Champagne is a sparkling wine that is made in the Champagne region of France to a strict method. It is predominantly made from a blend of three different grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. (Very rarely blends can be found using Pinot Blanc, Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Gris – although these only represent 0.3% of plantings)
The producers use different percentages of these grapes in blends in order to get a final result that they are happy with. Each of the grapes adds a different characteristic to the final blend.
is a red grape variety that adds body, structure, aroma and a complexity of flavours. Champagnes made of 100% Pinor Noir are called Blanc de Noirs.
is a white grape variety that adds freshness, delicacy, elegance and a certain finesse to the final product. Champagnes made of 100% Chardonnay are called Blanc de Blancs.
is a red variety related to pinot noir. It adds character and fruitiness to the blend.
The winemakers adjust the blends of these three grapes to create the final overall flavour profile they are looking for.
Rosé champagne is usually made by blending some red grapes for a short time with the white.
is a blend of two or more years of (current and reserve) champagnes prepared each year in order to produce a consistent style of wine. The blend of each grape varietal used will vary depending on the quality of grapes in any particular year. Non-Vintage champagnes can be drunk as soon as they are bought, but can benefit from at least 6 months cellaring.
is champagne of a single year’s harvest, and is only made in good years. Vintage champagne should be richer and more flavoursome than non-vintage (NV), with extra depth, complexity, character and weight. It will need to mature for at least a decade to taste its very best.
Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne – 2015′