• Scientific Reasons Why Champagne is Good For You – Drink Bubbly Without Guilt!

    You have likely heard that champagne is a great drink. You see it drunk at birthday parties and weddings and celebrations. But is the bubbly really good for you, health wise or has it always been just hearsay? 

    Let us assure you that science has proven that champagne is good for you. So the next time you pop the champagne cork at breakfast (yes, people do that), you need not feel guilty at all and can actually claim that it is for your health. 

    champagne for memory boost
    Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

    Let’s dive in on the scientific reasons why champagne is good for you.

    Champagne will give your memory a boost

    Champagne contains proteins that are beneficial for your memory. A team of researchers from the University of Reading previously conducted a study that determined up to three glasses of Champagne per week can boost brain health

    As memory is one of the primary cognitive functions in humans, the study wanted to prove that there would be a positive impact if champagne is consumed in moderation. 

    So the study was performed on rats over a period of six weeks. Rats were given a dose of champagne every day and were made to complete a maze. A success rate of 70 percent was celebrated when rats drank the champagne on a regular basis. The same rats only had a 50 percent success rate without the champagne! 

    People have also claimed that champagne helps to fight memory loss diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s although it has not yet been proven. 

    Well you do not have anything to lose if a glass or two (scientists declare that three glasses is best) a week helps to delay the onset of memory loss in the brain. So drink away! 

    Champagne is low in calories 

    If you desire to lose weight, calorie intake is pretty important in that process. Yet some may find it rather difficult to give up their glasses of wine altogether. Fret not! A glass of champagne contains fewer calories than a glass of red or white wine. 

    A glass of red or white wine can contain up to 200 calories whereas a glass of champagne only has about 80 to 95 calories. 

    Scientific Reasons Why Champagne is Good For You - Drink Bubbly Without Guilt! champagne is low colories
    Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

    You can even find low dosage champagne that only has an average of 65 calories in a glass. 

    A bottle of Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas François, 2006, Brut, is lower in calories as it contains less sugar. This is such a good option and you can enjoy it, guilt-free! You can also select your champagne according to the 7 levels of brut so that you can choose even lower calorie bubbly.

    Champagne protects your brain 

    Three phenolic acids from champagne called tyrosol, caffeic acid and gallic acid protect your brain from damage from free radicals. 

    Champagne increases your sex drive 

    Alcohol generally makes you lose your inhibitions and gives you an extra buzz. Couples usually then experience a drop in energy and a side effect of alcohol leaves a lack of blood flow for arousal. 

    The champagne bubbles however, allows you to feel the effects of alcohol much quicker without sapping your energy. This is due to the magnesium, potassium and zinc that champagne contains. 

    The bubbles also go to your head at a much faster rate as compared to other wines and alcohol. Research has shown that people who drank champagne had a higher level of alcohol in their blood after 20 minutes than those who consumed flat sparkling wine. 

    Due to the carbonation which ‘rushes’ the alcohol from the stomach to the small intestine, you will feel the effects of alcohol much quicker. Therefore, the extra buzz leads most people to have a higher sex drive. 

    So the next time you are celebrating an anniversary with your partner, drink the bubbly and make it an unforgettable night! 

    Champagne improves your heart health

    We all know that wine actually improves your heart health but did you know that champagne actually shares the same benefits? 

    Why not? Champagne is basically made from both red and white wine grapes. It is just that the three main champagne grapes are planted, harvested and bottled in the northeastern region of France named Champagne. 

    Studies have shown that ‘two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation and could reduce your risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease and stroke.’

    Red and white wine grapes contain antioxidants that prevent damage to the blood vessels. Wine grapes also prevent blood clots and reduce bad cholesterol in your body. Both of these benefits actually reduces your risk of developing heart diseases and strokes. 

    However, do not go overboard. Drink in moderation. 

    For champagne lovers, champagne not only holds a place in your heart, it also helps your heart and for the broken hearted, well either way, champagne will heal your heart.

    Champagne lowers your risk of diabetes

    Champagne lowers the risk of diabetes by 13 percent! Wow! 

    If you have a history of diabetes in the family, it might be time to drink bubbly on a more regular basis. Actually, all wines will reduce the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes but we prefer some bubbles in our wine. 

    Champagne helps with digestion

    A study done actually found that fermented alcoholic drinks, such as the bubbly you drink, can increase gastric acid by as much as 95 percent. 

    Low stomach acids can cause many digestive problems such as nausea, acid reflux, gastritis, general discomfort and more. The increase in gastric acid actually helps your body to digest food better. 

    Champagne is good for your skin 

    Give your skin a good boost with champagne as the antioxidants found in wine grapes gives your countenance a lift. 

    Scientific Reasons Why Champagne is Good For You - Drink Bubbly Without Guilt! Champagne is good for your skin
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

    Dermatologists love wine grapes. There are antioxidant properties in wine grapes that help with skin. Champagne also contains a lightening tartaric acid that reduces pigmentation, therefore creating an even skin tone. 

    Plus, champagne has antibacterial properties which helps to fight skin breakouts and reduce acne. 

    Champagne is also a good source of polyphenol, which is known to combat skin redness. The bubbly you drink has carbon dioxide properties that creates a skin tightening effect, therefore reducing wrinkles and loose skin.

    Some dermatologists have also recommended dipping a cotton ball into a bit of champagne and directly applying it topically to your face and throat. Sounds crazy? Why not test it out and tell us if it helped your skin? There is no harm in trying out this method. 

    Others also recommend that you add a bottle of champagne to your bubble bath as the carbon dioxide in champagne will act as a gentle exfoliator whilst soothing dry skin. The acidity found in champagne will also leave your skin soft and supple to the touch.

    If that sounds too weird to you, it does not change the fact that there are so many benefits of champagne for your skin. So is it not worth drinking a glass or two every day? 

    Start by trying a bottle of the vintage Cristal 2004. You will likely be a champagne convert after tasting it for the first time if this is your first bottle of champagne! 

    Champagne gives you shiny hair

    Although this is an unconventional use of champagne, did you know that rinsing your hair with a bottle of champagne will add volume to your locks? The next time you wash your hair, use a bottle of champagne instead of the typical hair products. 

    If you have blond or light coloured hair, it is a bonus because a champagne hair wash will help to bright out the shine in hair due to the golden colour of champagne. 

    Champagne boosts your mood

    Besides being a nice treat for yourself, champagne also contains mood-boosting benefits! For your mental health, you can drink a glass or two of champagne as the sources of zinc, potassium and magnesium help to lift your mood if you’ve had a bad day.

    All the more reason to enjoy a glass of champagne without taking into account whether you have had a bad day or not. 

    To give your mood a further boost, pair your champagne with a good source of protein such as a salmon or mackerel dish. The pairing of champagne plus a fish dish which is rich in omega-3 will increase your happiness.

    Not only does it taste good, the scientific benefit for your mental health is worth a glass! 

    Wrap Up

    Experts really believe that drinking champagne actually brings multiple benefits to your physical and mental health. However, this only works if you drink in moderation. Science has proven the benefits of bubbly so you need not worry about the advantages of being a myth. The next time you raise a toast, celebrate not just the occasion or couple, remember you are also toasting your health. Drink up! 

  • Types of Champagne – Jargon on Champagne Labels Explained!

    Walk into a liquor store or a wine shop and you will probably be faced with hundreds, if not thousands of choices for hard liquor, wine, sparkling wine and champagne. It is definitely not easy to choose a single bottle of wine to drink. If you do not want to go wrong, the first thing you can do is pick champagne as your choice of drink. But there are so many different types of champagne! How do you even start on choosing a single bottle from the different types? 

    Read on to find out all the different types of champagne, explain the jargon surrounding this bubbly and ultimately help you pick the best champagne you should select! Whatever your preference – dry, creamy, toasty, sweet – you will be able to find a champagne that suits your palate perfectly! 

    Ways to Categorize Champagne

    First off, sparkling wine is not champagne. What is champagne then? 

