No mistakes here, Champagne is a wine – a luxurious sparkling wine. In fact, it is the queen of sparkling wines. So why not go premium on a bottle of Moët & Chandon’s Impérial Brut for that special dinner date.
You are not just opening a bottle of sparkly goodness, but you can make a toast and clink glasses to more love. happiness and celebration.
Arguably the best wine brand to come out of France. Red wines thematically blend into Valentine – red roses, red dresses and all forms of reddened romantic gestures. Thomas Barton St Emilion has strong aromas of black cherries, a soft, round structure, and spicy finish. it is a perfect pair for with light spicy fish and poultry dishes, seafood, white meat, blue cheese, tarts, light stir-fries, spicy Indian cuisine and gentle aromatic cuisine.
A glass of white wine is good not just for the date, but can also serve in stating clear and immaculate intentions towards your special one. Coin a line of poetry around the wine, and serve your love a glass of Frontera Late Harvest – late because you waited for the best grapes to mature.
The wine is a golden yellow amber and brilliant. It has complex aromas of dry flowers and notes of honey. The palate is fresh, persistent and pleasant – just as your Valentine’s Day date should be.
Sweet red wines are spectacular on the palate. They are not just lovely food pairs, they also come in handy as desserts or digestifs. The wine has a medium body with flavours of bright red fruits and floral notes with a crisp finish. It pairs well with barbecued or grilled meals.
Champagnes have always been part of celebrations and weddings are one of the most important life ceremonies.
A recent report by CNN said the Nigerian wedding industry is worth millions of dollars, according to the market research group, TNS Global. A good part of the budget for most weddings goes for drinks, before, during and after the wedding, and champagne is a regular feature on the menu.
‘The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai’ covers the expensive nature of Nigerian weddings – a theme that is prevalent in the first installment of the film.
In partnership with Diageo, the film also displays some of the brands, in both the spirits and beer category, that are regularly ordered for wedding parties in Nigeria. While there was no particular attention given to the drinks in part one except for visibility, particular attention was given to a champagne in part two.
Recall the scene on the yacht when Nonso Onwuka (Enyinna Igwe) announces his engagement to Deardre Winston (Daniella Down)? Shortly before the Onwuka and the Cokers are seated for that dinner, Tinuade Coker ( Sola Sobowale) requests for a special French champagne to be brought. As they get settled, a bottle of Bollinger champagne is brought to the table.
Wondering what Bollinger Champagne is?
Bollinger Champagne is made by the prestigious Bollinger House of Champagne in France. Founded in 1829, the family-owned brand makes uncompromising rich and powerful champagne styles offering great potential longevity and complexity.
In ‘The Wedding Party 2’, Sola Sobowale distinctly announces the French roots of the champagne, with particular mention of its hallowed wine-making style. She practically turns down the champagne on the menu for Bollinger to further heighten the preference of the classic Pinot-dominant champagnes.
Bollinger uses only the first pressing of high-quality grapes from vineyards in the Marne (ie. Bollinger never uses grapes from the Aube region). It is fermented in oak barrels, making the Champagne well-suited to aging in the cellar.
Under the Bollinger name, the family produces the following wines: Special Cuvée (non-vintage), Grande Année (vintage), R.D. (vintage), Vieille Vignes Françaises (vintage), and Coteaux Champenois La Côte aux Enfants (vintage).
To better understand the reason why this champagne was a relevant feature in the record-breaking film, order a bottle for yourself. The beautiful rounded structure combined with rich, complex and intense aromas will leave you partying all the way beyond the wedding ceremony.
Champagnes and sparkling bubbles go together. Basically, champagnes are sparkling wines exclusively produced in the Champagne province of France. However, did you know that not all champagnes have sparkling bubbles? If that information is novel to you, then you might have never heard of ‘Coteaux Champenois.’
Considering the popularity of fizz coming out of the Champagne region of France, it is difficult for many to believe that still wines can come from the same region. Well, Coteaux Champenois begs to answer any raised question.
