Why Is Champagne The Best Wine You Can Buy?
Most people who enjoy a tipple know that they'll get a superior glass of wine if they buy a bottle of champagne, but why is that? What is it about champagne that makes it special?
Champagne is a sparkling wine which is only produced in the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name. Within the European Union, the name champagne is recognised as being a product with "Protected Designation of Origin" and no other product in the EU can be called champagne. Of course, international agreements such as the Treaties of Madrid and Versailles notwithstanding, this EU protection does not bind any non-EU winemakers from using the champagne name. However, most countries respect the champagne designation as meaning a wine from the champagne region of France.
The documentation of the addition of sugar to a finished wine to generate a second fermentation was presented to the Royal Society of London by the English scientist Christopher Merret in 1662, a method which is now known as methode champenoise. The secondary fermentation within the bottle results in the fizzy, sparkling nature of the wine, although for a long time the same result was accomplished by simply corking the bottle before the primary fermentation had finished.
At the time the sugar is added to the bottle to generate the second fermentation, yeast is added too. When the second fermentation is finished, which is a minimum of 18 months to generate the fullest flavour, the bottle is moved to make the fermentation by-products settle in the neck of the bottle. The by-products, known as lees, are then frozen in the neck of the bottle, the cap is removed and the pressure inside the bottle forces out the ice-trapped lees, after which the bottle is re-capped.
Champagne can be produced from three different grapes, either individually or as a blend. The three grape varieties are the white grape, chardonnay and the two red grapes, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Despite the latter two being red grapes, they can produce a white champagne due to the gentle pressing of the grapes and the lack of skin contact during the fermentation process. The most common champagnes use a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir. Champagne made using only pinot noir, pinot meunier or a blend of the two is called Blanc de noir (white from black). On the other hand, champagne made only from chardonnay is called Blanc de blanc (white from white).
For buyers guides, tips, help and advice about buying champagne in the UK, please visit... http://www.winebuyersuk.com/category/champagne/