    Well, the wine you drink can only be called champagne if the bubbly is made in the northeastern region of France called Champagne. There is a common saying, ‘All champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne’. This basically sums it up. 

    champagne in the bucket

    There are several different ways to differentiate the type of champagne. As you have likely observed, all the jargon on the bottle of a label is hard to understand if you are not a seasoned bubbly drinker. 

    To categorize champagne, you can go according to champagne brands, sweet champagne types, champagne vineyards, champagne styles, ways of aging and classification of champagne.

    All the above makes a difference in terms of identifying the type of champagne you would want to buy.

    Sweetness Level of Champagne

    The first way to differentiate the types of champagne is by its sweetness level. Sugar that is added to champagne is called Dosage. It is added right before the cork is inserted into the bottle. You may also come across the term brut, this is the French word for dry

    So what is brut champagne? Brut champagne is effectively the level of sweetness in the champagne. There are seven levels altogether – from doux (sweet) to brut nature (bone dry).

    The seven types – brut nature, extra brut, brut, extra dry, dry, demi-sec and doux – is usually found on the label of the champagne bottle so if you absolutely love sweet bubbly, go for doux champagne!

    The amount of sugar added to the champagne determines the level of brut. As each person has different preferences when it comes to sweetness, producers produce various types of brut levels to meet market demands. 

    Style of Champagne

    There are 3 main champagne grapes that are used to make bubbly – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. There are others but these 3 primary grapes account for 99.7 percent of champagne grapes. 

    It is how these grapes are used that give you a hint of what type of style or type of champagne you are about to taste. 

    Chardonnay

    If the style of champagne is not stated on the bottle, just assume that the producer has blended all three grapes together in a white sparkling wine. 

    The three main styles of champagne are:

    1. Blanc de Blancs 

    Made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is a white style of champagne. 

    1. Blanc de Noirs 

    This is made with 100% black grapes. A combination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier usually makes up this bubbly.

    1. Rosé

    Rosé champagne is usually made with a blend of white and red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. 

    Rose Champagne
    Photo by Alex George on Unsplash

    Aging of Champagne

    This is actually one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing the type of champagne. The fact that how long the bottle of bubbly is aged and how it is aged affects the taste and flavour of the champagne. 

    Champagne is further categorised into two parts when it comes to aging – vintage champagne and non-vintage champagne. 

    Vintage champagne is aged for a minimum of three years, though most are aged longer than that. Non-vintage champagne, on the other hand, is aged for a minimum of only 15 months. 

    When it comes to aging champagne on tirage (on the lees), the aging gives the flavour more toasty, bready and nutty notes, all of which are a sign of a great champagne. 

    Iconic brands of champagne such as Moët & Chandon will age their bottles on tirage even longer than the required years. This is why they are one of the best brands as the flavour produced is one of the nuttiest sparkling wines in the world! 

    Classification

    You may also figure out the type of champagne through the commune name. This signifies where the grapes used to make the champagne are grown. 

    Across the Champagne region, there are hundreds of communes. However, there are only two types that produce exemplary quality wine grapes which in turn, will make high-quality champagnes. 

    The first is the Premier Cru vineyards. Out of the hundreds of communes, there are only 42 Premier Cru vineyards. 

    The second is the Grand Cru vineyards. Even more exclusive, there are only 17 Grand Cru vineyards among the hundreds. 

    Of course, there are other crus that are just as good but if you spot on the label Premier Cru or Grand Cru, you are pretty much guaranteed a really good bottle of champagne for your celebrations. 

    Producer Classification 

    The name of the champagne producer is also noted on the bottles’ labels. There are three main types of producers – Maisons, Cooperatives and Vignerons. 

    Maisons 

    This basically means the big guys. The big champagne houses like Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot, Perrier, Moët and so on are called Maisons. 

    The grapes they use are from all over the region of Champagne. 

    The Maisons are further broken down into three categories, which are: 

    Négociant Manipulant (NM)

    This means that the producer buys all or some of the grapes used from other growers. Anything less than 94% estate fruit, by law, must be labeled as Négociant Manipulant. 

    Marque d’Acheteur (MA) 

    This also means ‘buyer’s own brand’. Large retailers or restaurants that buy finished wine and sell it under their own private label is probably MA. 

    Négociant Distributeur (ND)

    This refers to a buyer that labels and distributes bubbly that they neither grew nor produced. 

    Cooperatives

    Cooperatives refer to the medium guys. They are located in specific villages and make their champagne from multiple different growers. 

    Vignerons 

    These are grower producers or are owned by a single family or individual who grows grapes by himself in a specific place and makes his own bubbly. 

    Further broken down are three terms again:-

    Récoltant Manipulant” (RM) 

    This refers to a grower-producer who uses a minimum of 95% estate fruit. This is the classic grower-producer type though a Maison sometimes uses this classification on a sub-label. 

    Société de Récoltants (SR) 

    SR is a group of growers who share resources and market their own brands as a team

    Récoltant Coopérateur”  (RC) 

    RC is a grower-producer who has their own brand of champagne but made at a co-op facility.

    Where the Grapes are Grown

    There are five main growing regions of grapes in Champagne. Where the wine grapes are grown makes a difference as each of the regions have different distinct qualities. 

    The five main regions are: 

    Montagne de Reims

    Pinot Noir is the grape of choice in this region. Where this is located, on a hill south of Reims that has vineyards facing south or southeast, allows the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness before harvest. 

    This area contains ten of the 17 Grand Cru vineyards as stated above! 

    Krug uses grapes from Montagne de Reims and the flavours are bigger and richer than your average grapes 

    meunier grapes

    Vallée de la Marne

    Only one of the Grand Cru vineyards is found in the Vallée de la Marne. The main focus of this region is the Pinot Meunier grape as the cooler weather allows the grapes to easily ripen. The grapes produced here has more smoky flavours

    Côte des Blancs

    Primarily planted with Chardonnay, the slope the grapes are planted on faces east and has lots of sun. This region contains the remaining 6 Grand Cru vineyards. Some of the finest Blanc de Blancs are produced from the grapes of this region. 

    Côte de Sézanne

    Similar to Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne produces Chardonnay as well but the grapes are usually blended by larger Maisons. 

    Côte des Bar

    Mostly planted with Pinot Noir, it is somewhat similar to Montagne de Reims. This area however, is relatively new when it comes to producing champagne grapes. The newest however, does not mean that the quality is bad. It just means that you may find hidden gems of great value grapes! 

    Conclusion 

    All the factors when it comes to types of champagne can cross over with each other. For example, the Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François, 2006, Brut. It is brut, the grapes are from a blend of 60% Pinot Noir Montagne de Reims and 40% Chardonnay from Côte des Blancs. Just read the label for you to find the types of champagnes and all the information. So there you have it, you should be able to understand the labels on champagne bottles now without getting a panic attack over the champagne jargon. Happy shopping and happy drinking!  

  • Vintage Champagne – A Whole Other World of Bubbly

    Vintage champagne has been described as “wine that is supposed to make you happy” by Moët Hennessy ambassador Lucy Warren. During times of celebration, champagne is brought out and the bubbly will elicit smiles all around with the clink of glasses heard all around. Vintage champagne is needed, in our opinion, all the time! 

    Vintage Champagne - A Whole Other World of Bubbly moet
    Photo by Fotograf Jylland from Pexels

    Here is why! Today, you will be reading all about vintage champagne. And no, this is not a rather dry (see what we did there?) topic. If you are interested in bubbly, this is where you start. 

    What is Vintage Champagne? 

    All champagne can only be considered champagne if they are produced in the northeastern region of France called Champagne (note the capital C). However, even if they come from the same region, champagne can vary significantly. 

    The majority of champagne is considered non vintage. Vintage champagne, also known as millésimé, is made exclusively with the produce of a single harvest. This means that the labelling on the bottles will likely show a year. 

