8 part video series on the history of Champagne filmed in France


Common Champagne Questions and Answers


*Please hover over a thumbnail image to flip to the answer.



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What is a Rosé Champagne?
manyrosechampagneflutes
ANSWER: Rosé means Pink in French. Please know, most Rosé champagnes are not sweet – they are dry and pair great with food! Rosé champagnes actually range in color from light salmon to a deep reddish pink. Most are made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The skin of the ‘black” grape is left in contact longer with the must (the interior of the grape) during the time of pressing, which results in the ‘pink’ color. Rosé champagnes are simply gorgeous looking! And they taste delicious with salmon, duck, and lamb. Another method to make a Rosé champagne is to add a little pinot noir (still) wine to the champagne.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
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How can I make opening a champagne bottle easier?
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ANSWER: Champagne Pliers will make opening a bottle much easier!

My mom (75 years old) remarked to me that she sometimes has difficulty getting the cork out… Indeed, not everyone has strong hands to grip the bottle and cork at the same time when opening a bottle of champagne. These pliers pretty much offer a fool proof way to make it easy! They are specially made to strongly grip the cork and add leverage when twisting the bottle to remove it. Voilà! These make great gifts anytime of year too.
Metrokane makes a lovely champagne pliers.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
successionofchampagnes
When drinking a succession of champagnes, in what order should they be had?
successionofchampagnes
ANSWER: Non-vintage before vintage, younger before older, drier before sweeter.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
krugblancdenoir
What is a Blanc de Noirs?
krugblancdenoir
ANSWER: Blanc de Noirs means “white from black”, which literally reflects ‘white wine from black (dark) grapes’, typically they are 100% Pinot Noir, but may be a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Blanc de Noirs are usually a golden yellow color.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Roederer Demi-Sec
What is a Demi-Sec?
Roederer Demi-Sec
ANSWER: Demi-sec means sweet. After disgorging the sediment, from the 2nd fermentation in the bottle, there is a small space that is filled with the liquer d’expédition. This is composed of a similar wine and a little sugar (dosage). Demi-sec (sweet) champagnes go best with sweeter foods.

Ultra Brut or Brut Sauvage (very dry) no dosage at all. Brut (dry) 0-15 grams of dosage. Extra Brut (dry) 12-20 grams of dosage. Sec (slightly sweet) 17-35 grams of dosage. Demi-sec (sweet) 33-50 grams of dosage. Doux (very sweet) more than 50 grams of dosage.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Duvel-Leroy blanc de blancs
What is a Blanc de Blancs?
Duvel-Leroy blanc de blancs
ANSWER: Blanc de Blancs means “white from white”, which literally reflects ‘white wine from white grapes’, typically they are 100% Chardonnay. Blanc de blancs are the most light and most elegant of champagnes. They also age better and longer to bring out the full, rich complexity of the wine. They make an outstanding apéritif drink.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
NV Moet et Chandon
What is a NV Champagne? called sans Année in French
NV Moet et Chandon
ANSWER: NV means non-vintage. It is a blend coming from different years. You can think of it as multi-vintage. Since champagne is an agricultural product, dependent on nature, with only certain years having really great harvests, the houses cannot solely rely on Vintage champagnes, because they would go out of business. Thus, the Champagne Houses thrive by blending grapes from lesser quality vintages with grapes from better vintages to produce NV champagnes, or sans Année.

If you see a year listed on the label of NV champagne, it would be the year it was laid down and began aging in the cellar of the Champagne House, Mis en Cave. NV champagnes are produced every year, even in the best vintage years. By law, all champagne producers must set aside some wine each year for use in non-vintage champagne.

NV champagne is approximately 90% of all champagnes produced. In contrast, Vintage champagnes are made of grapes coming from one single year only. Each house decides for itself whether it will produce a Vintage champagne in any given year. Vintage champagne is produced typically every 2 to 3 years.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Egly-Ouriet Grower Champagne
What is a ‘Grower’ Champagne?
Egly-Ouriet Grower Champagne
ANSWER: In addition to the group of very large champagne houses, now a group of grape growers, Recoltant-Manipulants (listed as RM on a label), are producing champagne too. Grower champagnes typically are labeled Grand Cru with the name of the village the grapes come from. They are usually hand-created in small batches with the entire production taking place on their property. Grower champagnes are often a great value and of excellent, artisanal quality. There are over 250 Champagne houses and over 19,000 growers. The large champagne houses own about 12% of the vineyards but produce over 70% of sales. Now growers are getting into the market directly and are creating outstanding champagnes too!
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Franmara champagne stopper
If I don’t use the entire bottle of Champagne, how best can I save it?
Franmara champagne stopper
ANSWER: Non-vintage bottles that have been opened, but not finished, may be stored for a day or two in the fridge with a special champagne stopper. These stoppers are readily found and are inexpensive.

