Wine of the month: Champagne

So, is Champagne really a wine?

Yes! Champagne is a sparkling wine that is made from grapes grown within 100 miles of the province of Champagne in north east France. It must also be produced in the same region. There are many sparkling wines that people mistakenly refer to as Champagne. Although they have much in common with Champagne, and can be equally delicious, these are produced in places other than Champagne, France.  

Sparkling wines from other regions are known as Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti (Italy), Cava (Spain), Sekt (Germany), and Cremant (Non-Champagne Regions of France). There are also fantastic sparkling wines produced in the United States and many other countries around the world!

What flavors are commonly found in sparkling wine or Champagne?

True Champagne is only made from a few varieties of grapes. Pinot Noir is the most commonly used grape for Champagne, followed closely by Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay Grapes. There are a variety of flavors common to Champagnes including:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Citrus
  • Strawberry
  • Cream/vanilla
  • Yeast
  • Nuts

How are these wines classified?

Champagne is categorized by how dry or sweet each variety is. These varieties are known as:

  • Extra Brut: This is the least sweet and most dry variety.
  • Brut: This variety is dry. It is the most popular style and very food-friendly.
  • Extra Dry: Despite its name, this type is middle of the road dry, but not as dry as Brut.
  • Demi-Sec: This variety is relatively sweet (pair with fruit and dessert).
  • Doux: This is the sweetest variety & is often referred to as dessert Champagne.

What Foods Pair well with Champagne?

Champagne goes very well with appetizers or opening courses in a meal. It also pairs well with very light meals, and of course as an after-dinner celebration! Some foods that Champagne goes especially well with include: cheese, seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster), shellfish, sushi, pasta in light sauces, poultry, and of course fruit and dessert (think strawberries and Champagne)!

When you are choosing a wine to drink, it’s most important to go with what you like. If you are new to Champagne and sparkling wine, ask one of our knowledgeable employees. They will be able to help you choose a sparkling wine that is perfect for your every need! Visit us at Bill’s Package Store in Clarksville, Tennessee and discover your perfect sparkling wine today!

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