    When the harvest is of outstanding quality during certain years, vintage champagne is produced. At times, vintage champagne production is infrequent due to weather conditions.

    Popular brands that produce vintage champagne include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Neunier. It all has to be from a single year though, for it to be considered vintage. 

    What Affects the Production of Vintage Champagne?

    There are a few factors that go into the production of vintage champagne that, if not done correctly, will result in the non-production of vintage bubbly. 

    1. Weather 

    Champagne, the region, is one of the northernmost wine regions in the world. This means that the weather constantly changes and is subject to all kinds of winds. It may be  cold one day and hail may drop the next. 

    Vintage Champagne - A Whole Other World of Bubbly good weather for grapes
    Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

    Overall, it is freezing over in Champagne. 

    This will affect the production of grapes. At times, the grapes are not ripe enough and other years, the grapes would be overripe. 

    Nowadays, with technology, champagne producers have started to grow grapes in a controlled environment. This is great for vintage champagnes as producers are able to produce more bottles. However, not all producers have applied this technology yet so it is not very popular. 

    1. Scarcity and Quality

    The scarcity and quality of harvested grapes in the same season are key determinants for vintage champagne production. 

    In theory, vintage champagnes are only made in particularly good years. The bubbly has to be made from the best grapes from superior vineyards only. 

    Why Is Vintage Champagne so Expensive? 

    Vintage champagne, by law, has to be aged a minimum of four years. This is what makes vintage cost a lot more at times. 

    Also, the word “vintage” brings to mind “old and expensive” or maybe “treasured”. It can be really interesting to collect vintage champagne and may bring wine collectors great pleasure.

    Vintage Champagne - A Whole Other World of Bubbly vintage champagne

    There is a reason that makes sense why vintage champagne is more expensive – there is simply less of it. Champagne producers have less to play around with to produce a flavourful bottle and therefore, it will cost more.   

    How Much Should You Pay for Vintage Champagne?

    It really is up to you. Ask yourself if you really want or need a bottle of vintage champagne and if the answer is yes, the sky’s the limit in terms of price. 

    The older the bottle, the more you can expect to pay. 

    An increase of 20 to 30 percent for a relatively new vintage bottle is fairly common. 

    Is Vintage Champagne an Investment Opportunity? 

    Vintage champagne offers first time investors a lower entry point as it is fairly affordable, especially when compared with other wines like Burgundy or Bordeaux. 

    For seasoned investors, an investment in vintage champagne can diversify portfolios. 

    Vintage bubbly will increase in value when the year the bottle is made becomes scarce. 

    Globally, the top champagne vintages, which include the years 1988, 1996 and 2002, showed consistent appreciation and steady growth over the years. Over a two year period up to August 2014, these bottles rose 10.2% in value. 

    Say what you will about wine collectors, vintage champagne may likely be a great investment opportunity!

    What is the Difference Between Vintage vs Non-Vintage Champagne

    Every year, around 80 to 90 percent of bubbly is produced that is non-vintage. People do get rather confused while browsing a liquor store about champagne, non-vintage champagne and vintage champagne.

    Look out for the following differences if you want to look like an expert and know the difference between vintage versus non-vintage champagne:-

    Label on Bottle

    The year of harvest will always appear on a bottle of vintage champagne. Non-vintage champagne does not have a year as it is made from a mixture of harvested grapes.

    Blend

    Non-vintage champagnes are wines that are made from grapes harvested from a number of years. Up to 90 percent of champagne is non-vintage. The mixture can be a comfortable blend or one that represents a house’s specific style. 

    Vintage champagne is a blend that reflects the year instead. You never know what you will get and only superior grapes from the harvest are produced into a type of vintage champagne. 

    Aging Time

    Non-vintage champagnes are aged in a producer’s cellars for a minimum of 15 months only. Of course, there are variants to it but that is the general rule. 

    Vintage champagnes, however, are aged for at least three to four years although most will be left for longer. 

    Vintage Champagne - A Whole Other World of Bubbly Duval Leroy
    Duval-Leroy, Femme de Champagne, 1996

    Storage Time

    Vintage champagnes can be kept up to 10 years. Non-vintage champagne can be drunk immediately, right off the shelf. 

    You can likely store non-vintage champagne up to a year but it has to be stored in a place where there is no light and no heat or your bubbly will deteriorate and end up flat. 

    Value

    Vintage champagne is celebrated for its uniqueness. 

    Non vintage champagne is valued for its familiarity, which often highlights a brand or label’s flagship tastes and aromas. Each vineyard and champagne producer has its in-house style. Some iconic brands such as Pinot Noir highlights a taste that is richer and bolder. 

    Others, such as Taittinger, who specializes in Chardonnay grapes, have a taste that is more elegant. 

    Misconceptions about Vintage Champagne

    There are, as always, a few misconceptions when it comes to vintage champagne. Among them are:

    Quality 

    This is a very common misconception. People often think that vintage champagne is of higher quality than non vintage champagne. 

    We would like to point out that taste is a matter of preference. Although more work goes into producing a vintage champagne, the taste of vintage champagne on the palate is more complex but does not mean that it is better than non-vintage champagne. 

    Ideally, you should try a vintage and a non-vintage champagne side by side in order to see the real differences and how each house or producers’s style comes across in each glass.

    Storage

    No, you are not encouraged to keep champagne forever, even if they are vintage. The flavour, taste and aroma of champagne will change as they age and it will become deeper and lose some of its bubbly. 

    Vintage bubbly can be kept for five to ten years only before it starts changing but maybe for the better. It is best to keep in mind that each individual bottle can be kept for a different amount of time. 

    Vintage Year

    It is untrue that the majority of producers have to agree before a year is named a “vintage year”. 

    In fact, according to Thibaut Le Mailloux, the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the governing body of the region, explained that every champagne producer can decide to create a vintage wine depending on its harvest, strategy or desire to do so.

    It is entirely dependent on each individual producer, individually. 

    The Best Vintage Champagne

    While any year can potentially be a vintage year in producing champagne. However, in recent history, there have been two or three years in each decade that stood out and were deemed worth of vintage bottling. 

    The year 2002 and 2008 were such years. 

    In 2002, the quality of the vintage was deemed “exceptional” by many and seemed to have given remarkable pleasure to those who drank the bubbly from this year. 

    Vintage Champagne

    In 2008, the vintage wines produced offered more acidity and greater aging potential. The Doyard, Blanc de Blancs 2008, Grand Cru, Brut is one such example of a vintage chardonnay blend from this year. 

    There are, of course, other great years or maybe the producer decided to bottle or two of vintage. You can try the Duval-Leroy, Femme de Champagne 1996 or the  Gosset, Celebris, 2004, Extra Brut as an entry into the vintage champagne world.  

    Conclusion

    There are many differences between vintage and non-vintage champagne. Vintage champagne opens a whole different world of bubbly for you. Either way, whether you are

  • How Long Does Champagne Last? Keep the Bubbles in Your Bubbly!

    There’s nothing as elegant as serving a glass of perfectly chilled champagne. However, sometimes all you want to do is taste the champagne or have a glass with a few dishes. You do not have to drink the entire bottle! 

    Yes, you can store champagne and today we will tell you how to do it best so that your champagne does not go to waste and still tastes delicious! 

    How Long Does Champagne Last? 

    Your bottle of champagne has a shelf life of about 3 to 5 days once it is opened. After this period of time, most bottles will lose their bubbly and taste rather flat. When the champagne is flat, it means that all the flavours in the bottle have evaporated which means it is likely you will not enjoy your champagne anymore. 

    How Long Does Champagne Last? Keep the Bubbles in Your Bubbly! wine glass
    Image by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay

    There are certain sparkling wines that do not last as long as traditional sparkling wines such as champagne and cava. Prosecco and moscato are among these categories. You should drink Prosecco and moscato as soon as possible and definitely within the three days of first popping the cork. 

    If however, your bottle of champagne is unopened, there are certain ways to store it in order to extend its shelf life. Read on because we’ll talk about that. 

