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Champagne and Sparkling Wine

All Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are champagnes. Why is that so you ask? This is because only sparkling wines that are produced in the Champagne region of France, in the tradition of Methode Champenoise, can be labeled as Champagne. Sparkling wines produced from other regions such as California, New Zealand, Spain or Italy, regardless of whether they are made in the tradition of Methode Champenoise, is classified as sparkling wine.

Sparkling wine from Spain, they are known as Cava. Although made the same way as Champagne, it is labeled as Traditionelle. The common grapes for Cava are Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello, but may include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Garnacha and Monastrell. In Italy, sparkling wines are known as Prosecco, mostly from Veneto region. Common grapes used are Glera. Prosecco tends to be sweeter and fruitier.

Champagne and sparkling wines are primarily made from either single or a blend of three grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Generally, Champagne is a blend of these grapes with the goal of maintaining the consistency of the producers’ house blend and quality. This applies to both vintage and non-vintage bottling. Champagne and Sparkling wine are labeled to indicate the type of blend – Blanc de Blanc (100% Chardonnay), Blanc de Noir (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) or Rose. A sparkling Rose is made by allowing the grape skin of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier to steep in the clear juice to achieve the right hue.

Not all years are vintage years. A vintage year Champagne is usually declared by the house. It is pricier, and depending on the quality of the vintage, it will appreciate in value over time. Non-vintage bottles are available every year as this is a blend of wines from several different years. Although less expensive, its quality and consistency represents the house blend. The structure (sweetness and texture) of Champagne and sparkling wine can be also be indicated on the label. Brut is bone dry, Extra Sec is dry, Sec is slightly sweet, Demi Sec is sweet, or Doux means very sweet. Each of the terms indicates the sugar level (dosage) of the wine.

Champagne and Sparkling wine are generally the drink of choice for celebration, or served as an aperitif. But the breadth of it’s style and structure offers versatility as to how it can be consumed. Here at CAVEMEN Restaurant & Bar, it is a good pairing with our Bar Snack such as White Bait and Kawaebi, or creamy flavours of Chaource cheese, appropriately from Champagne as well.

Available at CAVEMEN Restaurant & Bar.
White Bait: $14, Kawaebi: $14 (Before GST)

– Sueann

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