There is only way to close out Wine Wednesday on New Year’s Eve, with a discussion about Champagne. And I will start with a confession; I really do not drink champagne/sparkling wine, unless it’s in a mimosa and that is all I’m going to drink for the day. More than any other alcohol I may drink; champagne puts me to sleep almost instantly. When at a celebration where it’s being offered as a toast I tend to decline and toast with what I am drinking with which I have read somewhere is acceptable.
The first thing we need to know is Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation. We are not always drinking “champagne” more often than not we are drinking a sparkling wine.
The primary grapes used in the production of Champagne are black Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier but also white Chardonnay. Champagne appellation law only allows grapes grown according to appellation rules in specifically designated plots within the appellation to be used in the production of Champagne.
Other regions of the world making sparkling wines and just called other names:
Spain’s is called Cava
Italy’s is called Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti,
French sparkling wines from everywhere outside of Champagne are referred to as Cremant
Classifications of Champagne/Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wines and Champagnes are categorized as Extra Brut, Brut (pronounced “broot”), Extra dry, Sec and Demi-sec depending on their sugar levels. These classifications can be somewhat confusing, but keep in mind, that in wine terms “dry” is the opposite of “sweet.” Brut Champagne and sparkling wine is the most common style of bubbly offering a typically crisp, dry palate appeal.
Extra Brut – is “extra” dry
Brut – dry (most popular style and very food-friendly)
Extra dry – middle of the road dry, not as dry as Brut (great as an aperitif)
Demi-sec – pretty sweet (pair with fruit and dessert
For a list of the best 10 champagnes this link on about.com
I’ll end this blog with a toast that seems perfect for my writer, poet friends…
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.(your voice) And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~ T.S. Eliot
Raise your glass with me Happy New Year