Champagne is sparkling wine which is produced from grapes grown in Champagne region of France. Primary types of grapes which are used for producing Champagne are Pinot Meunier, black Pinot noir & white Chardonnay. Secondary fermentation of Champagne happens within the bottle so as to create carbonation of wine. Sparkling wine in fact was originally accidentally created when due to pressure the bottle exploded or corks popped out. Champagne sales now have hit an all-time high with 338.7 million bottles sold in 2007.
Right to be Called Champagne
There are a comprehensive set of rules & regulations for wine produced within this region of France to be called Champagne. Some of these include codification of suitable places to grow these types of grapes and a lengthy set of requirements which specify aspects of viticulture, including pruning, vineyard yield, degree of pressing and the time wine must remain on lees prior to bottling. Limiting release of the finished product to market is also taken into account in order to maintain prices. Only when wine grown in this region adheres to these specifications has the right to be called Champagne.
Other Sparkling Wines Produced Worldwide
Although sparkling wines are produced worldwide, they cannot be termed Champagne unless it is produced in this specific region of France. The term Champagne is legally protected by Madrid system under a treaty. Majority of sparkling wines produced globally do not use Champagne as labels. Several producers of sparkling wine use other terms to define their product like Cava in Spain, Spumante in Italy and Cap Classique in South Africa. Sekt is a common type of sparkling wine in Germany. Even other regions of France manufacturing wine cannot use the term Champagne and use terms like Cremant. However, regardless of origin or legal requirements for labeling, Champagne is a generic term which is used for sparkling wines. Nevertheless, all sparkling wines produced in Soviet Union are still known as ‘Shampanskoe’ which in Russian is termed for Champagne.
Usually served in a Champagne flute featuring a long stem with a tall & narrow bowl alongside thin sides and an etched bottom which tends to disperse nose and over-oxygenate wine, Champagne is always served cold at 7 to 9 degrees centigrade. Champagne is often chilled for 30 minutes in a bucket of ice and water before being served. Usually, this is to make Champagne less gassy and can also be opened without any spillage. Other attributes to Champagne etiquette include opening bottles, pouring the wine and spraying Champagne. While pouring Champagne involves avoiding bubble formation, spraying Champagne is an integral parts of sports celebration at Formula 1 grand Prix events. Another practice which is known as ‘Shoey’ involving drinking Champagne from shoe was initiated by Australian sports competitors in the year 2015.
More on Champagne
Over one hundred Champagne houses and 19,000 vine-growing producers in Champagne region of France manage about 32,000 hectares of vineyards. Moreover, the type of producer manufacturing Champagne can be identified by abbreviations on official number of the bottle. However, most Champagne sold nowadays is non-vintage; meaning that it is a blended product of grapes taken from multiple vintages.