Champagne: 7 questions answered

Champagne - 7 Questions Answered

It is undoubtedly THE national pride of France.

It is incredibly renowned all over the world and its name is synonym of luxury. Let us explain you everything about le Champagne! 


1: Where does it come from?

Champagne comes solely from Champagne, a region North East of France where sublimely plump grapes grow. Only sparkling wine made from grapes grown in this region using the hush hush ‘’champenoise’’ method, may be called Champagne.

2: Who invented Champagne?

Wines from the Champagne region can actually be traced way back to medieval times. Later on, churches and monks cottoned on and set up vineyards (in their backyards ;-).

Les Champenois (people living in Champagne) were envious of the reputation of the wines made Les Bourguignons (people living in Burgundy) and wanted to produce wines of equal muscularity. However, the northerly climate of the region gave the Champenois a few challenges in making red wine: the grapes would not ripen fully and often would have high levels of acidity and low sugar levels (beuuuurk!!!)

The oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette deLimoux, which was apparently invented by Benedictine Monks (officially the merriest monks known to man;-) in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire, near Carcassonne in 1531.

3: What is it made of?

Champagne can only be made from 3 kinds of grape;

  • *white Chardonnay grapes
  • *red Pinot Noir grapes
  • *Pinot Meunier grapes

It’s usually a blend of two or three of the above, but is sometimes just made from one…
Champagne made entirely from Chardonnay (a white grape) is called blanc de blancs and Champagne made entirely from Pinot Noir (a black grape) is called blanc de noirs
Even though black grapes are used, the wine itself is never red.

How can this happen, pray? Must be a kind of magic, non?

It’s actually very simple: the skins (where the pigment resides) are removed immediately after the grapes are pressed, which keeps the juice clear… Et voila!!!

4: What about Rosé Champagne?

The only exception is with rosé Champagne. Rosé can be produced by leaving the skins in the juice just long enough to tint it, or by producers adding red Pinot Noir wine directly to the blend.
This second method is the most effective as it allows them to create the same colour each year. So there…

5: What are the different types of bottles?

  • Half Bottle (375 ml) just a sip
  • Bottle (750 ml) two sips
  • Magnum (2 bottles) lips getting wetter
  • Jeroboam (4 bottles) cute waiter
  • Rehoboam (6 bottles) cute waitress
  • Methuselah (8 bottles) which one was cute again?
  • Salmanazar (16 bottles) how come my legs don’t work?
  • Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles) why won’t you let me drive?


6: What are the sweetness levels?

Champagne is made in several sweetness levels, from very dry to quite sweet, Brut (the driest) being the most common & popular.
Flavour: Quite dry
Sugar level: Less than 6 grams per litre
Flavour: Dry
Sugar level: Less than 12 grams per litre
Flavour: Off-dry
Sugar level: Less than 17 grams per litre
Flavour: Slightly sweet
Sugar level: Less than 32 grams per litre
Flavour: Sweet
Sugar level: Less than 50 grams per litre
Flavour: Quite sweet
Sugar level: about 50 grams per liter

 Champagne cork stool

7: Which are the most renowned Champagne houses?

Unlike other French wines that are named after growing regions, Champagnes take the names of the houses that produce them. The largest and most famous of the houses are known as ‘’Grandes Marques’’ (big brands).
Twenty-four of them belong to an organization that requires they meet to certain minimum standards. Some of the more recognizable members of this bubbly club are: Bollinger, Charles Heidsieck, Krug, Laurent-Perrier, Moet et Chandon, G.H. Mumm, Perrier-Jouet, Pol Roger, Pommery & Greno, Louis Roederer, Taittinger, VeuveClicquot-Ponsardin

Want some random facts?

In 1662. In France, the first sparkling Champagne was created accidentally; its pressure led it to be called le vin du diable (the devil’s wine), as bottles vigorously exploded

As late as1844, le muselet (the wire-cap) was finally invented by Adolphe Jaquesson to prevent the corks from blowing out

Champagne was sweeter in the 19th century.The trend of making it drier came when Perrier-Jouët decide not to sweeten his 1846 vintage prior to exporting it to London


Over to you

So have YOU tried Champagne? No?

Where have you been hiding?

It’s an alcoholic beverage that is sparkly in nature and easy to converse with. Drunk in long thin glasses know as flutes. To be consumed in “immoderation”. Do try one and let us know how it goes.




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Published: Oct 11, 2016

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