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Champagne

Tart and typically dry, this French sparkling wine has fresh citrus, stone, and orchard fruit, plus almond and brioche with a creamy texture.

The king of sparkling wines from the namesake region in the cool climate of northeastern France, Champagne is most often bone dry with fresh lemon, peach, toast, and almond bursting from a steady stream of bubbles with a creamy texture. This wine, made in what's called the ‘traditional method’, is perfect for celebrations and most famously served as an aperitif but it also pairs well with a wide range of food, especially salty and fried dishes. Champagne comes in a range of dry to sweet styles to suit all tastes and occasions.

Champagne is produced through a complex set of steps called the traditional method (Méthode Traditionnelle in French). This takes effort but it’s worth it and accounts for this sparkling wine’s high price tag. The winemaking process includes blending a select choice of base wines, two fermentations (the second of which adds the famous bubbles and leads to the creation of this wine’s brioche notes), and the addition of a drop of finished wine for subtle flavors and sweetness levels. In the middle of all of this, vintners have a nifty way of popping out the yeast after its done its bubble-making job. The esteemed traditional method gives winemakers bragging rights, so it’s mentioned (albeit in varying ways across different regions) on their sparkling wine labels. That said, you can’t call it Champagne unless it’s from Champagne! If Champagne comes from grapes harvested in one year, it’ll have the date on the bottle and will likely be more expensive than usual. Otherwise, it’s described as non-vintage (NV). 

Fun Fact: Both England and Limoux in the south of France have solid claims for being the world’s first official producers of sparkling wine, but so does Champagne and the crown has landed firmly on this region’s head! It’s here where this style has gone through the centuries of development that have made it the iconic bubbly it is today.

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