- Posted by The CorkGuru
Whether you’re celebrating the New Year or just enjoying some bubbly at the end of a long week, you may be curious about what you’re pouring into your glass. We all know that there are differences between true Champagne and other sparkling wines, but what are they? Let’s test your Champagne IQ and see if you know whether or not these statements are fact or fiction.
True or False? It’s only “Champagne” if it was made in Champagne, France.
True! Sparkling wine can only be called “Champagne” if it has been grown and bottled in the Champagne region of France.
This map from winefolly.com outlines the Champagne region:
With that being said, true champagne can get pretty pricey. Of course, it’s nice to have French Champagne every once in awhile as a treat or on special occasions, but what if you’re on a budget? No problem, because there are plenty of similarly made sparkling wines in different regions that are delicious in their own right without the Champagne price tag. For instance, Cremant is a sparkling wine produced in the Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Jura, Limoux and Loire regions of France made with a wide range of grapes. These wines cannot be called Champagne due to their location but they can be equally appealing.
True or False?: Champagne is made differently than Sparkling Wine
True AND false. It depends on the wine. Cava, a sparkling wine made in Spain for example, is produced using the same traditional method as Champagne. There are also several other regions that use this method including the areas of France mentioned above.
This infographic from enobytes.com illustrates the traditional method, or “Méthode Champenoise”, of producing Champagne in detail:
The main aspect of the traditional method that sets it apart from other methods is that the wine stays in the same bottle from fermentation to your glass.
There is another process called the Charmat Method in which the second fermentation takes place in a large steel tank, saving both time and labor. Prosecco, a popular sparkling wine made in Northern Italy, along with several other sparkling wines use this method.
True or False? Champagne is more expensive than Sparkling Wine.
True. On average, Champagne is more expensive than other sparkling wines due to its reputation, history and labor intensive traditional method. But searching for sparkling wines produced right outside of the Champagne region in France will offer a high quality, traditionally made wine with an “everyday” price tag!
True or False? Champagne tastes better than all other sparkling wines.
In my opinion, false. Sparkling wines made using the traditional method taste comparable when comparing those of similar grapes and ageing. Wines made with the Charmat method do taste differently, with a fresher, fruitier taste due to the quickness of the process. These fun wines appeal to many wine lovers as well.
Want to learn more about Champagne? Martine Saunier from our Women in Wine article created one of our favorite documentaries “A Year in Champagne”. Check it out! Tweet us or tag us on Instagram @CorkGuru with your favorite sparkling wine this year.