Champagne is synonymous with parties and celebrations. A bottle of champagne, with its characteristic sparkling and infamous bubbles, has become basically a requirement at any awards ceremony or competition finale.
But what gives Champagne its attributes? Why is it so iconic with celebrations and victory? To answer those questions, look no further than the place where they come from—the wine district of Champagne, northern France.
More Than Just a Type of Wine
Champagne shares the name of the historical district in northeastern France where it is exclusively made. This is where all the vineyards that grow the grapes used, and the wineries that process them are located. International law prevents any other wine made anywhere else from bearing the name champagne.
It’s All in The Grapes
Three kinds of grapes are the predominant type grown in the vineyards that cover over 33,000 hectares of Champagne. They are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. These three types are the principal ingredients of any champagne bottle. All of the individual wineries and winemakers from here have their own recipes for making their wines.
Actually, it’s All in The Climate And Topography
The land and fields of Champagne actually are not that ideal for vineyards. Champagne is near the northern extremity of the optimal grape-growing climate. Any further north, and the climate is too cold. The vineyards in Champagne are helped by the presence of forests, which give cover that allows the grapes to fully ripen.
The soil is light and chalky, a result of sediments left behind by ancient oceans. This chalkiness is the major influential soil characteristic – or terrior, as the French call it. It gives the grapes grown here an airy quality that translates to the bubbliness and flourish that champagne is known for.
The Wineries Are Diverse
There isn’t one single, universally accepted type of champagne. The vineyards produce grapes with varying characteristics, even of the same grape variety. For example, Pinot grapes grown on the north side of the Reims mountain have more acidity than Pinot grapes grown on the south side. The wine houses of the region blend the different grapes to get their unique brew of champagne.
And quite a few wineries there are. Over 300 different wineries grow and process the grapes that become the world famous champagne we all know. If you want to learn more about the wineries in Champagne, visit https://www.winalist.com/regions/champagne.