Jana believes that the spice of life can be found in the exploration of other cultures, good food, and wine.
1. There Is Only One Champagne
Technically, there is more than one type of Champagne. However, this group of bubblies has one thing in common—they are all produced in France in a region fittingly called Champagne. In the past, copycat winemakers stole the title to add to their own sparkling wine's label and boost sales. Eventually, this practice became so rampant that most customers considered any wine with bubbles to be Champagne, no matter how cheap or bad-tasting it was.
A recent law prevented the name from being abused and allowed the capital “C” term to be used only by French winemakers. Some American producers can use the word but must add “American” or their state's name before it.
2. Production Takes Years
Some manufacturing techniques can produce this wine within a few months, but the true technique takes between 15 months and 3 years. Some of the best Champagne takes 10 years to make. It all depends on the liquid's second fermentation. At first, the grape juice ferments into a still wine—the type without bubbles. When the winemaker deems it ready, he or she awakens a second fermentation by adding sugars and yeasts. The latter flips the sugar into alcohol and also make the bubbles. The second fermentation is usually the longer one and can take a year or more after the bottle is placed in the cellar.
3. High-Quality Bubbles Are a Must
Carbon dioxide forms during the second fermentation. Since the gas has nowhere to go, it turns into bubbles. Other sparkling wines are also created in a similar way to infuse them with their own natural bubbles. However, there is a distinction. A high-quality sparkling wine like Champagne must have delicate bubble streams that start at the bottom of the wine glass and fizz gently at a persistent pace. They also feel gentle on the tongue. Any sparkling wine that offers a bubble experience similar to that of a carbonated soft drink and ravages the mouth likely didn't cost much. These cheaper sparkling wines may have large bubble orbs sticking to the side of the glass.
4. Champagne Is Either Vintage and Non-Vintage
Most Champagne falls into the category of non-vintage. This simply means that the bottle's label doesn't carry a vintage year. As opposed to a vintage wine, which uses the grape harvest of a certain year, a non-vintage is a blend of three or four harvests. These harvests are not from a few farms but from nearly 40 villages. Although non-vintage can be superb, vintage Champagne remains the best on the market and the most sought-after.
It takes good weather to assure a vintage harvest, which doesn't happen every year. In fact, conditions are perfect only once every five or ten years. Besides rarity, vintage wines also take longer to make, which improves the flavor. A non-vintage must incubate for a minimum of 15 months, but a vintage Champagne is coddled for years.
5. There Are Baby Champagnes
As a rule, it's not a good idea to store smaller bottles of Champagne for very long. They usually come in the shape of party favors or inside gift baskets. Unlike the larger bottles, these so-called baby Champagnes often fail at any measure of shelf life and go flat at a disappointing pace. That being said, the tiny wines are becoming increasingly popular where bubbly is ordered and consumed quickly. For instance, some nightclubs sell “splits”, 187 ml bottles that include straws so one can drink it almost like a bar cocktail.
Dig a Little Deeper
If these facts made you like your favorite fizzy even more, there's good news. There are plenty of historical, scientific and production facts that are as delicious as Champagne itself. A little research will soon reveal plenty of places, clubs and websites that offer great information about this superstar wine from how to store and serve it to where the best tourist spots are for the travel bug who is also a Champagne aficionado.
© 2019 Jana Louise Smit
Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 22, 2019:
That could definitely be the cause of a pounding headache. Thanks for the research!
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on July 22, 2019:
I did some digging to see why this happens. It seems pretty common (I had no idea). But the leading causes appear to be Champagne's high sugar content which can make hangover symptoms worse, even after a single glass for some. The wine also contains sulfites and individuals who are allergic to this compound can experience headaches.
Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 21, 2019:
Your champagne article is full of great information. I love the bubbly but it gives me a headache if I have more than one drink.Could it be the carbonation?
Jennifer Jorgenson on June 24, 2019:
What a bummer. I also didn't know about the difference in bubbles. Thanks again!
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on June 24, 2019:
Thank you, Jennifer. Oh yes, I found that out the hard way. I kept one that I received in a basket, to use for a "special" occasion that took too long to arrive. By then the bottle was quite flat. :)
Jennifer Jorgenson on June 23, 2019:
Very interesting. I had no idea the baby bottles had a short shelf life. Thanks for sharing these tidbits.