Champagne is a French drink with a Denomination of Origin.
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There is a distinction between sparkling wine and Champagne or champagne. Many people call any bubbly wine “champagne”. He Champagne is sparkling wine too, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne.
Sparkling wine is carbonated wine, wine with bubbles. Food & Wine explains that sparkling wines (as opposed to still wines) are saturated with carbon dioxide gas molecules, making them bubbly.
In its simplest form, sparkling wine is wine with CO2 bubbles suspended in it. Champagne, Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain and Sekt are also sparkling wines.
The difference is in how the bubbles got into the wine. Effervescence is the hallmark of Champagne wines.
What makes Champagne different?
Champagne is a designation of origin that exclusively designates a sparkling wine made in France, in the delimited area of Champagne and specific rules must be followed.
The United States appears on the Champagne Committee as one of the countries that do not protect the designation of origin of Champagne.
Food and Wine notes that many domestic sparkling wine producers advertised the term “champagne” or “American champagne.” Most have already stopped. But some, like Korbel in Sonoma County, still market their wines as “California Champagne.”
The true Champagne has unique characteristics in the world originating from a specific geographical situation, soil and climate. The wines are made by natural fermentation in the bottle. Between the main rules indicated by the Champagne Committee are:
- Exclusive use of the following strains: Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Meunier
- Short pruning (Royat, Chablis, Guyot system)
- Maximum yield in grapes per hectare
- Maximum performance in the pressing of 102 liters per 160 kilos of grapes
- Minimum grade set each year
- Preparation of the wines in premises separate from all others and where only Champagne wines can be stored
- Use of natural procedures known under the name of the champenoise method
- Preservation in bottle for at least fifteen months before dispatch.
How to recognize a real Champagne?
In addition to saying Champagne, the label must include precise indications about the origin of wine and its production, including:
- The name or company name of the manufacturer, the name of the municipality of its registered office and the name France ”(also the name of the municipality where the wine is made if different from the registered office).
- A professional registration number delivered by the Champagne Committee preceded by the initials that inform about the professional category of the producer.
- Lot identification, on the label or directly on the bottle
- The mention of allergens (for example, sulfur dioxide, sulfites or sulfur dioxide, etc.),
- Strain information, the date of disgorgement, the sensory characteristics, the dishes and wine associations, etc.
- The mention “Product of France”.
If a sparkling wine is Champagne, it presupposes a certain labor-intensive process to produce it, it also increases the cost.
“If you like champagne but want something comparable for less money, you can look for sparkling wines made using the traditional method,” says sommelier Madeline Triffon. This method involves two separate fermentation rounds: one in a tank or keg and a second in the bottle. The fermentation in the bottle is the cause of the fine and persistent bubbles.
“Crémant de Bourgogne is a no-brainer, as is Cava,” though they may not have the creaminess or depth of champagne or its famous little lingering bubbles. But many are excellent, says Triffon.
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