The pop of opening a bottle of Champagne can gather the attention of an entire room. Sparkling wine is used in celebrations around the world. When it comes your turn to select which Champagne to drink, do you know what style you prefer?
Before we explain the Champagne styles, let’s review the difference between sparkling wine and Champagne.
Sparkling wine can come from anywhere in the world, including Champagne. Most sparkling wines are made the traditional method, which means it spends some time fermenting in the bottle you open, or it is made in a tank or by carbonation. Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France and meet the region’s rules, which includes only being made by the traditional method.
If you want to learn more about sparkling wine, read Prime’s past article on “Affordable, Festive Sparkling Wine and Champagne” by Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis.
We’ve selected some great Champagnes you can buy to enjoy in every style.
White of white…in this case sparkling white wine made from the white wine grapes. Most are made from 100% Chardonnay.
Recommended for: Chardonnay and white wine lovers
A sparkling white wine made from black grapes of Pinot Noir and/or Meunier. How do they keep the wine from being red? They press the grapes gently, taking the pale juice off the skins as soon as possible before the grape skin can be in enough contact to make it a rose or dark color.
Recommended for: Pinot Noir and red wine lovers
Rosé Champagnes are mostly Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The pink color comes from Pinot Noir with some contact from the skins or a small amount of Pinot Noir added into each bottle before the second fermentation. Both methods result in beautiful rose color matched by their beautiful taste.
Recommended for: Chardonnay fans and pink celebrations
Growing grapes in Champagne can be a challenge with hail and frost occasionally damaging vineyards in one year. Champagne houses blend from multiple years to make their house style that tastes similar every year you taste it, and it is their largest produced wine.
Recommended for: Your everyday Champagne and less expensive celebrations
Major Champagne houses make single Vintage Champagne in extraordinary years with the year indicated on the bottle. In a decade, there may be only three or four years when a house makes a Vintage Champagne.
To match the great results in the vineyard, the wine will spend 21 months more time aging as non-vintage and may remind you of brioche. If you are looking for ways to celebrate an anniversary, business opening or birth of a child, Vintage Champagnes can be an excellent way to mark the occasion.
Recommended for: Full-bodied and savory wine lovers
We saved the best for last as the Prestige Cuvée is the highest quality of a Champagne house’s style. These Champagnes are made in limited quantities and some are made from single vineyards.
Seven of our favorite Prestige Cuvée Champagnes are: Champagne Krug, Grande Cuvée; Champagne Louis Roederer, Cristal; Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siècle; Champagne Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon; Champagne Pol Roger, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill; Champagne Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne; and Champagne Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame.
Recommended for: Champagne lovers, luxury presents and major celebrations
Whatever style you select, we hope you enjoy your celebration with Champagne!