(Kristin Noelle Smith likes Franmara's champagne bottle stopper best, as it has a long seal to help hold the pressure in the bottle longer than many other stoppers on the market.)
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Sweet Asti
What is the best type of Champagne to serve with wedding cake and other sweet foods?
Sweet Asti
ANSWER: To achieve maximum pleasure, serve sweet wines with sweet foods. Thus, do not serve a Brut champagne with sugary desserts or wedding cake, as it will taste bitter and harsh, instead offer a Demi-Sec. This is the sweet type of champagne, but it is actually not that sweet. Depending how sugary the dessert or wedding cake is, it may be best to go with a sweet Asti or a sweet Prosecco.

See the Krug segment of Champagne Journal, in episode 7, for some excellent tips on which foods to best enjoy with Champagne and which to avoid. Also, see the end of episode 8 for what the French pair their champagnes with.

This being said, there is NOTHING that is more delicious and appropriate for weddings toasts as Champagne. Try a Blanc de Blancs for this toast to start the dining festivities!
More on the best champagnes to serve at weddings.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Comet on cork
Why is there a star on so many champagne labels and corks?
Comet on cork
ANSWER: The Star represents the comet of 1811. It was an outstanding vintage.

The Champagne makers view this star as a good luck symbol and pay homage to the comet vintage of 1811 by placing it on labels and corks. Look for it and remember the vintage year of the 1811 comet!
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Champagne in water and ice
Is there a quick way to chill a bottle of Champagne?
Champagne in water and ice
ANSWER: Yes, place (cover) the bottle in a bucket filled with ice and water for 15 minutes. Ice alone will not do the trick. Champagne is served best around 46 degrees Fahrenheit for the greatest possible effect of the carbonic gas, bouquet (aroma), and flavor.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Best Tulip Champagne stemware
What is the recommended stemware to use with Champagne?
Best Tulip Champagne stemware
ANSWER: This tulip shaped stemware.

Say "Yes" to the tulip! and "No" to the coupe champagne glass whose wide surface area allows the bubbles to escape quickly and the champagne to warm fast. The bouquet (aroma) is not as noticeable in a coupe either. Champagne needs the narrower opening of a tulip to concentrate and hold the delightful aroma. The coupe looks great in Hollywood movies, but it is not the best way to serve champagne.

We recommend staying away from colored stemware too, because you cannot see and enjoy the wine’s color and the bubbles. We have actually seen 100% black opaque stemware in the market, which is quite unappealing in our opinion.

*More on stemware
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Champagne bubbles
How long can I keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge?
Champagne bubbles
ANSWER: For any fine wine, it is not recommended to put it into the door of your fridge, as the constant movement (from the opening and shutting of the door) is not ideal. The bright light is not good either. You may store a bottle in the fridge for a day or two prior to serving.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal
Champagne at night
How long can I store Champagne? And how best to do it?
Champagne at night
ANSWER: Always store champagne on its side in a cool, dark place at about 50 to 60 degrees F. The cooler the storage temp, the slower the maturation of the wine. The crayéres in Champagne are naturally 50 degrees F (see our visit to the Pommery Caves for further explanation, Episode 6). Never store champagne in the fridge long-term, as it will wear the wine out (you may keep it in the fridge for a couple days max). The bright lights in the fridge and constant movement are not good for wines.

Non-vintage bottles that have been opened, but not finished, may be stored for a day or two in the fridge with a special champagne stopper. These stoppers are readily found and are inexpensive. As a general rule of thumb, store non-vintage bottles for a year or two after purchase, because this aging can give it added complexity. Vintage champagnes are sold ready to drink and have been aged in France before released onto the market. To reach their fullest splendor however, a few more years in the bottle is most helpful, some may benefit from 10 to 15 years aging from the Vintage date.
Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal

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Champagne Journal
Champagne Journal

Total series runtime is 03:37:04. We so hope you enjoy this educational program. Please drink champagne responsibly.
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