Thursday, 7 January 2010

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).


About the Author:

For buyers guides, tips, help and advice about buying
champagne in the UK, please visit...
http://www.winebuyersuk.com/category/champagne/