Champagne has long been associated with luxury. It’s in the songs, the movies, and the mass marketing of luxury items. The placement of Champagne as a status symbol is not misplaced. It caps off special moments, and it is the mark of celebration. Champagne’s status is boosted because some Champagne producing areas of France are UNESCO heritage sites. This blog explains the different types of champagne.
Champagne is placed in various categories. Wine enthusiasts and winemakers identify the types by taste, grape variety, and region. Well, we break it down so you can make better choices during your next brunch or exclusive dinner party.
The grape varieties
All Champagne is the same since it’s all bubbly and expensive. Not quite. See, Champagne comes from different grapes. Some Champagnes are pure, while some are blended. And it’s all down to the grape variety.
Chardonnay grapes are green, add crispness and enhance the fresh tones of the wine. Dark pinot noir grapes are responsible for the body and heavy flavor of Champagne. They are fruitier and add a flowery aroma to Champagne.
These three main grapes make pure Champagne. Blending uses four grape varieties. They are not as common, though.
Pinot Gris is a mutant clone of the Pinot Noir grape. It takes different colors, although the most common is gray with some pink shades. When used in a blend, it adds a citrus zest to the Champagne. The Pinot Blanc is a white grape that is considered an unstable clone of the Pinot Noir. The white grape sometimes bears black fruit, although it is expected to take white berries.
Petit Meslier a rare grape used to produce its blend of white wine. It makes a sparkling white wine known as Meslier Brut.
Learn your Types of Champagne
Champagne Blanc de Blancs
This type of Champagne translates to white from whites. They farm the grapes that go into Champagne’s class in the Côte des Blancs and Côte de Sézanne areas. The Chardonnay grapes produce a crisp, refreshing taste, and its citrus flavors hit you right from the start. It is also an exact wine. The bubbles stand out, mostly due to the wine’s carbonation.
Blanc de Blancs Champagne from the Côte des Blancs are more refined. They are typically drier and have a higher rating than the Côte de Sézanne counterparts. The heavy soils in the Sezanne region produce more peach-tasting Champagne.
These go well with seafood and as an aperitif.
Blanc de Noirs
Blanc de Noirs come from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. While Pinot Noir is extensively farmed, the Meunier variety is a rare grape used to blend the Noir. Both are dark red. They are lightly pressed so that the skin’s pulp isn’t used in Blanc de Noir champagnes’ processing. The pressing produces an almost colorless juice, with most of the acidity coming from the Meunier grapes.
Blanc de Noirs champagnes taste like raspberries and strawberries. Blanc de Noirs is a balance of sugars, alcohol, and aroma. Most of the fragrance comes from the Pinot Meunier, while the flavors come from the dominant Pinot Noir. Collectors of this type of Champagne prefer the ones that haven’t been too aged.
Rose comes from a blend of Blanc Champagne and red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier wine. They press the Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes such that their skins release the dark color. Rose finish is obtained after Pinot Meunier or Pinot Noir is added to the Blanc Champagne
Still, this wine is highly acidic, tart, and yet fruity.
These three types are classified depending on the berries. However, did you know that Champagne is also classified on sugar levels?
Champagne Brut Nature
If you come across this term or Zero Dosage, it means the Champagne served either has no sugar or very little sugar added. It makes the driest champagne type. The most sugar added to this type of Champagne is 3 grams per liter.
Champagne Extra Brut
The Extra in this type of Champagne is an extra 3 grams of sugar. Extra Brut is technically still a dry white wine. However, it has a mild sweetness. These Dry types are a favorite in Asia, especially Japan, South Korea, and China.
Champagne Brut is a dry white wine with a dosage of up to 12 grams of sugar. Most commercial champagne bottles are in this category. There is notable sweetness, but it pairs well with most food.
Champagne Extra Dry
Extra Dry Champagne contains between 12 to 17 grams of sugar per liter. It is popular with the aperitif crowd.
Champagne Dry-Types of Champagne
This Champagne contains about 17 to 32 grams of sugar. Connoisseurs would call this medium-sweet.
Demi-Sec Champagne-Types of Champagne
Cake festivals that have Champagne are most likely to have this as their choice drink. This sweet sparkling Champagne has as much as 50 grams of sugar in every liter. It is the perfect accompaniment for desserts and fruit bowls.
Doux -Types of Champagne
The sweetest type by sugar content is the Doux Champagne. It contains more than 50 grams of sugar.
Other than added sugar, winemakers also categorize their Champagne by the year of production.
Champagne Millesime is Champagne from a particular year’s harvest. The year is printed on the label. This Champagne should be old at least three years, although some producers let some bottles sit for up to 5 years before selling. Champagne Sans Annee comes from grapes harvested during different years.
Millesime Champagnes are distinctively fragrant with a bold taste.
The Champagne is classified as either vintage or non-vintage. Non-Vintage Champagne is any wine that’s less than 15 months old. Vintage Champagne is at least three years old.
Non-vintage Champagne still has its fruity flavors intact, while aged Champagne has a bolder breadier flavor.
Conclusion-Types of Champagne
Champagne is the hallmark of luxury. You can go all in and get vintage Champagne to achieve in the future. Alternatively, you can go for a Champagne Sans Annee. With this in your cellar, you’re allowed to call yourself a collector.