What is Coteaux Champenois?
Coteaux Champenois is the name given to the still wines of Champagne. It is also a wine wine Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the Champagne province of France, covering the same area where sparkling Champagne is produced.
Coteaux Champenois are made in three styles: red, white and rose. Coteaux Champenois Rouge made exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes is the most popular style. Like sparkling Champagne, most wines are non-vintage. Production of the non-bubbly champagne is small, especially in vintages where yields are low, given the high demand for Champagne and the higher profit of producing sparkling wine.
It is a light, acid-driven wine, with lively fruit that pops. Some bottles list a village on the label, the most famous of which is Bouzy, which specializes in red wines. While Coteaux Champenois from grower-producers such as Geoffroy, Paul Bara, and Egly-Ouriet have gotten the most buzz lately, larger houses like Bollinger and Laurent-Perrier bottle still wine as well.
Is non-bubbly Champagne still Champagne?
Still champagnes are considered as real champagnes for two obvious reasons.
It originates from the Champagne region of France.
It makes use of the same grape varietals – pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier.
The only thing lacking in still champagnes is the second fermentation that takes place in the bottle to create the sparkly bubbles associated with the more popular sparkling wine from Champagne.
History of Still Champagne
The real history of non-fizzy champagne is long and largely forgotten. Apparently, the region is only recently returning to its roots.
However, it can be confirmed that Still Champagnes have long existed before its sparkling cousins. As a matter of fact, original champagne was produced with the intention of it being consumed as still wine. The sparkling character came about by accident.
The legend goes that famed monk, Dom Perignon was trying to prevent bubbles from forming when he accidentally made sparkling champagne. Perignon was actually searching for a way to stop bursting bottles due to the carbon dioxide trapped within and raising pressure in the weak glass bottles of the 1600s.
“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” Perignon said when he tasted his wine. Since then, Champagne has now been synonymous with sparkling wine.
Suffice to say that bubbly champagne is an offspring of the non-bubbly Coteaux Champenois of Champagne. This is to say that the original champagne is not the sparkling wine from Champagne which has become a luxury brand the world over, rather it is the still wine which most champagne producers still make a small amount of today.
What does Coteaux Champenois taste like?
Coteaux Champenois lacks the rich, yeasty, fresh bread body of sparkling champagnes. This is because during the production, the months of resting on Lees — the dead yeast cells remaining after the second fermentation — or the Riddling process where the bottles are turned and gradually inverted to remove the Lees is avoided. Thus, it is fruity on the palate, light and acidic.
Sparkling wine is one of the world’s most celebrated alcoholic beverages, little wonder it is the drink people turn to at times of celebration.
People reach for a bottle of bubbly whether it is a birthday, New Year and Christmas holidays, Wedding ceremonies, romantic dates, or any other reason to pop a bottle.
Sparkling wines may satisfy our memorable moments, but there is a lot to commit to memory about them.
Brief history of Sparkling Wines
First thought to be a mistake in wine making, sparkling wine has been part of history since the classical Greek and Roman empires. Superstitions surrounding the bubbles included suspicions of evil spirits and the phase of the moon.
It is recorded that many winemakers were actually employed to find ways of removing the bubbles from the wine. Often, due to intense pressure from the cork, the bottle would burst creating a fountain flow of bursting bubbles. Winemakers had to wear helmets to protect their faces from the bursting bottles as they were yet to master the pressure behind the cork. This led to sparkling wine being called “The Devil’s Wine” back then.
It was not until the 18th century that sparkling wines finally gained it s own right as a type of wine and production of the wine began on intent.
What creates the sparkle?
The sparkling characteristics of these wines come from the carbon dioxide trapped inside the bottle during fermentation of the juice. The carbon dioxide builds up in pressure in the bottle, which forms streams of bubbles.
The wine is made mostly through the traditional or classic French way called Méthode Champenoise. It involves a process whereby the winemaker creates a base wine (cuvee) and adds a bit of sugar and yeast, initiating a second fermentation in the sealed bottle. It is during this process that the carbon dioxide is trapped, releasing the beautiful sparkling bubbles that fill our palates.
