Champagne

(sham – pain)

champagne glasses

Price Range

$30 plus

Years to drink

Drink in 10 years, some longer

Serving Temp

Ice Cold

Color

light with tiny bubbles, rose pink

Acidity

high

Body

light

Tannins

low

Champagne can only be called Champagne,

if grown in Champagne France

Grapes

Pinot Noir: adds orange and red fruit flavors

Pinot Meunier: add richness and yellow apple flavors

Chardonnay: adds citrus and maripan flavors

Common Styles

Non Vintage: house style champagne can be from multiple years

Blanc de Blancs: 100% Chardonnay wines

Blanc de Noirs: Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier winess

Rose: Rose wines with fruit flavors

Vintage & Special Cuvee: Aged champagne wines

Methode Champenoise

Methode Champenoise or Methode Traditionnelle is more expensive because it is more labor intensive. This starts by making a base wine then adding sugar and yeast to the bottle which starts a secondary fermentation. The bottles are placed in riddling racks, which tip the bottle slightly upside down allowing the lees (the dead yeast cells) to collect in the neck of the bottle. You know that Veuve Clicquot Champagne? Well Madame Nicole Barbe Clicquot was the inspiration behind riddling racks. She hated the cloudy look of champagne, because at the time the lees would settle in the bottom of the bottle and when your poured it, it would get all cloudy (think Kombucha). So she had these racks created which would hold the bottles at a forty five degree angle with the neck down. Several times a week, workers go in and turn the bottle, in some cases giving it a small shake to make sure the lees are not caking or clinging to the glass. Then they freeze the neck of the bottle so that they can “disgorge” the plug of lees that has settled in the neck of the bottle. They then refill the empty space in the bottle often adjusting the sweetness in the process and cork and cage the wine. Because these wines do the secondary fermentation in the bottle (the big heavy champagne bottles) the pressure is higher, at 6-7 atmospheres of pressure which is what gives you those very small fine bubbles.

Sweetness levels

Yep, this can be confusing. Dry is not really dry. Typically in a wine, dryness is dependent on the amount of residual sugar in the finished wine. In the fermentation process, yeast eats the sugar, in the end, if it eats all the sugar you get a dryer wine, if there is sugar left over…well that is the residual sugar! In Sparkling wines dry comes in the wrong place for my brain on the sweetness scale. Here we go with our rundown of wine sweetness.

This is from Sweetest to driest:

Doux: Sweetest (this will give you over 2 teaspoons of sugar for each glass)

Demi-Sec: a little less sweet (only 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar per glass)

Dry: Not REALLY dry (3/4 to 1 teaspoon of sugar)

Extra Dry: Well, it’s dryer than dry! (1/2 to ¾ teaspoons)

Brut: Now we are getting dryer (1/4 to ½ teaspoons of sugar)

Extra Brut: Dryer than Brut with (less than ¼ teaspoons of sugar)

Brut Nature: Okay here we go…this is the driest! (less than 1/6 teaspoon of sugar in a glass)

This is important to keep in mind, because unless you go to a great little wine shop where they are smart and knowledgeable, it is unfortunately likely that they will point you in the wrong direction on the dryness scale. (toss this info in your phone for when you go champagne shopping!)

Dominate Flavors

oranges

citrus

peaches

peach

almonds

almond

toast

toast

Aroma's

strawberries
strawberries
yellow grapefruit
yellow grapefruit
lily of the valley
lily of the valley
hazelnuts
hazelnuts
lemons
lemons
apricots
apricots
raspberries
raspberries
honeydew melon
honeydew melon
pear
pear

Pairing with cheese

Cheese Pairings

Fresh & Salty

feta, Cotija, Paneer, Chevre, Sour cream

 

 

How to serve

how to serve

Serve ice cold

 

pair with food

Pair with food

Meat

Oyster, Clam, Charcuterie, bacon, salami

Popcorn

Champagne Blog Posts