    First, we have to find out… 

    How to Keep The Bubbles in Champagne? 

    Keeping the fizz in champagne is so essential in order for your bottle of champagne to not go flat. 

    The best tips for you when it comes to keeping a bottle of champagne fresh and bubbly is to..

    1.  Pop a champagne stopper into the bottle. 

    If you do not plan on finishing your bottle of champagne, have a champagne stopper on hand. 

    Champagne stoppers are airtight which means that the gas is unable to escape the wine. 

    Once you have poured the amount of champagne into a glass – whether it is a flute or tulip shaped glass – immediately clamp a stopper onto the bottle. Even between refilling your glass, you can do that. It is not limited to when you do not finish the bottle of champagne.

    1. Stuff a cork into the bottle

    If you don’t have a champagne stopper on hand, you can stuff a regular wine cork into your champagne bottle. 

    The aim is to keep oxygen out and the champagne bubbles in! At the very least, stuffing a wine cork into the bottle of champagne will help.

    1. Wrap with cling wrap

    If both champagne stopper and wine corks are not available, just use cling wrap and secure it with a rubber band. 

    Remember, the purpose is to keep the fizz in champagne. 

    It does not matter which of the above methods you use, as long as you cover the bottle as tightly as possible. Although some people have sworn and said that the spoon-in-the-bottle trick works, it does not! Cover your bottles! 

    The spoon-in-the-bottle trick is when people put a teaspoon, handle downwards, into the champagne bottle’s mouth. The origins of this tactic is uncertain but research has shown that there was no effect in the preservation of carbonation and effervescence

    1. Store in the fridge

    This is essential! Any of the three methods mentioned above will work only if you store your bubbly in the fridge. Not the freezer. 

    The science behind is that the colder the champagne, the slower it releases the carbon dioxide or CO2, which keeps the bubbles right in your sparkling wine! 

    How to Store Champagne?

    You have to store champagne correctly so that the quality is not affected. It is likely that you have a few bottles of champagne to be enjoyed at home so a cellar is out of the question unless you’re staying in an old period house. 

    So how do you do it? Here a few pointers so that your champagne’s quality is not affected. 

    1. Lay bottles horizontally

    For the short term of up to a month, bottles can be stored standing up. It is more practical this way. 

    However, for long term storage, it is best that bottles of champagne should be laid down horizontally. You can use a wine rack or stacked in a way a cellar stacks bottles. 

    If it is kept standing for too long, there is a risk of the cork drying out. 

    How Long Does Champagne Last? Keep the Bubbles in Your Bubbly! store your champagne
    Photo by Florent B. from Pexels
    1. Keep bottles away from bright light 

    It is essential to keep champagne away from bright and artificial light. Try to keep them away from vibrations as well. 

    Although your home does not have a cellar, we try to emulate a cellar’s settings and wine cellars are kept dark for a reason, which is to maintain the quality of champagne and wine. 

    1. Consistent temperature

    The ideal temperature for storage of champagne bottles is at 10°C to 13°C. However, what is more important is the consistency of temperature storage instead. 

    If temperature fluctuates a lot, it will kill the champagne or sparkling wine. Places like the kitchen, garage or sheds should not be a storage place for champagnes as these locations have temperatures that are ever changing. 

    1. Do not store forever

    Before being sold, champagnes are already aged properly. Therefore, it is not necessary to store it for a long time. 

    Generally, non-vintage champagnes can be kept unopened for three to four years. Vintage champagnes on the other hand, can be stored anywhere between five to ten years. 

    Usually, champagnes will lose their bubbles as they age and over time, the flavours will mature. This will change the taste and aroma of the champagne. As they age, champagne will also become a deeper, golden colour. 

    How Do You Know if Your Champagne is Bad? 

    Unfortunately, champagne can go bad and spoil. 

    When champagne has gone bad, the taste of it will be flat and the aroma will have faded. Instead, the smell of vinegar will be very strong. 

    Generally, bad champagne tastes sour and quite unpleasant. Although you can use it for cooking, it is likely you will be turned off by it and avoid using it for any dish at this point. 

    To avoid having your champagne turn bad, you can use the methods as mentioned above and invest in a proper champagne stopper. 

    Another option would be to finish everything! Save your bottles of champagne for when you have company or when you are really celebrating an occasion. 

    How to best serve champagne?

    There are a few things to keep in mind when serving champagne, whether it is half a bottle or an unopened bottle in order to ensure the quality of the bubbly remains. 

    Chill champagne

    Champagne needs to be chilled. Optimum serving temperature for champagne is between 8°C to 10°C. 

    You can chill the bottle in your fridge for about three hours before serving or leave it in a bucket of ice and water for 30 minutes. 

    However, never put your champagne in the freezer as this will kill its bubbles and before you know it, your champagne has gone flat! 

    Be careful when opening champagne

    There is about five to six atmospheric pressure within a bottle of champagne. This means that it can pop a cork out at 50mph. Yes, people have actually died from a flying cork. Be careful! 

    To open a bottle of champagne, hold the bottle away from you at a 45 degree angle. Place the cork in the palm of your hand whilst holding the base and twist the bottle slowly. You will feel the cork loosen eventually. 

    If the cork refuses to move, run the neck of the bottle over some warm water for a few seconds. That should do the trick. 

    There is nothing more noteworthy than a person being able to open a bottle of champagne properly! 

    Do not make it pop

    Champagne should be opened with a hiss rather than a loud pop! In a restaurant or when you are dining outside your home, other guests should not be disturbed by the popping sound of a champagne bottle. 

    Indeed, you have to have great control to open the bottle slowly but it is better etiquette to do so. 

    Of course, there are circumstances in which the pop, fizz, clink is considered important. When celebrating an occasion, the pop certainly adds a warm atmosphere and gives the party a sense of festivity. So if you have an occasion to celebrate, pop away! 

    Serve it in a glass 

    The ideal glass to serve champagne in is actually a tulip shaped glass! This is the best way to keep bubbles in. 

    The width of the champagne coupe, which is said to be modelled after Marie Anoinette’s breast, is more popular but the bubble and aromas of your bubbly are quickly lost into the air if this glass is used. It will not last as long. 

    How Long Does Champagne Last? Keep the Bubbles in Your Bubbly! Keep the bubbles in champagne
    Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

    Conclusion

    Champagne is such an exquisite drink and you definitely do not want to waste even a drop of it, so purchase only the best affordable champagne! It is advisable to store it properly if you are storing it for a longer period of time or if it is drunk halfway to ensure the quality of your bubbly is intact. Serve champagne properly, in the right way and enjoy its light, delicate and complex nature of it! 

  • Rose Champagne – Pretty in Pink

    Champagne is synonymous to celebration and parties of good tidings. Having attended any such occasions, you would likely have been offered a taste of this classy and golden beverage. For those with a few more encounters with champagne, you may have chanced upon what is called Rose Champagne, also known as pink champagne.

    Rose Champagne - Pretty in Pink rose champagne 1
    Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

    Typically, champagne comes in various tinges of yellowish-orange depending on its source. Rose Champagne however, is a standout amongst its counterparts by carrying an added hue of pink. This is the reason some call it pink champagne instead. 

    What is rose champagne?

    Outside of the color difference, what is rose champagne and what makes it so different from your regular champagne? What are the differences when it comes to Rose vs Champagne.

    To really make the best out of this question, we have to give you a basic understanding of what champagne is. Champagne is basically sparkling wine that is made in France using grapes grown in the Champagne region. The Champagne region (note the capital C) is based in the northeastern part of France. 

    The exclusivity of champagne is due to the fact that there are laws that govern their production. It is illegal for anyone to label any product “Champagne” unless it came from that region. You can read this article for a more in depth explanation about what champagne is all about.

    The process of making champagne is also highly regulated, making its reputation that much more luxurious. At this point, you should note that we are still only talking about regular champagne. 

