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Why we Love our Bubbles

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Why we Love our bubbles and it’s not Champagne! Champagne is the only made in France. This is the thing Americans don’t understand. Our bubbles are just fizzed

It’s misunderstood by Americans they like to call anything that has “bubbles” champagne. It doesn’t mean it’s Champagne.

This is not correct it depends on where it’s made.  I know this from my own experience of twenty-six years of selling French wine and other imports.

“Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.”               Madame De Pompadour

I don’t correct them but I can guide them to the ultra difference between Champagne and Prosecco, Cava, Cremants, and American Sparkling Wine. Price, region, varietals and production all make a difference in the sparkling wine industry.

To clarify, Champagne – true Champagne, not the California illegally labeled champagne,  can only be made in Champagne,  France. Champagne is a specific region with very strict laws governing varietal, aging and production. To call American bubbles,  Champagne is akin to calling all “sneakers or running shoes” NIKE…

Champagne HOUSES, have a distinct style of their own: the blend of varietals is usually a combination of Chardonnay, featured Petit Meunier and Pinot Noir.  The HOUSE style never varies. Never.  It is extremely difficult to produce the exact same flavor profile every year.

Champagne by law must be aged at least two years before it is sold publicly. Krug ages their wines for at least five years before their entry level wine is sold.  That is very expensive inventory.

Krug Champagne is a Champagne house founded by Joseph Krug in 1843. It is based principally in Reims, the main city in France’s Champagne region and is one of the famous Champagne houses that formed part of the Grandes marques

The process of creating a House style is technically challenging as the first fermentation basically prepares the wine for the crucial disgorgement to add the “dosage.”

Think of this dosage as a “house secret sauce.”

The second fermentation rests and ferments while the Champagne master turns each bottle by hand a quarter of inch. This process is called “ riddling”.  It is labor intensive as each bottle is turned a quarter of an inch by hand. Up to 40,000 bottles a day is common and the  remueur, the riddler, is making certain that the dosage and yeasts are blended into the wine bottle.

Today, it is more common to see mechanization of this process by gyropalettes.

The wines are then disgorged of the goopy “secret sauce” ( liqueur de tirage) by an amazing technique of freezing the neck of the bottle ( angled upside down).  This collects all the liqueur de tirage and prevents the wine from seepage.

“The wines are “degorges a la glacé” on an assembly line.  The necks are plunged in freezing salty water. They are left at 15C – and 30C for a few minutes, stoppers removed, goop pops out, recorked.” Nicholas Faith, The Story of Champagne, Facts on File, New York.

Voila. Champagne!

And those are a few examples why Champagne is pricey, unique and in a class of its own, remember that Champagne is the King of all wines.

Noteworthy house styles are Perrier-Jouet, Kruger, Pol Roger and Billecart – Salmon.

Perrier-Jouët is a Champagne producer based in the Épernay region of Champagne. The house was founded in 1811 by Pierre-Nicolas Perrier and Rose Adélaide Jouët, and produces both vintage and non-vintage cuvee, approximately 3,000,000 bottles annually, with its prestige label named Belle Epoque

Pricing begins at about $49 to $70 for the entry level generic wine, for the true Champagne the prices start at $49 up to $250.

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Written by Valerie Hail

Valerie Hail

 

Valerie Hail
Podcaster/ Producer
Wealth, Yoga, Wine podcast
www.chezvalerie.us
914-475-4603
Read Valeries’ other articles about wine.

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