If you are anything like a certain travel blogger, you like your facts correct, your terminologies spot on and your pronunciations said exactly how they are by the locals. There is, however, only so much the ears can take which is why have felt the need to utilize this platform in the hope of setting quite a few people straight.
Ever heard people talking about their weekend/night out/whatever when they were drinking “French Champagne”. Generally speaking with wine, most of it is named after the region it comes from. The Champagne region in the North East of France produces Champagne, hence the name. If a winemaker in the Beaujolais region down near Lyon releases a bubbly white with citrus aromas he can’t call it Champagne because the grapes were grown in the Beaujolais region, making it a Beaujolais, hypothetically.
Same goes for a Yellowglen Sparkling, or a Lindauer Cuvee Brut from New Zealand. If it’s not from the Champagne region, you are most definitely drinking a Sparkling White. Never truer when having a punt on the gee-gees on Race Day when representations of class are sprawled out on the lawn, fascinators missing and heels off. Champagne doesn’t do that to people.
The French, being the parochial types they are, actually brought in a law stating that it was illegal for winemakers to call their wine Champagne, if it didn’t originate from the region and it’s also fermented twice which creates the bubbles. The primary grapes used in the production of Champagne are Black Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and White Chardonnay grapes. Another clue to the drink’s origins will be on the bottle you may or may not be skulling from which will list the place it’s come from – either Reims or Epernay.
Champagne Appellation Law only allows grapes grown under the law in specially designated plots within the region to be used to make Champagne and the history dates back to the 5th century when Romans arrived in the area and started planting vineyards. Get this – it’s even good for you with some of the ingredients claimed to be able to prevent the loss of brain cells so…drink up!
So next time you hear someone talking about “French Champagne”, lean in and have a quiet word. Rant over. Until next time,