The other method of making sparkling wine is the Charmat Method. This method involves storing the whole batch of wine in a large tank that is designed to withstand certain pressure.
For some cheap sparkling wine, the makers may choose to inject the carbon dioxide directly into the wine. While there is nothing wrong with this, we humbly advise you stay away from cheap wine. Be classy!
The sparkles are usually released when the recently released gas (resulting from popping the bottle) come in contact with the dry glass. Wine journalists and blogs often theorize that there over 15 million bubbles fizzing in a glass of sparkling wine. That is enough sparkle to make you glow.
What grapes are used?
Sparkling wine can be made with any grape. However, many winemakers choose to use grapes from the Champagne region: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. For Prosecco and Cava, grapes that are indigenous to their respective countries are being used. Glera grapes are mostly used for Prosecco, while Cava is a blend of Xarel-Lo, Macabeo and Parellada grapes.
Sparkling wines are categorised according to their levels of sweetness, and the keywords are usually specified on the bottle of each wine. The sweetness varies according to the amount of sugar added during the second fermentation and the number of years the wine has been aged.
Wines produced outside the European Union (EU) may not specify the sweetness level on the bottle, but it is mandatory for wines produced in EU countries.
In identifying how sweet your bottle of wine is, here is what to look out for in descending order from super dry to excellently sweet:
Brut Natural or Brut Zero – Has no sugar added or less than 3 grams of sugar per litre.
Extra Brut – Very dry. Less than 6 grams of sugar per litre.
Brut – Dry. Less than 12 grams of sugar per litre.
Extra Dry or Extra Sec – Dry wine, but has a 12–17 grams of sugar.
Sec – Slightly sweet. Up to 17–32 grams of sugar in it.
Doux – Very sweet. Has 50 or more grams of sugar in it.
Types of Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine is known by many names, usually derived from the country or region from which the wine is made. From France’s Champagne, Italy’s Prosecco, Spain’s Cava, to Germany’s Sekt, here are the essential names of sparkling wines.
If you are an avid reader of wine articles, then you already know this, or have come across the saying “champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.” So there is absolutely no surprise here.
Champagne is actually the granddaddy of all sparkling wines; it is the real deal. While many other sparkling winemakers have adopted the production method of champagne, they cannot be called champagne as only wine from the Champagne region of France qualifies to be called champagne.
The main grapes used for champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier, and it is made in the ‘Traditional method’ meaning a second fermentation in the bottle. The limestone–chalk soil produces grapes that have a certain balance of acidity, extract and richness that is difficult to replicate in other parts of the world. All three grapes are blended in the winemaking process, which is a hallmark of Champagne wine. Chardonnay is used for its finesse and aging ability. Pinot noir gives a nice body and fruit while Pinot meunier adds to the aroma, adding fruit and floral notes.
Originally known as creamy sparkling wine because the lesser carbon dioxide used in its productions made the wine taste creamy rather than fizzy. However, it is still made following the same method as champagnes, only that they come from outside the Champagne region.
Crémant is made in eight different appellations throughout Franceand are called by the designation Crémant. They are as follows:
Crémant de Bordeaux
Crémant de Bourgogne
Crémant de Die
Crémant du Jura
Crémant de Limoux
Crémant de Loire
Crémant de Savoie
Although regional rules can vary, all Crémant wines adhere to certain requirements like manual harvesting of grapes, whole bunch pressing with limited must extraction (100 litres of juice from 150 kg grapes), and at least nine months lees aging.
Anne de K Cremant Brut Blanc de Bl is a good example of a French Crémant.
Crémant de Luxembourg
Luxembourg is the only other country outside of France where Crémant is produced and the term “Crémant” can be legally used. Cremant production came to be in Luxembourg when in 1885, the French company Champagne Mercier began to produce champagne in Luxembourg in order to save on taxes.