    Rose Champagne comprises only about 5% of champagne produced annually. The key difference is really in the addition of red grapes added to the mix when making this sparkling wine.

    This added tint of pink, or red grapes, elevates an already head-turning drink to something of higher exclusivity. 

    Rose Champagne however, isn’t just exclusive and unique in its visual parts. This pink equivalent of champagne is higher in value and rarity as well.

    The additional ingredient needed to create this pink hue in rose champagne also inserts a new layer of complexity in taste. It is truly a drink fit for the highest of joyful celebrations.

    Some even consider Rose Champagne the best champagne in the world.

    There are two methods when it comes to how pink sparkling wine is made. The first is Blending or “Rose d’assemblage” and the second is Macerated or “Rose de Saignee”.

    To further explain these two methods:-

    Rose d’assemblage

    The blending process is where red wine is added to sparkling white wine. The two different types of grapes are fermented separately and then mixed in together once the process is complete. 

    Typically, Rose champagne consists of 15% red wine, with the rest being white. This however is not universal and is up to each maker’s preference in taste and color.

    Rose Champagne - Pretty in Pink Rose dassemblage
    Photo by Andreea Ch from Pexels

    Rose de Saignee

    In the maceration method, the white wine, while being fermented, comes into contact with red grape skin for a short period of time. This contact between the two then results in the pinkish hue that Rose champagne is known for.

    It is good to note that neither methods are wrong as both are practiced and accepted legally. The blending method however, is the more common method adopted by most Rose Champagne makers.

    What does rose champagne taste like?

    The taste profile of Rose Champagne is definitely unique and different from your regular glass of champagne. Like any food and beverage, any added ingredient will surely result in added complexity in taste and flavor.

    Your everyday glass of champagne is usually crisp and dry. The added red grapes into the mix will naturally add a deeper, robust and fruity aroma and taste. This can take its reference from red wine which carries a similar taste profile.

    However, every brand of Pink Champagne is produced with varying consistencies unique to the house producing them.

    The well known Moet & Chandon rose for example has a richer taste of strawberry and raspberry that’s firm and flowery. The iconic Dom Perignon Rose is a warm and full fruity vanilla rose. 

    There are also rose bottles with a wider palette such as the Chandon Rose which is fresh with strawberry, watermelon and cherry notes.

    The overall take away in difference between a good glass of pink with champagne is really in the variety of fruitiness. They are all derived from the quality and quantity of red grapes that goes into making the brand.

    Why is rose champagne more expensive?

    The simple truth in why Rose champagne prices are higher is twofold. 

    First and foremost would be labour intensity and secondly would be its rarity.

    Labour Intensity

    Rose champagne is very labour intensive to produce. 

    As we have touched on briefly before, the making of champagne is a highly regulated process. Each step of the making process, from the vineyard practices and maintenance, to the fermentation process, each step an important step towards the perfect farm is unharmed.

    This means that each step involved in making pink champagne requires skilled workers from start to finish to be trained. Training takes time and labour from the producers. 

    Realize that in order to achieve the pink hue, a double amount of fermentation and therefore effort is required.

    Rarity

    Having only 5% of champagne manufactured per year being Rose is the second reason why Rose Champagne rockets in price. 

    With this level of rarity, there is a much higher demand that results in higher market prices than regular champagne.

    Is Rose better than champagne?

    Now comes the real question: Is Rose better than champagne? The answer to this question is really up to the person holding the glass. 

    As most expert tasters have said that there is actually no key difference in terms of quality between a bottle of pink and a bottle of gold.

    One key concern that most would voice is the versatility of rose champagne. Most would look at the common understanding that white wine pairs better with white meat, seafood or salty food for when brut is served. 

    What then would be the space that rose would take if it is champagne added with red grapes?

    Thankfully, like its golden counterpart, Rose and regular champagne goes fairly well with most dishes. Whether it is white poultry such as chicken, seafood such as fish or lobster, or a good cut of steak, Rose will pair well. 

    This makes for a very versatile bottle, especially if you are on the lookout for something to go with a party menu that may have greater variety than most.

    The only factor that denotes difference in value is the fact that there is less pink champagne being produced yearly. It therefore comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two.

    Do you prefer to keep to the tradition of dry, crisp and straight champagne, or perhaps opt for something a little more eye-catching. 

    Surely the roses, pink hue of playfulness that most will identify with rose champagne will add a little something to your celebration. Not to mention the flavor of fruits that adds to the style of festivities you are holding.

    Rose champagne will also go well with the decor of a really girly party (think pink!). 

    What is the best rose champagne?

    At this point we can point you to two bottles that could start you off in search of your favorite. These two bottles of Rose will be good introductions to the world of Rose Champagne. Hopefully once you’ve taken a taste of these, you will begin searching for more to one day arrive at a personal favorite.

    McBride Sisters Rose

    The McBride Sisters Rose is 90% pinot noir and 10% chardonnay, a rather strong mix of red with chardonnay. 

    Rose Champagne - Pretty in Pink OSUXVW

    This high percentage of red gives it ample fruitiness. With floral rose petal notes with scents of strawberry and red berries, the fruitiness of this bottle carries over to its taste. Additional tastes for a strong palate of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry is available as well.

    BouvetRose

    An authentic french rose champagne with a beautiful salmon pink hue. The BouvetRose carries with it very fine bubbles and a mild mousse. 

    The BouvetRose is more diverse in scent, a telltale hint of raspberry mixed in with red currant and peach. On its taste you will have a variety of earthly notes with a herbal spice over a blackcurrant taste.

    Conclusion 

    At the end of the day, the preference in Rose is really up to you. A bottle of pink, playful fruitiness will definitely set your soiree apart from the one down the street. The pretty pink hue is a plus for any celebration’s eyes too, not to mention the exquisite taste on the palate. We only ask that you take your time with your selection, just as you would with wine or any other bubbly. Explore the broad selection that is available in this unique branch of champagne and find the bottle that will satisfy your bubbling needs.

  • What is Brut Champagne? The 7 Levels of Brut

    After drinking or shopping for champagne and bubbly or even sparkling wine for a while, you will notice a very common word – brut. This is not the name of a brand or company. In fact, brut is the French word “dry”. Brut indicates the level of sweetness in sparkling wine. In the step before corking the bottle, champagne producers will add a small amount of sugar before corking the bottle.

    What is Brut Champagne? The 7 Levels of Brut Brut level in Champagne
    Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy from Pexels

    Champagne is actually sparkling wine made in the French region of Champagne. It can only be called champagne if it is made there. 

    Brut levels in champagne 

    Sugar is added to champagne to reduce sour flavours in the wine as champagne is usually very acidic. There are different options for champagne as humans’ sweetness preferences are different.

    The amount of sugar in the champagne can either make your glass taste like sweet nectar or bone dry. 

    There are few levels of brut – from brut nature to doux. Doux is just an indicator for the level of sweetness in the champagne bottle. It takes very little sugar for wine to taste sweet. 

    According to Wine Folly, there are 7 levels of Brut which are:

    • Brut Nature (bone dry): 0 – 3 grams per litre
    • Extra Brut (bone dry): 0 – 6 grams per litre
    • Brut (dry): 0 – 12 grams per litre
    • Extra dry (fruity): 12 – 17 grams per litre
    • Dry (off-dry): 17-32 grams per litre
    • Demi Sec (sweet): 32 – 50 grams per litre
    • Doux (sweet): 50+ grams per litre

    If you like your champagne dry, get brut champagne but if you like it sweet, get champagne that is a doux, as stated on the label of the bubbly’s bottles. 

    Taste and Flavor Profile of Brut Champagne

    Brut is normally dry and the sugar adds a certain amount of sweetness to it. However, because there are so many varieties available, every brut wine tastes different. 

    For example, the Dhondt-Grellet, which is extra brut as compared to the G.H Mumm will definitely vary in taste and sweetness. 

