Celebrate Life with Champagne

Let us raise a glass, toasting the milestones, celebrating unions, birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions, romantic moments, have all become synonymous with a good bottle of bubbly or sparkling wine.

Pronounced Sham-pain, sparkling wine, specifically the type made in the French region of the same name is produced in the authentic, traditional French style and convention, using an age-old, recognized, specific manufacturing process, fermenting in the bottle itself in a particular region, made only from a handful of varietals, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier grapes.

A denominated region northeast of Paris specifically can only bear the real champagne method, or méthode champenoise and id recognized worldwide for its quality and consistency. Usually very refreshing, varying from sweet to dry and can be white, red, rose and even called by different names, like in Italy being referred to as Spumante, Seki in Germany, or "vin mousseux" (other regions of France.), or cava in Spanish.
It tends to be a little more on the pricy side made from still wine. More sugar is added during the fermentation process that gives it its characteristic ‘bubbly’ character. The almost infamous bottle-fermented sparkling wine, is effervescent with Chardonnais, le Pinot meunier and the Pinot noir the only parties authorized to label it as such legally.

When it comes to picking a good to great champagne, there are a few pointers to remember beyond price, preference and pairing! It is trendy and mostly accepted, from ringing in the new year, to sharing and intimate and special moment, it sets the tone if done right! Indulgent festivity enablers champagne is and remains special for most palettes and you should be aware that that feeling of going to your head is real! Do not drink too much of it – the effect (and pleasure) is undeniable!

Keeping your selection classic and simple is a great way to get started. Do not be overwhelmed by the stocked shelves, brands, choices and more. Brand and year does still make a difference, even for champagne! There are different houses or marques that officially make and label their product. Moët & Chandon, (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), Pommery and Veuve Clicquot, others include Canadian Seagram Group and Rémy-Martin, Perrier-Jouët, Heidsieck Monopole, Krug… and many more. Look for the official Club des Grandes Marques insignia on the bottle. The quality of the grapes and when they are picked, the weather really matters as it influences the taste and outcome of the final product. When you buy it, champagne should be stored properly and not kept for longer than two years for a quality bottle. The sugar content in the wine-making process, final amounts added by the wine-maker, will determine the sweetness or dryness of the champagne. Whatever the occasion or special event, a special moment will just not be the same without a bottle of chilled bubbly by your side. Cheers!

From black-tie, to couch or backyard, reception hall, fireworks or a special romantic cruise, picnic or proposal-hotspot, having the right mood-and-tone setter, can stack the odds in your favor. Blended wines across years, make it easier to pick a non-vintage (by far the largest single category of champagne out there) – happy hunting! For those with an advance and expensive palette, the Cuvees will have lots to offer. There is nothing like a perfectly chilled Dom Perignon. Let the corks fly…

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About The Author, Ian Love
Ian Love is the owner of Perth Restaurant group West Valley and also owns Australian Wine retailer - Liquor Merchants and runs a great Australian wine club.