Champagne Tasting – What to Look For


When tasting, you will come across various colors in Champagne. The color can tell you something about the age and the grape varieties used.

The terms used are:

  • pale gold
  • greenish gold
  • white gold
  • straw yellow
  • golden yellow
  • old gold
  • tar pink
  • salmon pink (Rosé)
  • deep pink (Rosé)

Older Champagne are often somewhat darker than young Champagnes. Young Chardonnay (BdB) Champagnes are often pale gold or greenish gold in color. Tar Pink is a color that you encounter with an old Champagne and / or a Champagne in which a lot of red grapes (and often those from the second pressing)

Champagne is bubbling. Every Champagne sparkles differently. I don’t want to go so far as to tell you which champagne it is from the way it is bubbling, but here too it is an indication.

The terms used are:

  • bright
  • sparkling
  • satin-finished

If the Champagne is clear, it is often a young Champagne (or one has simply filtered well), sparkling (young) and satin (old) also says something about its age.

Read more in the book “Christie’s Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine

You can see from the bubbles in a Champagne which method has been used and / whether the Champagne is older or younger:

The terms used are:

  • nice
  • lively
  • luscious
  • slow

It used to be the case that a sparkling wine almost by definition had larger bubbles than Champagne, but this said more about the production method (Cuvee Close of Carbonage) than about the product itself. Nowadays many sparkling wines are made in exactly the same way as Champagne and the size of the bubbles does not mean that it is definitely a Champagne.