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Champagne

Many people don’t realise that Champagne is a wine, a sparkling variety created only in the Champagne region of France.  Other wines have tried to emulate the taste of this drink, and many will call them “champagne”, as if it is a generic name, but this is completely incorrect.  There are three main issues that deal with Champagne: assemblage (blending), climate and grapes.  Let’s explore.

Assemblage
In order to create a Champagne wine, the assemblage is one of the most important factors.  This is the synthesis of all the steps needed to create a wine, expressing a truly irreversible choice.  Various base wines are blended to create the highest quality we know Champagne offers us.  A clear case of the total being greater than the sum of its parts.  This is known as the “cuvee”.

Climate
There are various natural factors at play that are important to Champagne wines.  The artistry and skill of the professionals are very important, but so is the climate.  This includes the Terroir (the soil) or the region, the grape varieties and the weather.  The climate depends on the geographic area or the cru in which they are situated.  However, they all are within the Champagne region.  The climate here varies from oceanic to continental, has borderline cold temperatures and limited hours of sunshine.  There are dangers of frost, which are detrimental to the wines as well.

The Grapes
Three grapes are used in the production of Champagne wines, being:

    Chardonnay
    Pinot Noir
    Pinot Meunier

    This is done so that the producers can protect themselves somewhat from the vagaries of nature.  Each year, they reserve a number of wines, which they then blend together to complement each other.  This is what guarantees a certain character, style, body or taste.  Another addition to the variety is that there are many different grapes.  Today, three of these are grown exclusively for Champagne wines, meaning these grapes cannot be tasted in any other wine from anywhere in the world.

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