- Food and Cooking»
Champagne: A Guide for Beginners
The Quick Champagne Guide
Are you wondering why vintage Champagnes are so expensive? Or what demi-sec means? Champagne is a sparkling wine produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, thus the name. The beverage is created by inducing an in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine in order to produce carbonation - the bubbles.
Most of the grapes used to make Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot noir. Champagne should not be confused with the many sparkling wines on the market. (For definitions about sparkling wines, see the link below)
If you are planning to celebrate, knowing what you are buying or drinking is listed on the label. Below are 7 Champagne descriptions to get you started:
1 - Non Vintage (NV) - a signature Champagne for a producer made from a blend of wines from different harvests (vintages). This is a method that provides a consistency in the Champagne and helps to define a 'house style.'
2 - Vintage - a Champagne made from a harvest in the year that is printed on the label. The wine is made only during weather conditions that can guarantee the right results. This is why vintage Champagnes can be very expensive. Vintage Champagnes usually mature very well over many years.
3 - Prestige Cuvee - is made from specially selected fruit usually from a single vineyard. Prestige Cuvee is only made when the weather conditions are kind and is usually a vintage wine as well.
4 - Blanc de Blancs - this Champagne is made only from Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the white grape in Champagne.
5 - Blanc de Noirs - this Champagne is made from one or both of two red grape varieties - Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The grapes are picked and immediately pressed. This way the juice does not get colored by the dark grape skins.
6 - Demi-Sec - a sweeter type of Champagne made with more sugar. This Champagne is often used as a desert wine and may be served with cakes.
7 - Brut Zero/Ultra Brut - this is the bone dry style of Champagne and makes a good aperitif. Often used and enjoyed before a big feast.
For more information about selecting a variety of beverages, see links below:
- Whiskey: The American Guide
Planning to socialize or entertain but not sure of your bourbon or rye? Should you have it with a splash of water or on the rocks? What is a whiskey sour? (see photo). And if you are wondering just how much...
- The New Beer - Made With Tea
It had to happen of course. Beer has nutritional value and so does tea. We've long had beer brewed with coffee, so why not with tea. There are several such beers with tea on the market now (see list below). ...
- Sparkling Wine: How Sweet or Dry is Your Favorite?
Time to celebrate and break out the bubbly? But wait! You don't know your brut from your demi-sec? You're just planning to drink as much as possible? The labels on a bottle of sparkling wine will let you...
- American-Made Artisanal Liquor: 6 to Try
States are relaxing their liquor-making laws and as a result, more small-batch distilleries are entering the market. Artisans are perfecting the craft and are now competing with the larger distilleries. (See...
- Boxed Wines: 7 to Try
Thinking about trying boxed wine? The choices are vast from white - Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling, to red - Cabernet Sauvignon, Concord and Merlot. Labels are from many known wine producing countries...