Everyone loves champagne. This exquisite sparkling wine is known the world over as the wine par excellence for celebrating. But it’s much more than that! Check below for 5 things you might not have realized about this famous bubbly.
But before getting to those, let’s recap what makes champagne champagne, and not just another sparkling wine.
What Makes Champagne Champagne
A sparkling wine has 3 basic rules it needs to follow to be champagne, and they are related to place, grape, and method:
- Champagne is geographically demarcated. It must be produced in the Champagne region of France.
- Champagne can only be made from certain grapes: although there are 7 varietals used, the three most common are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
- Champagne must incorporate the méthode traditionnelle, or traditional method (sometimes called the champagne method). This method calls for 2 rounds of fermentation, one in a tank or barrel, the second in the bottle itself.
So, now that you have the basics, what else didn’t you know about champagne?
5 Things You Didn’t Know about Champagne
1) It’s Perfect for Pairing
Most people think of champagne as a celebratory wine, and don’t necessarily think to serve it with food. But champagne pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods. It is, in fact, super versatile, adapting to the flavors of everything from fish to escargot, from cheese to desert. It pairs well with other high-end foods like caviar, white truffle, and oysters, as well as with pastas, chicken, and citrus, and even with more mundane fare such as bread and eggs!
2) It’s Located in the Grand Est
France re-organized its regions a few years ago, and Champagne is now part of the Grand Est region. If you want to go on a champagne tour (and we highly recommend you do), you can head to the beautiful countryside around Reims, as well as to Reims itself. See the high Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame in Reims, sail leisurely down the vineyard-lined Marne River, and of course visit Épernay and the famed Avenue des Champagnes for a tasting. Or two. Or three.
The Grand Est is also home to Alsace and Lorraine, two other wonderful wine producing areas
3) Drink It with Rose Biscuits
Did you know that champagne is not the only famous product from this area of the Grand Est? While in Reims try some of the famous rose biscuits. These simple cookies are the French version of Italian biscotti – a hard, sweet cookie perfect for dipping in… you guessed it, champagne! They are colored with carmine, which is how they get their distinctive pink hue.
4) Look for the Collerette
One bottle of champagne has about 49 million bubbles. We didn’t count them, we just read that somewhere. But there is no doubt that champagne is one of the most effervescent of sparkling wines. The size of the bubbles is often said to be a sign of the quality of champagne, although we’ve also read that that is just common lore and not based in the science of winemaking. One thing is certain, though, and that is that you need bubbles. When a glass of good champagne is poured, you will see the bubbles run in trails up the inside of the glass to form a nearly perfect ring of bubbles around the top of the flute. This ring is called a collerette. Pull that out at your next dinner party and impress your friends!
5) You Can Taste Champagne in France with TIK
Did you know we offer private wine tours in Champagne? You can combine it with one of our other destinations such as nearby Paris, or explore it on its own. We are really excited about our newest food and wine tour in Champagne, which can be either two or three nights, or more if you want to customize it. Highlights include a full day of touring champagne country and a private cruise on the Marne River with picnic and tasting – not to mention a hands-on cooking class.
Inquire for details!
By Peg Kern
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