Champagne is a popular type of wine known with sparkling feature. Original champagne grapes only grow in Champagne region of France. To produce champagne, wine must be processed in secondary fermentation and bottled in special conditions for carbonation. Today in many countries, champagne is known as a generic name for sparkling wines but some countries save it for a special wine type. Most popular grapes used for producing champagne are Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. There’s a “Champagne appellation law” in Europe and only selected and allowed grapes can be used for champagne production now. According to historians, first champaigns are produced in 17th century and used in crown ceremony of French kings. Till the 19th century, it’s known as a symbol of luxury and power. Now it’s possible to see many ads of champagne companies placing their champagne product as a luxury and hard to reach product. How many Champagne varieties are there?
Today, many standard champagnes are “Non-vintage” which means blended so they are producing from different grape’s mixture. Also companies use single year vintage grapes for standard champagnes. There is “Champagne wine regulations” in the Europe and it’s limiting the use of vintage wines under a limitation.
Prestige cuvée or cuvée de prestige with its Frech name is the premier champagne variety now in the world. When a champagne is labeled with this name, it means product is including top of a producer’s range. There are many famous examples of Prestige cuvée champagnes like Louis Roederer’s Cristal, Duval-Leroy’s Cuvée Femme, Moët & Chandon’s Dom Pérignon and Pol Roger’s Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. First known Prestige cuvée was “Moët & Chandon’s Dom Pérignon” released in 1936. It was 1921 vintage in this champagne. After that, many companies produced Prestige cuvée products in various qualities. In 1952, a special vintage of Russian tsar is started to be used for Prestige cuvée champagnes.
Blanc de noirs is other popular champagne variety especially in Europe. Blanc de noirs means “white of blacks” and it’s using for a special champagne producing from black grapes. After this type of wine became popular, many companies followed the same process for champagne. Especially Pinot Noir grapes are used for this champagne variety in France. It’s popular with full-bodied nature.
Blanc de blancs means “white from whites” in French and it’s a special champagne only made from Chardonnay grapes. Ruinart is the most popular brand produced as “Blanc de blancs” Today term is using for also different champagne type producing only from Blanc de blancs.
Rosé Champagne is a champagne variety coming from The rosé wines. It’s producing by using clear juice of black grapes. There are many methods to produce Rosé Champagne and most popular method is saigneé method. It’s light in colour even produced from black grapes because champagne producers use a special way to leave the juice. Because champagne is taking more and more Rosé colour in each year, many companies leave the product to wait.
Today many companies are not labeling the variety of grape used for champagne but it’s possible to understand at least the nature of champagne from company short names. According to law, Négociant manipulant or NM labeled companies can buy grape and produce champagne. If label is Coopérative de manipulation or CM, it means company didn’t grow the grape but bought it from accepted growers. Récoltant manipulant or RM on label means the champagne product on hands is the produce of grape grower himself. Société de récoltants or SR means champagne is produced by an association of growers. Also Négociant distributeur or ND means a merchant bought the champagne and selling it in his own name.