En­joy­ing your bub­bly

Rules For The Modern Man - - Rules For The Modern Man -

Some of the best things in life have come from pure ac­ci­dents. Cham­pagne, the king of wines, was an in­ci­dent of en­vi­ron­ments that has rev­o­lu­tionised how we celebrate.

Sparkling wine was the re­sult of an at­tempt to pro­duce wines that could com­pete with the Bur­gundy re­gion. As winter turned to spring, the wines stored in cel­lars be­gan to fer­ment, re­sult­ing in a fizzy wine that hor­ri­fied the French, but in­ter­ested the Bri­tish.

The qual­ity of Cham­pagne’s wine was en­hanced by Dom Pierre Pérignon, who de­vel­oped the abbey’s pro­duc­tion and re­fined how pinot noirs were made into white wine, in the process chang­ing how cham­pagnes are made.


While wines are usu­ally clearly de­fined, cham­pagne is usu­ally a blend of dif­fer­ent grapes and the re­gions it comes from has an im­pact on its style. That’s in ad­di­tion to the other va­ri­eties of bub­bly, such as prosecco.

VIN­TAGE Most sparkling wines are also non-vin­tage as they are a blend of vin­tages. Cham­pagne bottles bear­ing a vin­tage year have at least 85 per cent from the said year. The more renowned pres­tige cu­veés are blends that are as­so­ci­ated with ex­cel­lent wine pro­duc­tion years, such as G.H. Mumm’s René Lalou, Per­rier-jouët’s Belle Epoque or Dom Pérignon, named for the monk.

VA­RI­ETIES Sparkling wines don’t fol­low the same rules of pro­duc­tion as cham­pagne, and come in var­i­ous grape va­ri­eties. Cham­pagne is made from seven spe­cific va­ri­eties: chardon­nay, pinot noir, pinot me­u­nier, pinot gris, pinot blanc, ar­bane and petit mes­lier. Rosés are a blend of the first three, while blanc de blancs are 100 per cent chardon­nay and blanc de noirs are made from pinot noir, pinot me­u­nier or a blend of both.

STYLE Sweet­ness is the com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor. The sugar dosage de­ter­mines if the cham­pagne is clas­si­fied as brut zero, ex­tra brut, brut, ex­tra dry, sec, demi-sec and doux. The first be­ing the least sweet.

IT’S A WINE Donʼt go toss­ing back a glass of cham­pagne. It is a wine by na­ture, which has un­der­gone a sec­ond round of fer­men­ta­tion. The ter­roir and style of the mai­son are ev­i­dent in cham­pagne, so the right thing to do is pour­ing it into a wine­glass and ap­pre­ci­at­ing it ac­cord­ingly.

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