    Although champagne is always aged, you will notice that there is a fresh floral, nutty, or bready note on the nose. Some may give out an aroma of bright fruit like apple or pear. Brut champagne is not as fruity as compared to some other sparkling wines. However, you may still notice notes like citrus, stone fruit and quince. 

    Some bottles also exhibit a lightly savory note. 

    Brut champagne is a popular choice for toasts and celebratory occasions because it tends to be rather well-balanced and silky. 

    To understand the taste of sweetness, you can refer to the following:

    • Brut Nature (also called Brut Naturelle/non dosage: Bone dry as no sugar is added
    • Extra Brut: Very dry
    • Brut: Very dry to fairly dry. This is the most common style of champagne
    • Extra dry: Dry to medium dry (or medium sweet)
    • Dry: Medium dry. It’s right in the middle of the scale
    • Demi Sec: Pretty sweet!
    • Doux: Sweet tooths will love it. It is dessert level sweet

    Follow the above guide for sweetness in your champagne and we doubt you will go wrong.  

    Brut Champagne vs. Extra Dry Champagne

    As you may have already figured out, champagne is made in a full spectrum of styles. From bone dry (brut naturelle) to extra dry to doux, there is such a large variety! 

    Brut means “dry, raw, unrefined” in French and it only refers to champagne bottles that has less than 12 grams per liter. 

    What is Brut Champagne? The 7 Levels of Brut dryness of the champagne
    Photo by Fotograf Jylland from Pexels

    This will result in the taste of champagne not particularly sweet, or in other words – dry. 

    However, extra dry champagne is usually sweeter than brut. Sugar levels usually fall between 12 to 20 grams of sugar per liter. 

    We understand the terms can be rather confusing so read on for more tips to buying before making a purchase!

    Buying tips for brut champagne

    Wine shops, liquor stores and certain restaurants usually carry brut champagne. To ensure that you are buying the right products, look for the words “brut” and “champagne” on the label of the bottles. Keep in mind sparkling wine can come from many parts of the world but only champagne is made in France. 

    The quality of brut tends to be high as rules and regulations for this type of champagne is quite stringent. Therefore the price tends to be higher. 

    If you cannot afford brut champagne, you may also try buying dry cava instead. Cava is a type of sparkling wine made in Spain. You can also try dry prosecco. Another option to replace brut would be American sparkling wine from Northern California. 

    If all else fails, go for the iconic brands such as Dom Perignon or Cristal for high quality brut champagne. You can also try Moet & Chandon or Krug. They are known for their long history of producing high quality brut champagne. 

    How are brut wines and champagnes made?

    Before corking the bottle, there is a champagne making process called “liqueur d’expedition”. This is where champagne producers add a small amount of sugar. 

    What is Brut Champagne? The 7 Levels of Brut brut wine
    Photo by Дарья Шелкович from Pexels

    As sparkling wine, without the sugar, tastes very sour since it is very acidic, adding the different amounts of sugar is what reduces the acidity and the sour tastes. Of course, as time passed, champagne producers found that different people have different preferences when it comes to sweetness, do not be surprised if you find a large range of brut in champagnes. 

    Think of adding sugar to the bottle as the same as adding sugar to coffee. Some people like to add sugar and some people prefer it black. It is the same with champagne!

    How to serve brut?

    Like all the types of champagnes, there are certain steps to take in order for you to best enjoy brut. Brut tastes best when it is nice and cold! 

    To get full enjoyment from your bottle of brut, leave your bottle of champagne in the fridge for at least three hours. You can also pop it into an ice bucket that is filled with ice and water. 

    In order to keep it nice and cold, pour your bubbly into champagne flutes. Champagne flutes are shaped in a way whereby the long stems of the flutes prevent the drink from being warmed by your hands. Hold the stems! 

    If you are drinking straight from a bottle, it is best to keep the bottle on ice in between sips from it. You do not want lukewarm bubbly. 

    Food pairings with brut

    There are plenty of food types to complement the dryness of your sparkling wine. 

    As it has slight hints of sweetness, brut champagne pairs beautifully with cheese and fatty meats. This is because it helps to balance salty meals with the touch of acidity. Seafood dishes also go well with brut. 

    Brut champagne will usually go well with fried food such as fried potatoes, ham and swiss quiche as well as oysters and smoked salmon. You can also pair it with cheese! 

    Brut is also commonly used in champagne cocktails. Other ingredients will add to the sweetness, which will play against the dryness of brut very nicely on your palate. 

    Brut Champagne and Headaches – Why? 

    Brut champagne actually has a reputation for causing headaches. However, there are several reasons for the said headache that are actually the main cause. Don’t blame it on brut just yet. 

    A few reasons for the headache after drinking brut may be:

    1. You need to drink more water

    Although you do not feel thirsty, that may not be so. Drink a glass of water with each glass of sparkling wine as a general rule. 

    Because of the bubbles and carbonation, the body tricks you into forgetting that you are thirsty. Drink up (but also drink water)!

    1. You are drinking a lot of brut! 

    You can easily consume a whole bottle of champagne. Usually champagne is drunk at a happy, fast pace during celebrations so you may be unaware of how fast you are drinking the sparkling wine. 

    Compared to a glass of red wine which is usually slowly enjoyed, be a bit more wary about how fast you are swallowing the brut. Slow down a little and enjoy the taste of bubbly too. 

    1. You drink later at night 

    Champagne usually goes along with late night parties and entertainment. Clubbing, welcoming the New Year and celebrations late into the night are where champagne is usually drunk. 

    This may also be a cause of that headache due to the lack of sleep and it is better not to blame it on the brut! 

    Conclusion

    Brut is an ideal sparkling wine to drink if you really enjoy sharp sensations on your palate with a hint of sweetness. Remember that brut means “dry” and is not a type of grape or wine. Serve your brut cold and pair it with salty meals for the best enjoyment! Although you may be partying hard, it may be because of other factors that you have a headache and not because of the brut. So drink safely, whilst enjoying the bubbly sliding down your throat!  

  • The 3 Main Champagne Grapes That Reign Supreme

    When it comes to champagne, it is safe to say that people generally know that it is made out of grapes. However, do you know that not all grapes are qualified to be processed into champagne? They can be made into sparkling wine but not champagne grapes as only specific grapes can turn into champagne.

    Also, just to be clear, there are two types of champagne grapes. The term “champagne grapes” can mean the type of grapes used to make champagne and it is also a super-sweet and extra small table grape meant for eating. In this article, we are talking about the grapes that turn into champagne after fermentation. 

    Types of champagne grapes

    There are three main types of grape varieties. They are called the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. Sound familiar? That is because it accounts for 99.7 percent of the champagne grapes. There are, of course, less popular ones that can be found to make champagne such as the Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne and petit Meslier varieties but these are not as popular and are few. 

    Each of these grapes add a certain quality to the champagne. Depending on the soil and climate, different grapes will thrive better. 

    Besides the three main types of grapes, the minor grape varieties cannot be replanted and are of little consequence. 

    The reason why most champagnes are blends of pinot noir, chardonnay and meunier is because each grape has different strengths to contribute to the final champagne blend.

    Let’s take a look at our three main varieties of grapes in more detail.

    1. Pinot Noir 

    This is the most widespread grape variety when it comes to champagne. About 38% of all grapes grown in Champagne vineyards, a northeastern region in France are from the pinot noir variety. 

    The 3 Main Champagne Grapes That Reign Supreme grapes for champagne
    Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

    Location wise, it dominates in the regions of Reims Mountain, the Aube and the Côte des Bar.

    Pinot Noir adds to the champagne body, structure and a complex flavour to it. This is a red grape. 

    Types of champagne that are made from a 100% pinot noir grapes are Blanc de noirs. 

    To taste champagne made from pinot noir, you can try the ColletEspritCoutur, although it has a blend of pinot noir and our next grape, chardonnay! 

    Some random facts about this variety of grapes are that it is highest in sugar among the three varieties and have the thickest skins! 

