Champagne

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Synonyms: Champagne – to be called Champagne, the wine must be from the Champagne region of France

Wine Name: Champagne, Rosé Champagne

Background: France essentially has a trademark on the name “Champagne” which designates only sparkling wine from the approved regions in Champagne France can be called as such. In fact sparkling wines from any other region in France cannot be called Champagne but are called “Cremant”. Champagne must be made by the traditional method in which the second fermentation that produces the bubbles (carbonation) must take place in the bottle rather than a tank or other container as is done for many sparkling wines in other countries. Champagne can be non-vintage (NV) with mixing of wines from several years) or have a year designation (Vintage) for only grapes from that year’s harvest. For a non-vintage Champagne, the wine is left on the dead yeast cells (lies) for at least 12 months. The longer a wine is left on its lees (dead yeast cells) the more toasty and bready the taste becomes and the finer the bubbles appear in the wine. A vintage Champagne must be aged for at least 36 months which usually give them a more toasty, biscuity or bready flavor and finer bubbles.

Classic Brands and Sources: Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Charles Heidsieck, Duval-Leroy, Henri Giraud, Gosset, Heidsieck, Henriot, Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Moët & Chandon, Mumm, Perrier-Jouët, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Pommery, Louis Roederer, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Characteristics:

Brut Nature

Body – light

Acidity – dry

Sweetness – dry – no added sugar 0-3 g/l

Tannins – low

Extra Brut

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry 0-6 g/l

Tannins – low

Brut

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry 0-12 g/l

Tannins – low

Extra Sec/Extra Dry

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – off dry 12-17 g/l

Tannins – low

Sec/Dry

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – semi-sweet 17-35 g/l

Tannins – low

Semi Sec/Semi Dry

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – semi-sweet 33-50 g/l

Tannins – low

Doux/Sweet

Body – full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – sweet > 50 g/l

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Often consumed on its own without food. With food, the dryer styles go well with fish, shellfish and lighter meat dishes with acidic sauces. Sweeter versions can go with heavier dishes that have spice or hotness or sweetness.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Dry styles – light fish, shellfish, chicken, pork with citrus-based sauces
Off dry styles – chicken, pork, veal with spicier sauces, Pacific rim foods, Mexican foods
Semi-sweet, sweet – dessert dishes
Rosé dry or off dry styles – beef and lamb dishes and dishes with slight spiciness

Cheese Pairings:
dry – Brie with rind, Brin D’Amour, Camembert with rind, Emmental, Feta, Garroxta, most goat cheeses, Muenster, Raclette, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire, Swiss, Vacherin
off dry – Brick, Colby, Double Glouster, Edam, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Langres, Vermont Shepard
sweet – any rich cheese, blue cheeses, “cheese cake”