All champagne is sparkling wine but not all sparkling wine is champagne, so to demystify the bubbles, it is all about region.
The proud traditions of France around wine production are very similar to those of cheese production and focus on the rules that make them unique.
Champagne undergoes a second fermentation process once in the bottle, which creates the lovely carbonation that makes it so special. But along with that comes earlier practices that may be specific to vineyard, the actual sourcing of grapes that can only be from the appellation area in Champagne itself, located in the north-west of France, and specific ways that they may press the grapes they use.
To bear the name of Champagne it needs to come from the region itself and follow the strict guidelines. If not, it is given another name altogether: ‘Mousseux’ or ‘Crémant’ in France.
Champagne is made from white chardonnay or the dark-skinned ‘red wine grapes’, Pinot noir and/or Pinot Meunier, which, due to the gentle pressing of the grapes and absence of skin contact during fermentation, usually also yield a white base wine. Most Champagnes, including Rosé wines, are made from a blend of all three grapes, although Blanc de blanc (white from white) Champagnes are made from 100 percent Chardonnay and Blanc de noir (white from black) Champagnes are made solely from Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier or a mix of the two.
OUR CHAMPAGNE PICKS:
Maison Billecart- Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne - A special method of vinification gives this cuvée a light elegant flavour followed by a fresh finish with a taste of raspberry. $139.99/bottle
Maison Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve Champagne - Balance and harmony combine in this light and subtle champagne. Ideal as an aperitif or to drink throughout the meal. $79.99/bottle
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne - Elegant, extraordinary freshness, supple and rounded wine, a sensation of plunging into a basket of fresh strawberries. $99.99/bottle
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne - Purity, freshness and elegance – essential characteristics expressed in this champagne. A perfect balance between freshness and delicacy with fruity flavours. $79.99/bottle
Charles de Cazanove - This highly lauded, family produced champagne is rich, opulent, full-bodied, dry and satisfying due to its high percentage of pinot noir. $42.99/bottle
Mansfield & Marsh Methode Traditionnelle - Deliciously refreshing, delicate sparkling wine with classic stone fruit flavours. A perfect match for Christmas toasts and great paired with seafood. $15.99/bottle
Around the world Sparkling wine comes with different names.
OUR PROSECCO PICKS:
Is made from Glera grapes in the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, from where the grape and wine originate. Strict regulation governs production and grape varieties that can be used. A main ingredient in the classic Bellini cocktail, this is also a perfect drink for Christmas day.
Sartori Brut Prosecco - Light, floral notes are the perfect way to kick off Christmas. Subtle nutty flavours with just enough round fruit ripeness to make this deliciously irresistible. $19.99/bottle
Prosecco Borgo San Leo: A beautiful floral bouquet of apple and wisteria leads to a well-balanced Prosecco with hints of delicate almond. $16.99/bottle
OUR CUVEE PICK:
Hãhã Brut Cuvée - A delicious blend of two classic champagne grapes – chardonnay and pinot noir. Perfect for every festive occasion, this bubbly has a lovely complexity and is delightfully drinkable. $17.99/bottle
What about Brut? Brut indicates the sweetness level of champagne and other types of sparkling wine.
• Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of residual sugar per litre)
• Brut (less than 12 grams) • Extra Dry (between 12 and 17 grams)
• Sec (between 17 and 32 grams) • Demi-sec (between 32 and 50 grams)
• Doux (50 grams)