Champagne and Sparkling Wine, are they the same?
These are some truths about sparkling wine:
Did you know that all wine is loaded with bubbles before it is ready to drink? When grape juice is vinified, converting the grape sugar into alcohol, the result is a volatile chemical reaction producing natural CO2. This process happens when the grape’s natural sugar combines with natural yeast that lives on the grape skins.
What makes France’s region of Champagne so ideal for growing its three main grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Pinot Meunier is the limestone subsoil including a composite of chalk, sandstone, and marls and the cool climate. The fermented wine is produced from a blend or cuveé of all or any of these varieties. Because of the nature of the soil, the wine shows a lovely, crisp minerality for which the region is most proud.
Back to the making of the wine, before the fermentation is complete, the juice is bottled. With the help of a slight tirage – an inoculation of a natural sugar/yeast liquid solution to continue the fermentation within the bottle. This is referred to as a second fermentation, trapping bubbles in the wine. This natural process is called Méthode Champenoise – the authentic method of making Champagne/sparkling wine. Sparkling wine may be produced anywhere else in the world, by the same method, even the same type of grapes, but it may not be labeled Champagne. Therefore, Champagne is sparkling wine. But not all sparkling wine is Champagne.
Champagne houses have their own curated style. The house of Jacquart, known for its award-winning Brut Mosaïque, greets your nose with honeysuckled scents and layers of peaches, pears, and candied lemons. The bubbles release yeasty aromas and greet the palate with a creamy feel. The wine is medium-bodied, with luscious layers of fruit. Like most Champagne houses, Jacquart has other lovely offerings like their salmon-colored Mosaïque Rosé, Chouilly Grand Cru vintage Blanc de Blancs that is held for five years to mature and develop into what is considered their jewel.
Jacquart is located in Reims, the epicenter of Champagne. Another premier Champagne house located in the same city, is Chateau Montaudon. Pinot Noir is their signature grape variety. Look out for their Brut Grande Rosé an absolutely delightful blend of strawberry, yeasty scents and light clean flavors to tingle your palate.
Don’t save Champagne for a special occasion, it goes well with any food. Beyond an aperitif, fuller flavored foods, bring out the freshness and fruit flavors of Champagne turning an average meal into a celebration! Cheers!