Did you know that today is World Champagne Day?

Yes, today people all over the world are  filling Champagne flutes, toasting, and tweeting all about the experience using the hashtag #ChampagneDay on Twitter and posting pics on Facebook, Instagram or whatever their social media channel of choice. (You do follow VineSleuth on Twitter and like me on Facebook don’t you?)

Whether you are into social media or not, you cannot let an official excuse to drink and celebrate Champagne like that pass you by… especially on a Friday. I’m here to help.

First, a few fun facts:

How is Champagne made?

The only sparkling wines that can be officially called Champagne are those which are grown and created within the Champagne region of France (in NE France) and produced using a method of secondary fermentation in the bottles, which causes those lovely bubbles.

Grapes that typically go in to making Champagne include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, but other grapes varieties can also be used.

These types of grapes often go into making other sparkling wines, too. Note: These are called sparkling wines, sparklers, bubbles…. and all sorts of other titles, but not champagne. (Remember? Champagne only comes from Champagne.)

Other sparkling wines which are made the same way as Champagne are labeled method champénoise. You can find a lot of delicious sparkling wines made in that method right here in the USA, as well as other countries all over the world.

Prosecco, a popular sparkler from Italy, is often made using the Charmat process, which is a much less expensive process where the second fermentation takes place in steel tanks, rather than in the individual bottles. (There’s more to what makes Prosecco Prosecco, but we’ll go into that a different day.) Cava from Spain is often made the same way.

A third, even less expensive way bubbles can be made, is by injecting carbon dioxide into the wine.

But remember, those last two methods are not used in true Champagne.

Champagne and sparkling wines both can be made in any of the following styles:

  • Blanc de Blancs, wine made entirely of white grapes
  • Blanc de Noir, light wine made from the juice of dark grapes
  • Rosé, wine made by blending in red wine or allowing the wine to stay in contact with red grape skins

Sparkling wines are often labeled by sweetness level. These terms describe the wine from the driest to the sweetest:

  • Brut or Sauvage
  • Extra Dry
  • Demi-Sec
  • Doux

I particularly enjoy Brut Champagne. Here are two of my moderately-priced favorites that you might like to try (and I hope to enjoy today): Each costs around $40 retail.

  • Cordon Rouge, from G.H. Mumm
  • Piper-Heidsieck

Just because I like these Champagnes, you might like others, so don’t just take my word for it… Gather a few bottles to taste and see what YOU like. (I doubt the research will be painful at all, unless you get too enthusiastic.)

So what can you eat with Champagne?

I think a better question to ask is ‘what can’t you eat with Champagne?’ It is a perfect food wine, as it goes with so much!

One of my favorite nibbles to pair with Champagne, though, is toasted baguette, Brie, Prosciutto and fig jam. Slice the baguette and toast the individual pieces, then serve them in a basket alongside the other ingredients, allowing everyone to build their own bites.

So… will you celebrate #ChampagneDay with me today? Tweet me @VineSleuth and let me know what you’re drinking!

CHEERS! Or, I guess I should say SANTE!

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