If it’s consumed in a coupe or flute, for a wedding, or at an informal drink-and-chat, whether in summer or winter, a glass of champagne is never wasted. “I only drink champagne on two occasions,” Coco Chanel said in a famous quote: “When I am in love and when I am not.”
Sparkling is among the most diverse wines available as its complexity goes much deeper than what a casual glance might think. Of course, there’s a big debate over the distinction between champagne and what’s just sparkling wine and what the real difference between them is, so we sought out an expert to address all our questions. Check out the following article for all you should learn about champagne and sparkling wine, as well as the best international and Australian varieties to taste.
How can you tell the distinction between sparkling and champagne wine?
If you’re unsure of the reason behind why certain champagne bottles are known as champagne and others as sparkling wines, the answer all comes down to the area where the wine was made having “strict labeling laws” defining the two.
“Firstly, champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are champagne, as sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it comes from the famous wine region of Champagne France,” Explains Dean O’Reilly, a champagne expert and Business Development Manager for Champagne in the case of Moet Hennessy Australia.
“What makes champagne production unique in the large landscape of other sparkling wines is a longer conversation, but three major factors are the incredible wine region with its white chalk soils and mix of grape varieties, the craftsmanship into blending the different production styles, and the ‘bottle fermentation method’ for producing the fizz with the long maceration/ageing time required for each bottle produced,” He continues.
What are the things to look for when purchasing a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne?
O’Reilly acknowledges that there are many things to consider. However, it is “always best to start with a purchase price in mind.” The second consideration O’Reilly believes is the reason for the purchase.
“Champagne is the universal language for celebration and is the perfect complement to share with our happiest moments — especially Magnums,” He says. “Champagne Rose is perfect with food pairing and can be the star in many dining environments, as can sparkling wines as they are typically more affordable and offer brilliant aperitif drinking.”
Tale of Light Trilogy Grand Vintage Collection 2015
In celebration of the luminescence, Moet & Chandon’s Cellar Master Benoit Gouez has unveiled three grand vintage champagnes in three distinct wines: Grant Vintage Collections 2015, 1999, 2006, and. The bottles are a reflection of particular maturation times but share an underlying theme of bright summers that shape their flavors. It is the wine of the year 2015 that is currently being sold and is the most recent in the entire collection. It is known as “Luminous Morning” for the sunlight that contributed to its soft, ripe, and sour profile as well as its quality. True connoisseurs are able to make an application to be the first to try the trio of champagnes and be first to be informed when the entire Trilogy will be available for purchase in a collectible wooden bottle, of course.
What are the various styles of champagne?
Under the champagne category, there are a variety of champagnes and labels you could see. For instance, you might see several champagne bottles labeled champagne brut.
” Brut is an expression on the label of champagne that declare the wine as dry to the taste. The word “extra brut” is a reference to “extra dry” opposed to sec or demi-sec which is sweet,” O’Reilly explains. “All the styles have a places, especially when they are paired with food. For instance extra brut champagne, Sydney oysters from the rock or a demi-sec champagne paired with baked pear mille feuille are all life-changing wine and food experiences.”
Where do the finest sparkling wines of Australia originate?
In the world of winemaking, terroir -the elements of the environment that determine the flavor of a wine is the most important factor. So, as per O’Reilly, there exist specific areas in Australia that are more conducive to the production of high-quality sparkling wines.
“High quality champagne and sparkling wines all have the one common thread, which is a high-quality grape resource,” He clarifies. “Champagne is a cool climate region for wine production, which is why they are the most desirable Australian regions. The main factor that contributes to cooler climate winemaking is prolonged, slow ripening of the grapes conditions that permit the fresh, zippy acid retention which gives sparkling wine its refreshing taste.”
“Cool climate Victoria, Tasmania and the Adelaide Hills are the perfect regions to explore.”
What is the best way to serve champagne, and how do you serve it?
Although it’s a bit of a controversial issue, with an array of possible answers, O’Reilly believes in a couple of fundamental tenets of enjoying champagne — that are related to the temperature, the glassware, and the food that they are used.
“Firstly, you must always drink champagne and sparkling wines chilled — not ice-cold as to harm your teeth, but ideally 10 degrees is the optimal temperature for all styles of sparkling,” he says.
In the context of the glassware that is available, O’Reilly notes that the traditional long-stem flute can be elegant and perfect for formal occasions, “but the small diameter of the flute doesn’t allow all the ‘wine’ complexity to meet the consumer.”
“A trend towards larger wine bowls made for grape varieties like riesling, chardonnay and pinot noir are now more commonly embraced by consumers and connoisseurs (particularly in at home consumption),” He adds. “These larger glasses allow more room for the deeper complexities in sparkling wine to emerge and display the true craftsmanship.”
Finally, when it comes to food pairing, he thinks that many options go beyond seafood and canapes.
“The naturally high acidity allows for the wine to clean the palate of bold flavour like French fries (with aioli) or fried chicken, but also can work beautifully with delicate raw seafood like oysters and sashimi,” the chef says. “The rose style has more power and weight (because of the red wine inclusion) and can match heavy dishes of confit or roast duck, or even Wagyu steak with reduction sauces.”
Does champagne make a good birthday present?
If you’re not sure, champagne makes an ideal birthday present. According to O’Reilly,” It’s champagne, the “universal language for celebration.” In actuality, Moet & Chandon now offers a special birthday-specific gifting option that lets you personalize bottles of their renowned champagne with a personalized birthday greeting. Suppose you want to spend the money for your birthday celebration. In that case, the wealthy delivery includes a bottle that is personalized together with glassware that is branded, as well as a birthday cake and balloons, all delivered through Moet’s Champagne concierge. Learn further details on the Moet website.