    2. Chardonnay

    Chardonnay covers roughly 30% of the Champagne wine region. It is usually harvested from the Côte des blancs

    The 3 Main Champagne Grapes That Reign Supreme Chardonnay
    Photo by Manuel Venturini on Unsplash

    Chardonnay adds to the champagne a certain freshness, elegance and finesse and is known for its floral aroma. It is considered a white grape. 

    For champagne that will be kept a long time, chardonnay is the best champagne grape to use. Often, due to chardonnay adding the delicate finish to a champagne, it is used in the most prestigious of champagnes. 

    Many champagne producers love to blend the Blanc de blancs champagne which is made from chardonnay grapes. 

    One popular champagne made entirely from chardonnay grapes is the Suenen Blanc De Blanc.

    3. Meunier

    The remaining percentage of grapes in the Champagne wine region is made out of meunier grapes. 

    To grow, meunier grapes tend to bud later in the spring. This means that it stands the cold slightly better and can grow in areas where pinot noir and chardonnay cannot. Areas such as the Marne River Valley is where this grape can grow where the other two cannot.   

    The 3 Main Champagne Grapes That Reign Supreme meunier grapes
    Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

    However, one disadvantage of meunier grapes is that it tends to age more quickly after going through the manufacturing process. 

    This is a red variety and is related to pinot noir. Some call it a cousin of pinot noir. 

    Many producers think that this variety is not as fine as the other two which means meunier is not often used in the more prestigious champagnes. However, it is widely used in non-vintage blends where it is valuable to soften or round out other wines. 

    Meunier grapes add fruitiness and floral aromas to the champagne. 

    What grapes are not allowed in champagne?

    Legally, only the grapes that are grown and produced in the Champagne region of France can be called champagne. 

    The Romans were actually the first to plant vineyards in this area of northeastern France.

    Although sparkling wines are just as delicious as champagne, if the grapes are not from Champagne, they technically cannot be called champagne. 

    The 3 Main Champagne Grapes That Reign Supreme champagne 1
    Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

    How are the grapes harvested?

    Every harvest of grapes is different. The dependency on the weather, soil and simply luck, plays a big part in the quality of grapes harvested. 

    These grapes that will eventually be used to make champagne, differ in terms of grape ripeness, potential alcohol level and acidity. Therefore, picking the right moment to harvest grapes is essential to get great champagne!

    The process of harvesting grapes goes like this:-

    1. Ripening observation

    Twice a week as the grapes start to change colour and ripen, samples are taken from the different plots throughout the Champagne area. 

    These samples are then checked for different things such as the rate of colour change, weight, estimated sugar level and acidity content. The grapes are also checked for grey rot. 

    The data is then conveyed to the Comité Champagne and all the relevant technical officers. This allows them to attend a pre-harvest meeting with a clear idea of when picking and harvesting should start.

    1. Grape pulp extraction 

    Champagne is produced from the grape berry pulp. This pulp contains organoleptic compounds and elements required for the bubbles effect and this pulp alone can deliver the desired clear and pale juice.

    Three quarters of all champagne are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is to avoid colouring or staining the musts when pressing the black grapes. 

    Therefore, harvesters have to manually pick and select whole, undamaged clusters of grapes. These grapes must remain that way up till the pressing. 

    1. Harvesting by hand

    In order to ensure that the grapes remain whole and undamaged, manually picking grapes is a must. 

    Pickers usually work really hard for three-weeks. After that, the grapes will be past their best and the grapes will reach their peak of ripeness at the same time. 

    Harvesting by hand involves many people and employees such as pickers, porters, loaders, drivers, forklift operators and press operators. 

    These are the basic necessities before sending off the grapes to be turned into our favourite exclusive sparkling wine. 

    How is champagne made?

    There are a few steps when it comes to making champagne. Of course, the champagne grapes are involved and can only be picked from the Champagne region of France. 

    Step 1: Selecting the cuveé 

    The cuveé is the base wine for making champagne. It can also be from the variety of grapes as stated above. 

    Step 2: Assemblage. 

    This is the French art of blending white wines to create the base for champagne. To get really good champagne, this step is crucial.

    Step 3: Tirage (second fermentation)

    Sugar, yeast and other yeast nutrients are added. The whole concoction is called a tirage. 

    This is stored in a thick glass bottle and sealed then placed in a cool cellar of 55 to 60°F. The tirage is allowed to slowly ferment.

    Step 4: Aging

    Yeast cells will die as the fermentation proceeds. Once all fermentation process is complete, the champagne will still continue to age in the cool cellar for several more years. 

    During this period of time, also called aging, the yeast cells will split open and spill into the solution. This is why champagne has yeasty flavours in it.

    Step 5: Riddling

    The dead yeast cells are removed after the aging process is completed. This process is known as riddling or in France as “Le Remuage”. 

    To go through this process, the bottle of champagne is placed upside down in a holder at a degree of 75 degrees. 

    Everyday, the bottle is turned one eighth of a turn while it is kept upside down. This will force the dead yeast cells to the neck of the bottle where it can be removed. 

    Step 6: Disgorging

    The bottle of champagne is kept upside down and the next is frozen in an ice-salt bath. 

    When the bottle cap is removed, pressure in the bottle from carbon dioxide gas forces the plug of frozen wine (containing dead yeast cells) out of the bottle. 

    What is left behind is clear champagne.

    Step 7: Adding the dosage

    Any extra ingredients such as white wine, brandy or sugar is added to the bottle to adjust the sweetness level of the champagne.

    Step 8: Corking

    The bottle of champagne is corked to secure the high internal pressure of carbon dioxide and is ready to be served!

    Conclusion

    Making champagne is a very complicated process. That is probably why it costs more than your usual sparkling wine. From the selection of grapes to the picking and harvesting and the process of actually making the champagne, it involves many people and several steps. Appreciate the champagne you drink as many hands were used in order to bring the bottle to you!

  • What is Champagne? All you need to know about Champagne

    what is champagne?
    Photo by Jaeyoon Jeong on Unsplash

    Champagne is actually sparkling wine that comes from a place called Champagne in France. If it is bubbly from another region or country, it is not called champagne anymore. It is called sparkling wine. 

    Champagne is generally used as a generic term for any sparkling wine. However, the French have maintained their right to call wines produced in the northeastern region of France as champagne. In fact, there was a treaty signed to protect this right! The Treaty of Madrid, which was signed in 1891, established this law and the Treaty of Versailles reaffirmed this. 

    Today, we’ll discuss all you need to know about champagne! Read on to start your journey to becoming a champagne expert!

    What is Champagne? All you need to know about Champagne champagne
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    Is sparkling wine the same as champagne?

    To put it simply, all champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne! 

    There are several types of sparkling wine of which, champagne is the most common. Other types of sparkling wine include prosecco, cava, sekt and American sparkling wine. 

    Prosecco is from Italy and made from the glera grape. Cava on the other hand, is Spanish sparkling wine made from a mix of macabeu, parellada and xarello grapes. Sekt is the German version of sparkling wine and as the name American sparkling wine already states, is from America.

    However, champagne is only called champagne if and when the bottle comes from the Champagne region in northeastern France. 

    To identity and tell the difference between sparkling wine and champagne, all you need to know is the region it is produced. 

    Only certain grapes that are planted in France, can be used to make champagne. Sparkling wines are not held to the same restrictions as champagne. 

    Pricing of champagne and sparkling wine 

    Why is champagne so expensive? Sparkling wines are often more affordable than champagne. Champagne can cost thousands of dollars! 

    It all depends on the quality of the grapes used to produce these drinks. 

    To choose the best bubbles for your party, it is best to take note of what you would like to get out of it instead. If you prefer higher quality sparkling wine, it is best to go with champagne. However, if you need to take into consideration a budget, sparkling wine is less expensive but of lower quality.

    What is champagne made of?

