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All About Champagne
History of Champagne:
In the world of sparkling wine, not all bubbles are created equal-- and when it comes to the cream of the crop, Champagne is as good as it gets. Produced via the méthode champenoise, alternatively known as the traditional method, this process, as well as the insanely harsh climate of the region, drives the sky-high prices that a bottle of these bubbles demands.
Contrary to the long-standing legend, Dom Pérignon didn't actually invent the process for making Champagne, though he did play a big role in bringing the method up north. The first record of sparkling wine production is credited to the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, located in the south of France. Story has it that Pérignon witnessed the method-- and was immediately transcended by the results; '"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" he exclaimed. The enlightened Pérignon trekked back to northern France, bringing the production style to the Champagne region, and well, the rest is pretty much history.
Where is it produced?
Champagne is produced in its namesake region, located in northern France-- and the local champenois people take this designation pretty seriously. For a bottle to be called Champagne, all fruit and vinification processes must come from and take place within the region.
How does it differ from Prosecco and Cava?
We'd never say no to a bottle of bubbles; however, Champagne just has that special something. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is produced from the Glera grape in northern Italy, produced via the Charmat method; basically, the grapes vinify in tank, getting their bubbly texture from trapped carbon dioxide within the vat. Although Champagne sparkles also stem from trapped CO2, the traditional process takes place in the bottle-- a much more costly, intricate form of vinification. Cava, Spain's sparkling claim to fame, also uses the same method as Champagne, though these wines are produced in the Penedes region of Catalonia, using different grape varieties.
What are the famous Champagne houses?
The champenois take their grape growing pretty seriously. The region boasts over 100 houses-- larger, commercial businesses comprised of multiple grape growers across various regions, that is-- as well as nearly 20,000 individual smaller growers, locally referred to as vignerons. And despite this insanely high number of growers, we still personally feel that there could never be a thing as too much Champagne!
Brut, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, Demi Sec:
We've already established that Champagne production is a complex beast in itself; however, when it comes to labeling, the wine inside the bottle becomes even more complicated to understand. Though fear not! Here's a quick cheat sheet to the sweetness scale for the sugar levels inside your bottle of bubbles:
So Brut is technically drier than… dry? Yep, we don't fully understand it either. But isn't that part of the beautiful mystery behind all that is Champagne?
So what are you waiting for? Buy champagne online through Drizly at a great price and have it delivered directly to your door. Cheers.