Champagne remains the most enjoyed and beloved of all sparkling wines, but many people want to know exactly how it is made. As the most famous wine on the planet, it certainly deserves attention and below we’re looking closely at champagne, its make-up and how those bubbles are formed.
Champagne is a very specific type of sparkling wine. It has to be produced in the region of Champagne and it has to fall within the very strict appellation guidelines to truly be classed as Champagne.
Only three grapes are allowed to be used in the making of Champagne. They are:
The white grape Chardonnay which adds freshness, acidity as well as fresh flower and fruit aromas and flavours.
The red grape Pinot Meunier which adds fruit aromas and helps bring balance to the wine.
The red grape Pinot Noir which adds structure, power, body and red fruit flavours to the wine
Most Champagnes will include a blend of these three grapes but it is not essential all three included. A 100% Chardonnay Champagne is known as a Blanc de Blancs and has a remarkably fresh and fruit-enriched flavour. A red grape Champagne, using 100% Pinot Noir or a mix of the two red grapes, is known as Blanc de Noirs. These wines have a richer and more densely structured.
Where do the Bubbles Really Come From?
The unique winemaking process which creates Champagne also creates those much-loved bubbles. The first few steps of creating Champagne are the same as still wine but then some syrup, made up of a combination of sugar and yeasts, is added into each bottle. The yeasts then consume the sugars which produce the alcohol and also carbon dioxide. This process is essentially a second fermentation and the carbon dioxide is trapped within the wine. When the bottle is opened, it is released and the bubbles can be enjoyed!
Of course, newer and less prestigious sparkling wines are popular on the market, but nothing quite takes the place of a classic Champagne.