    Champagne is made out of three predominant grape varieties which are:

    1. Pinot Noir
    2. Meunier
    3. Chardonnay

    These three champagne grapes make up 99.7 percent of the wine region’s grapes. The other grapes that make up the 0.3% consists of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne and Petit Meslier grape varieties. 

    Among the three most popular grape varieties, the Pinot Noir is the most popular, covering 38% of the wine-region. 

    What is Champagne? All you need to know about Champagne filling up champagne
    Photo by Tristan Gassert on Unsplash

     What is the flavour of champagne?

    Champagne cannot be described as a taste. It is an experience for all our senses. The colour, aroma, texture, flavour and even sound is important to best experience champagne. 

    To analyze the five senses when it comes to champagne, it involves:

    1. Hearing

    The sound made by champagne is the first clue to the bottle’s identity. When the cork is released, a gentle hiss usually follows. 

    You can even judge the quality of the bottle from the sound it makes once it is poured.

    2. Smell

    Champagne is aromatic in a subtle manner. Every bottle has a distinct smell of fruity, floral, wooded or spicy notes. 

    To fully appreciate the aroma of the champagne, you must allow time for it to open and release its first impression. Some time later, a deeper and more complex aroma will appear.

    These aromas also indicate the type of grapes used. 

    3. Sight

    For most people, sight is the first sense. Judge the lightness, colour and fluidity of the champagne in your glass. The density of liquid in terms of radiance and clarity is what you are looking out for. 

    Bubble equals champagne and the fascinating bubbles rising to the surface is an indication of the bottle’s age and personality.

    4. Taste

    On your palate, the champagne should be able to taste an underlying fruitiness with a lingering fragrance. 

    The moment the liquid enters your mouth is the best point of tasting. Look for the intensity, sharpness and richness of the champagne. As time passes, you will be able to better distinguish between the flavours.

    5. Touch

    The temperature of the champagne is important to whether you get a good experience with champagne or not. The glass should be cool to the touch. 

    Champagne is best when you have left the bottle in an ice bucket for 30 minutes and is served at a temperature of 46.4 to 50°F.

    Is champagne wine?

    As mentioned above, “all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne”. This is actually a fairly common saying. 

    Remember that we mentioned that it is only called champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne in France. 

    There are several sparkling wines that are produced throughout the world. The only difference is the taste of each bottle has a variety of fruitiness, bubble size and production methods.

    The different countries, of course, produce different versions of their own bubbles but each of it has a distinct taste. 

    For example, American sparkling wine uses a few traditional Champagne grapes with a completely different recipe in order to produce its own distinctive flavour. 

    Sparkling wine can also come from France, as long as it is outside of the Champagne region. They are made into a large variety of different bubbles. 

    Styles Of Champagne

    There are a few different styles of champagne, as we will explain below:-

    1. Vintage champagne

    Vintage champagne simply means that it is totally made from the year indicated on the label below. A 100%. 

    This style of champagne represents less than 5% of all champagnes. It can only be produced when the weather has been kind as the pick of grapes plays an important role in it. 

    2. Blanc de Blancs

    A Blanc de Blancs champagne is made from white grapes. Most of it will be known as Chardonnay although there are other varieties included. 

    Such varieties of this style of champagne are Pinot Blanc, Arbane or Petit Meslier. 

    3. Blanc de Noirs

    Blanc de Noirs are white wine made from black grapes. The taste tends to be richer and fuller and varieties tend to be either a Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. 

    Not many producers produce this style of champagne.

    4. Rosé

    The majority of pink champagne is made via the blending of 5 to 20 percent of red wine with white champagne. The more red wine you use, the darker the colour of your rosé. 

    Some producers also produce this pink champagne through the saignée method whereby in order to make the drink pink, the pigment is bled from the skins of grapes.

    5. Prestige Cuvée

    This style of champagne is usually made from the best grapes and are the best ranges of champagne available. It is the most prestigious, like the name suggests, and therefore most expensive and impressive. 

    Some iconic brands under the Prestige Cuvée style include the Dom Pérignon, Cristal and Krug. 

    Sweetness Levels In Champagne

    The sweetness level in champagne is called “brut”. There are a few differences, from dry to brut in terms of sweetness as not everyone has the same palate. 

    Think of it like you are adding a bit of sugar to your coffee. Some people prefer their drinks extra sweet and some like their coffee bitter. 

    The same analogy applies to champagne. It totally depends on the individual – some like it sweet and some like it dry. 

    Champagne Alcohol Content

    After the first round of fermentation, the alcohol percentage is only at about nine percent. However, once the bottle of champagne is ready, after full fermentation and corking, the bottle of champagne is usually closer to 12% alcohol content. 

    Doctors recommend 1 glass a day for women and 2 glasses a day for men. 

    However, because of the bubbles, the alcohol impact is actually worse. Though studies have not proven why it is that way, bubbles, for whatever reason, creates a powerful brain-affecting impact. It somehow causes the alcohol to get into your bloodstream more quickly than other types of alcohol. 

    Despite their appearances of being light and airy, be wary of over-consuming champagne. Take your time! 

    How to open champagne

    First of all, make sure the bottle you are about to open is chilled to the right temperature of about 46.4 to 50°F. If it is not cold enough, pressure inside the bottle may cause the cork to be released very quickly. 

    Use a wine key to cut off the foil below the large lip of the bottle. Then, place a napkin over the cork. This is to prevent the cork from flying around the room like a bullet. 

    Untwist the cage counterclockwise. Make sure to continue putting pressure on the cork so that it does not pop out. 

    Then, twist the bottle. While you continue to keep the pressure on the cork, twist the bottle. Only start to pull the cork away from the bottle slowly once the champagne bottle is loosen from the cork.

    A more gentle hiss will occur when the cork is separated from the bottle. 

    Once the cork is removed, quickly wipe the lip of the bottle and serve!

    Conclusion

    There is a whole range of experiences, types and different facts that cover champagne. In fact, we have only just touched the tip of all the wealth of information. To become a better champagne consumer, learn more about what champagne is and all that it entails by reading and tasting different types of bubbles. Enjoy the process while you’re at it!

  • Review #6 | Champagne Boizel, Brut, Réserve, NV, Èpernay, Champagne, France

    Review #6 | Champagne Boizel, Brut, Réserve, NV, Èpernay, Champagne, France IMG 0715 2

    “A Family.  A House.  A Tradition”

    The Boizel Family has been producing champagne since 1834 and is now in its 5th generation. The house has survived two World Wars, Phylloxera, a global pandemic (Spanish flu) and a global market crash.  History of grape growing and wine production dates back to the 16th century for the matriarch of this house, Julie Martin. What is incredible and something rarely done in the 1800’s was that both of their last names were incorporated into the label to show a true partnership, “Boizel-Martin.” 

    The Brut Reserve is a gorgeous expression of the house, only 1st press juice (the cuvee) is used, never secondary pressings, and provides a powerful champagne from the large amount of Pinot Noir used (55%) with 30% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. Their champagnes are always more than double the mandatory aging; in this case, the Reserve is aged between 3-4 years in their cellars and 30% reserve wine added for richness and complexity.  There is a lot of honey crisp apple and toasted bread qualities along with ripe apricot, apple compote, and toasted almonds. I love this champagne by itself, with a lighter meal, or honestly, even a cigar.

  • Review #5 | Champagne Tribaut, 2009, L’authentique, Romery, France

    Review #5 | Champagne Tribaut, 2009, L’authentique, Romery, France Tribaut

    We love bringing in different styles and types of champagne from small producers that you’ve never heard of.  You CANNOT get any more quality for value than this incredible champagne from Tribaut-Schloesser.

    The Tribaut style is ripe and juicy. This sunny vintage champagne was all aged in large oak casks (foudres). Grapes come from both the Marne Valley (including Ay) and from the Montagne de Reims. You will notice beautiful notes of pear and plum, along with vanilla and caramel.  Only 2493 bottles were made!

    A champagne to impress everyone from your neighbor to the Queen.  You choose who you want to Fizz with!