcoholic beverages, there is no telling how exactly champagne came to be. It’s said to have existed for thousands of years, with its origins being debated even until today. History can’t seem to agree on whether the French or the English invented this drink.
However difficult it is to pinpoint an incident of the invention of champagne, the common thread between all these accounts is that champagne came about by accident. Many retellings of the story claim that some winemakers had been making normal wine in the winter, and it was the weather that affected the results.
As the story goes, these winemakers had fermented their wine in the cellars. However, because it was too cold that winter, the yeast stopped functioning, and the wine stopped fermenting. Yeast remained dormant in the wine until spring, when the environment started to heat up and reactivate the yeast. Unaware of this, the winemakers continued to bottle up their wine, not knowing that fermentation was still ongoing in the bottles. As a result, carbon dioxide buildup caused the bottles to go bad and explode! This was the beginning of sparkling wine.
Appellation d’Origine Controlée
As time went on and champagne began to rise in popularity, it became a sign of prestige and class. Regulations and restrictions were introduced throughout the production process to maintain the drink’s quality.
Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) is a guideline for the production of champagne, which varies between champagne-producing regions. Here are just some aspects that the AOC has control over:
- Viticultrual practices
- Grapes used in the drink – chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier, pinot blanc, petit meslier, pinot gris, arbane
- The amount of grapes yield per hectare of vineyard
- Duration of fermentation and aging
What types of champagne are there?
Champagne is divided into categories based on how sweet it is:
- Brut nature: extra dry
- Extra brut: very dry
- Brut: drier
- Extra dry: dry
- Dry: somewhat dry
- Demi-sec: sweet
- Doux: very sweet
Looking for your favorite champagne? Minuman.com provides the widest selection of champagnes. Order now and have your champagne delivered to your doorstep with fast and free delivery.
Champagne available at minuman.com and the minuman.com superstore: