The Guide to Buying Champagne
17th May 2016
Want to enter the world of bubbly-drinkers or just stocking up on Champagne for the Summer?
There are so many labels and styles, where do you start? If you want to explore this fabulous drink more in depth and find one perfect for you, you’ll need to hunt around.
Champagne is a name exclusively used for sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region in the north-east of France. Winemakers can only use the name Champagne if it has been made in this region and follows a set of rules for production.
Understanding the code words on Champagne will open up even more options.
Champagnes have different sugar levels as indicated on the labels, such as Brut, Extra-Dry and Demi-Sec. Brut is the most popular style, a dry wine with just a hint of sweetness. It’s a good place to start before exploring different sugar levels (also called dosage).
The three most common grapes used in Champagne are white grape Chardonnay and black grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. For something lighter and delicate, go for a 100% white grape blend called Blanc de Blancs. Rosé tends to have more fruity tones and is usually a blend of all 3 grapes. Blanc de Noirs uses one or both of the black grapes, giving a more robust and complex flavour.
Vintage Champagnes (also called millésime) are labelled with a specific year which means all the grapes come from one single harvest, rather than a blend of different years. Vintage tends to be more complex and higher quality, therefore a higher price tag.
Where to buy?
The best place to seek out new and interesting bubbly is your local wine merchant who can help suggest the perfect bottle. You can also shop around on online and find some great deals and rare Champagnes.
Otherwise, your nearest supermarket is bound to have a Champagne selection.
The best-selling Champagne of 2015 was Moët & Chandon, there are lots of smaller grower Champagnes to discover.
You can even check out vegan-friendly Champagnes.
A few examples:
Louis Bernard Benoit Renaud Champagne Brut – £13.00 at Asda
Waitrose Brut NV – £19.99 at Waitrose
Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé Champagne – £30 from Asda
Ayala Brut Champagne –
£37.99 £28.99 from Corks Out
Glass of Bubbly
Executive editor of news content for the website Please enjoy the articles that we share - We hope you find our love for Champagne & Sparkling Wines both interesting and educational.