Classic Champagne Blend
5th January 2023
A common phrase in the world of bubbles is that of ‘classic Champagne blend‘ though what really does it mean as it is also referred to with wines made outside of the region itself? Surely it is exclusive to the famous region of Champagne in France?
The term itself is one of the famous styles in the world of sparkling wines and it refers to the blend and grapes used, being that of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and (Pinot) Meunier which is famed for its use in the region of Champagne. Though the three grapes mentioned are commonly used to make Champagne, there are four others that are permitted to be used which are: Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane.
The classic blend works well in the Champagne region as the grapes are very much suited to the cooler climate and the Meunier is their relatively exclusive variety. In other parts of the world, any classic blend reference will likely see Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the main grapes, though variations get included to further dilute, in my opinion, the traditional meaning of ‘classic Champagne blend’.
Outside of the Champagne region in France, sparkling wine production is highly populated, with many countries, regions and winemakers producing top quality labels from New Zealand to Slovenia. Traditional method (Methode Champenois in Champagne) to tank method (Charmat) or even triple fermentation with hundreds of different grape varieties and blends being used, your choice is quite limitless.
If we wish to stick to the traditional meaning of the Classic Champagne Blend outside of Champagne then we do not have to travel too far at all in that just across the channel in the southern county of England, (East) Sussex, we see award winning sparkling wines being produced using 80% Blanc de Noir (Pinot Noir & Meunier) and 20% Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay). With very similar terroir (both land and weather) the English are rubbing shoulders with the great producers of Champagne to produce traditional method sparkling wines that gain growing admiration from respected wine critics globally.
The winery I am speaking of here is the multi award winning Fox & Fox Mayfield. With a wide and very fine selection of English Sparkling Wine, you have a wonderful choice to experience exactly what the English can do when it comes to bubbles – The winemaker is Jonica Fox and she rightly is a highly respected figure with a growing reputation. Herself and her husband, Gerard, own exceptionally positioned vineyards which they have at their fingertips and they are mastering mind blowing blends that really are putting England on the map for wine production.
“One of the joys of being a Boutique grower producer is the ability to produce and experiment with small runs of wines. Mosaic Midsummer Rosé is just such a wine. It is our lovely summer-time fizz, blended from both vineyards with a slightly higher percentage of Pinot Noir & Meunier than the Mosaic Brut.”
Fox & Fox Mayfield – Mosaic Rosé 2015 – Tasting Notes: “Red berry fruits with a touch of cream on the nose. It’s a real explosion of English garden summer fruits with red berries prominent though also crisp Cox’s apples, gooseberry and black current.”
Ideal Food Pairing: On Christmas day (2022) this bottle came out to be enjoyed, to be honest, it was stored away with great anticipation so that others could enjoy with us the splendours of English Sparkling Wine! The quite outstanding aromas and flavours from the Mosaic rosé really aligns with many rich, fatty and spicy / hot foods. On the day canapés were served prior to the main dinner with a mixture of pork belly in BBQ sauce, pigs in blankets and some spicy chicken slices. The wine was bold enough to both cleanse the palate and enhance the savoury flavours. The best pairing was with the spicier chicken where the fresh bubbly wine cooled down the palate to leave a warm, savoury, tingly sensation on the tongue.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.