The Types of Champagne: Brief History & ClassificationWritten by David MasifonPosted on 02 09, 2017
Champagne is often part of our world as adults. Bottles of champagne are used to celebrate an occasion, make a toast, to please a date, to entertain friends or just to enjoy an evening alone with our thoughts. Brands like Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Laurent –Perrier, G.H. Mumm and Nicolas Feuillatte aren’t giants in the adult beverage industry because they are lucky. It’s because of what they offer. Wine lovers among you probably know a lot about champagne, but how much do you really know? What do you know about its different types?
Where’s Champagne from?
Champagne is the name given to sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. This region follows strict rules that demand precise vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes from precise parcels in the Champagne appellation, unique pressing regimes, and secondary fermentation of wine in the bottle to allow carbonation.
Unfortunately, “Champagne” is used a considerable lot as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in a good number of countries, it is illegal to officially label a product Champagne unless it’s coming from the Champagne region and made under the rules of the appellation.
Black pinot noir, black pinot meunier and white chardonnay are the primary grapes used in Champagne production. As the appellation law states, only grapes grown in line with the appellation rules in specific plots inside the appellation are used to produce Champagne.
Champagne grew to be associated with nobility between the 17th and 19th century and the leading manufacturers in that period took advantage of the perception through packaging and advertising, eventually appealing to the emerging middle class.
Classifications of Champagne
Champagne has been classified into different types varying wildly in taste and price. We have non-vintage champagne, vintage champagne, rose champagne, prestige cuvée, demi-sec champagne, recently disgorged, blanc de blancs champagne, and blanc de noirs champagne.
These are the most widely available champagnes as they account for 90% of all champagnes produced. Non-vintage champagnes are those that are blended from a variety of up to forty different wines from different years. Champagne producers usually keep 20% of their harvest every year to accommodate future blends.
Vintage champagnes are created from grapes harvested in a particular year. Not all years are deemed vintage and the decision on whether it’s vintage or not is made by individual houses.
Rose champagnes are created by one of two methods; Champagne producers either add a small amount of Pinot Noir to the champagne or press the grapes slower so that the skin colours the wine. Also called pink champagne, rose champagne is perceived as romantic because of its colouration.
These are vintage champagnes from the very best vineyards. Their grapes are from a specific year but are the best grapes among the handpicked bunch.
These are medium dry, medium sweet champagnes. In a bid to cater for all tastes, it is one of the countless champagne blends created.
Recently disgorged champagnes
These are called so because after fermentation, the sediment is removed just before sale. Lovers of recently disgorged champagnes believe that the champagne maintains its freshness and gains from the additional maturation in the bottle.
Blanc de Blancs champagnes
Unlike other champagnes made with three grapes including chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, blanc de blancs champagnes use only white chardonnay grapes.
Blanc de noirs champagnes
These are champagnes made only from pinot noir and/or pinot meunier red grapes. They have a slight salmon or pink tint.