Whether looking to impress that special someone or simply seeking out a high quality Champagne for a celebration or get-together, it is always advised to bear a few of the basic in mind in order to ensure a wise investment is made.
Connoisseurs of all alcoholic drinks may spend their entire lifetimes learning about every detail of their favorite drink. A Whisky expert, for example, could probably write a thesis on the subtleties between a $460,000 bottle of ‘Macallan 64 Year in Lalique‘ or a simple bottle of ‘Johnny Walker’.
It can certainly prove a little tricky to pick out the very highest quality Champagne given the number of possibilities on the market, so let’s take a brief look at some of the element and qualities to look for in order to source Champagne that is sure to fit the bill every time.
One of the most common misconceptions regarding champagne is that the price is the sole factor in relation to determining the quality of the contents. While such should certainly be factored in, it is by far the only consideration to make.
Furthermore, there are thousands of examples of beverages sold as Champagne that are indeed anything but, therefore how to recognize the difference between sparkling wine and Champagne in the first place? Is it one of the Top Brands?
All true Champagne originates from the French wine-making region which bears the same name…it really is as simple as that. As such, any other wine, regardless of quality, price, prestige and so on, can never truly be classified as Champagne. The method of differentiating between real and fraudulent Champagne is therefore as simple as checking exactly where it was produced.
Referring back to the issue of price, higher costs are certainly more likely to offer the chance of a high quality of Champagne, but shouldn’t be relied on as the only deciding factor. The only real consideration that should be made price-wise is regarding the options that appear almost too cheap to believe.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Champagne making process is long, complex and extremely involved, which results in the relatively high purchase price of the finished product. As such, examples made available for little more than a few dollars are either not true Champagne, or have been produced using rather questionable ingredients and techniques.
There is no requirement to spend a fortune, but bear in mind that high quality Champagne at bargain prices simply does not exist!
Another element to factor into the decision making process is that of grape varieties used. Now, in this instance, the decision comes as much down to personal preference as anything else, as there are a number of grape varieties used, each with its own unique characteristics, therefore there really is no better or worse choice, so to speak.
However, those at the very top of the industry view the blending of grape varieties to produce champagne something of a second-class option, producing non-vintage Champagne loved by millions though frowned on by some.
For the very best, seek out a vintage, which will be comprised of a single grape variety from a single harvest having been designated as high enough quality for Champagne in its own right.
The only other consideration to bear in mind would be that of Champagne house to opt for, though again such pertains as much to personal preference as anything else. Traditional names such as Bollinger and Krug continue to fly the flag for the industry just as they always have, though new and equally reputable producers are coming to be with each and every year that passes.
So, in summary, looking for a high quality bottle of Champagne really is no more difficult than bearing in mind a sensible price, a reputable brand, the grape varieties used for production and…most importantly of all…the verification that the product in question is indeed Champagne in the first place! Keep all of these thoughts in mind and there is very little else of concern.
Interesting Fact: Mis en Bouteille dans nos Caves and Mis en Bouteille dans nos Chais mean “bottled in our cellars”, This usually suggests that the grapes have been grown somewhere else. The wine is therefore probably not the higher quality of one that is estate bottled.
Read more in the book “The Champagne Guide: The Definitive Guide to Champagne“