Your Quick Guide to Champagne

Your Quick Guide to Champagne

'Tis the season for champagne toasts, but not all that bubbles is champagne.

Know what you’re drinking and shop smarter this holiday season with the Quick Guide to Champagne.

What is champagne?

Champagne is a…

  1. sparkling (aka bubbly) white wine
  2. from the Champagne region of northern France
  3. made from chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier
  4. made using The Traditional Method.

So, no, that "champagne" from California is not champagne. It may be a tasty sparkling white wine, though!

How should I serve champagne?

Food pairing

I know champagne is the pinnacle of fancy, but trust me, put the truffle chocolate and oysters down and pick up some fried chicken. Thank me later!

The acidity in sparkling wines generally pairs well with fatty foods such as cheese, lamb, Chilean sea bass, etc. 


Like the flutes in our A Taste for Two or A Grand Toast gift boxes, champagne glasses should narrow at the top. This prevents the lovely bubbles from escaping. 

PRO TIP: Hold the glass by its stem so your hand doesn’t heat the wine and change the drinking experience.


Cold…but not freezing!

Delicious, quality champagne alternatives

Besides champagne, there are many wonderful sparkling white wines you can  impress your guests with or try the next time you’re at a restaurant: Crémant from France, Cava from Spain, Sekt from Germany, and Spumante, Prosecco, Asti, and Franciacorta from Italy are just a few. California, New York, New Mexico, and Oregon also make delicious sparkling white wines. 

Prosecco and franciacorta are especially delicious with cocktails such as mimosas and bellinis.

Many of these are less expensive than champagne because they don’t go through The Traditional Method, which requires two fermentation processes and results in more bubbles.

But especially high quality wines such as cava gran reserva can also be pricey.

What is brut?

It seems like all sparkling wines are brut, but they aren't!

Brut refers to how dry, or not sweet, a wine is. Wine terms from driest to sweetest include: brut nature, extra brut, brut, extra dry, dry/sec, demi-sec, and doux.

My favorite resources on sparkling wine:

  • Sparklers, produced by SOMM TV
  • The Joy of Champagne podcast

My sips of the season:

  • Domaine Carneros Blanc de Noir (California)

A dry sparkling white made of pinot noir grapes and produced in the traditional method. Elegant and heart-warming.

  • G.D. Vajra Moscato d'Asti (Italy)

Light and fruity with a touch of sweetness. I opt for this gentle wine as an apéritif even if the experts say it's a dessert wine!

Comment below! What bubbly are you sipping on this season? 


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1 comment

Sparkling rosé


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