Made from grapes grown in the Moselle district under the Moselle Luxembourgeoise Appellation, it has common varietals used in production which include Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner (Müller Thurgau), Elbling, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir (for rosé), and Chardonnay.
An example of a Crémant de Luxembourg is Cuvée de L’Ecusson – Bernard-Massard.
While there are other categories of sparkling wine in Italy, Prosecco is the national sparkling wine of Italy. Prosecco is a light, frothy, airy, and clean sparkling wine made from grapes by the same name in the hills toward the city of Venice.
Other wines made in Italy include Franciacorta from Lombardy, Asti from Piedmont and Lambrusco from Emilia. Franciorta is made using the traditional method, while other Italian sparkling wines, in particular Asti and Prosecco, are made with the Charmat method.
Prosecco wines are made either as a spumante (fully sparkling) or as a frizzante (lightly sparkling). They are produced to be generally dry but sweeter examples are produced. An example of a good prosecco is the Martini Prosecco.
If Prosecco is the national sparkling wine of Italy, so is Cava for Spain. Cava is the name given to wine produced in the mainly in the Penedès region in Catalonia, south west of Barcelona. Other regions in Spain where the wine is produced are Valencia, La Rioja, Aragon, Extremadura. It was created in 1872 by Josep Raventós
Produced in the same traditional method as champagne, as stipulated by law, various grapes can be used in making Cava wine. The wine got its name from the Latin word ‘cava’, which means ‘cave’. Caves were originally used in aging the wines. It typically has hints of green apple and lime, with earthy notes.
Rondel Brut Cava is a typical Sparkling wine from Spain.
Germany consumes the most sparkling wine per capita in the world, and their official bubbly goodness is Sekt.The annual per capita consumption of about five liters is the highest in the world
German production of sparkling wines dates back to 1826, when G. C. Kessler & Co. was founded in Esslingen am Neckar by Georg Christian Kessler (1787–1842), who had previously worked at the Champagne house Veuve Clicquot from 1807 to 1826.
Over 95% of sekt produced is done using the Charmat method. Deutscher Sekt is made only from German grapes, and Sekt b.A. (bestimmter Anbaugebiete) only from grapes from one of the 13 quality wine regions in Germany. Some of the major grapes used include Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Pinot noir.
Sparkling wine has been in production in America for a very long time, with Carlifornia being a major region in the continent. Most California sparkling winemakers stick to Champagne’s classic trio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and come in a richer, riper style, though, thanks to the state’s balmy climate. Cuvees are typically derived from around 20 wines taken from 1 to 2 years worth of vintages.
Methode Cap Classique or MCC is a sparkling wine made by the traditional Champagne method in South Africa. Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc are the most used MCC grapes, but Chardonnay and Pinot noir have been increasingly used recently.
The wines are made in the Mzanzi region and are very fruity due to the high temperatures of the lands. Labels will either show the cultivar or the stylistic name, like Blanc de Blanc (made purely from white grapes), Blanc de Noir (from dark grapes) or Rosé (a blend).
Pongrácz Brut MCC is a typical South African sparkling wine.
Other sparkling wines
We also have sparkling wines made in other countries and regions of the world. Australia, Chileand Canada join America and South Africa among the New World sparkling wine regions. Russia’s Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, Hungary’s ’Pezsgő’, Portugal’s Espumante (Mateus Sparkling Brut) and English Sparkling wine are popular as Old World wines.
Founded in 1743, Moet and Chandon has a rich history that when considered, there would be no surprise as to why it is a leading champagne brand.
The Moët & Chandon Bi Centenary Cuvée Dry Imperial 1943 is its most expensive creation yet, and was made in 1943 in celebration of the champagne house’s 200th anniversary.
9. Engraved Krug Brut David Sugar – N657,384 ($1,806)
This highly valued champagne bottle is a limited edition acquires its worth from the carved “Quail Design in Flowering Tree”, an artistic masterpiece only found in limited bottles of Krug Brut.
8. Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon by Karl Lagerfeld – N711,620 ($1,955)
This limited edition of one of the world’s most elite champagne brands was created by Karl Lagerfeld in 1998. The German artist simply intensified the high value of Champagne Brut of Dom Perignon.
7. Krug Private Cuvée – N723,996 ($1,989)
Another Krug brand makes it to the list of the most expensive champagnes. The Krug house is in the custom of doling out pricey bottles of champagne since the house experienced first hand growth back in 1843.
6. Boërl & Kroff Brut Rose – N800,800 ($2,200)
Champagne House Drappier is behind the Boerl and Kroff brand which was created when Michael Drappier decided to vinify one acre of his land with the best of select berries. Boerl and Kroff Brut Rose is an exotic blend of the region’s Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
5. Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold – N897,988 ($2,467)
This limited edition of the Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon is a very valuable one, especially with a plated white gold case that qualifies it as a collectors item for wine and champagne enthusiasts.
4. Boërl & Kroff Brut – N905,996 ($2,489)
This NV Champagne Brut comes at a very heavy price tag, but when you consider that its 30-liter bottle costs around $120,000, then you would consider it cheap after all.
3. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay – N983,164 ($2,701)
The Krug Clos d’Ambonnay is single Champagne Blanc de Noirs made from Pinor Noir grapes.
2. Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon Charles & Diana 1961- N1.6 million ($4,344)
This is one for the royals judging by the name. The house of Moet and Chandon released this bottle in 1961 for the honor of the born of Princess Diana. It was also the official champagne whenf Princess Diana and Prince Charles had their royal wedding.
1. Goût de Diamants, Taste of Diamonds – N753.4 million ($2.07 million)
The name of this champagne qualifies its price – a true taste of diamonds. The exquisite sparkling wine inside the bottle makes it even more special. However, the most amazing thing about it is the expertly crafted bottle adorned with an expertly cut Swarovski crystal nestled in a pewter that looks similar to the Superman logo. The bottle was designed Nigerian-born Alexander Amosu.
The right bubbly can bring life to any party or even brighten up a dull day. It can be hard to select the perfect bottle of Champagne, with the variety of Champagne brands on the market. The first rule to remember is that it’s only Champagne if it was produced in the region of Champagne in France. Anything produced outside of this region is sparkling wine. Here are few tips to help you choose Champagnes.
1. Have a budget
The first thing you need to do is decide on a price range. Cheap champagne is usually not original champagne but sparkling wine produced outside the champagne region. Medium priced champagne, the original being produced in the Champagne of France, is usually moderately priced. The moderately low priced ones are usually French mass production (e.g. Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot), while the moderately high priced ones are usually quite enjoyable vintage selections (such as a few Dom Pérignons). Exclusive champagnes that are of a special brand or quality range are usually very expensive (e.g. vintage selections of “Champagne Krug” for a few hundred dollars, or champagne from 1907, found in the sunk Titanic, sold for around $10k/bottle in 2010).
2. Decide on a bottle size
Champagne is sold in various sizes leading from very small (125ml) to extremely large bottles (up to 27 liters). Sizes above 3 liters are usually more expensive because the bottles are much harder to make.
3. Decide on taste, sparkle intensity and color preferences.
There are a 3 basic differences amongst champagnes : Colour, taste and sparkle intensity. Colour usually rages from silver to amber to pink. The intensity that the champagne sparkles and the size of its bubbles (“pearls”) is not only determined by the champagne’s temperature but also by the very nature of the champagne. As a rule of thumb, champagne that hardly sparkles in your mouth is either not cold enough, of bad quality or might have been left open for too long. Too many pearls of big size (such as in a glass of coke) is not the way to go for quality champagne. The pearls of a good champagne are usually very small sized. The sparkling intensity (=how many pearls) depends entirely on your personal preference. As with wine, tastes of champagne vary a lot, usually being dry with any combination of an oaky, toasty, fruity, citrus, vanilla, or spicy notes. It all depends on your personal preferences.
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