All you need to know about Champagne... in just 5 minutes

Champagne is a region proud of its vineyards and its people. 

They not only protected their region but also increased its status through a unique product, synonymous with refinement. 

But what’s hidden behind
the bubbles that help us toast good news? 

Got 5 minutes? 

We’ll tell you all you need to know about Champagne.

Champagne is a wine.

© Mathilde Bel  —  Champagne, fruit of the vine

A fact you could be forgiven for overlooking, so much does the name speak for itself. Its success has made champagne a brand of its own, but it’s important to remember that it is, first and foremost, a type of wine. A wine from the sparkling family of wines, as opposed to the still varieties.

The Champagne region is recognised by UNESCO.

© Mathilde Bel  —  A few champagne corks, to celebrate its UNESCO status

On 4 July 4th 2015, the “Hillsides, Houses, and Cellars of Champagne” were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This highest of distinctions shines. The spotlight on far more than a landscape of vineyards; it acknowledges the work of an industry that has distributed, spread, and protected a unique product.

It's not champagne if it's not from Champagne.

© Mathilde Bel  —  A Champagne landscape

The appellation’s production area was set by a law passed in 1927, covering 34,000 hectares. A victim of its own success, champagne has had its fair share of imposters. Only wines grown, harvested, and made in the official Champagne region in France can be called champagne!

Champagne has a multi-faceted personality.

© Mathilde Bel  —  Three parcels, three Champagne grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay

Champagne’s vineyards can be divided into four main regions. 

The northernmost is Montagne de Reims, where pinot noir grapes produce robust, generous wines, while the pinot meunier grown in the Marne Valley brings its full fruity flavour to rosé champagnes. South of Épernay, the Côte des Blancs and its chalky soil is the promised land for elegant chardonnay, and further south still, the Côte des Bar and its continental climate produces a lighter pinot noir.

But within these larger areas lies a mosaic of smaller terroir, with each parcel of land producing a wine with its own personality.

Blanc de blanc or blanc de noir? It’s a question of colour.

© Mathilde Bel  —  Two shades of champagne worth a closer look

Blanc de blancs champagne is made using chardonnay, a white grape. That’s easy to grasp!
A blanc de noirschampagne is made using only black grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier). Two grape varieties with darker skin and white flesh.

It’s the only French wine that can be made by mixing red wine and white wine.

© Mathilde Bel  —  A glass of rosé champagne, between two bunches of grapes

There are two ways to make rosé champagne. A short maceration of black grapes, extracting some of their colour, or by mixing still white and red wine from the appellation.

The Champagne method is an interplanetary benchmark.

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