What is Champagne?
Champagne is an iconic word in the lexicon of wine. Yes, it is the name of a specific region. However, it also evokes celebration, opulence, and imagery around the globe. Revered as it is, Champagne is also one of the world’s most misunderstood bottles. There are very specific geographic and production guidelines that inform what can and cannot be called Champagne, or more specifically what is Champagne and what most certainly is not.
Learn The Political and Wine-Centric History of Champagne
In this lecture, we will quickly survey the political and wine-centric history of Champagne as a place and then discuss its position in the world today. We’ll then look at Champagne as a bottle to consume, examining some of the most lauded labels, as well as up-and-coming and lesser-known producers. We’ll discuss what food pairings and occasions sommeliers use Champagne for today and compare it to some other famous sparkling wines. Finally, we will look at some favorite bottles of Champagne and why they are so exciting.
Recommended Reading about the History of Champagne:
- But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World’s Favorite Wine, by David White
- The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know, by Jon Bonné
- Exploring Wine: Completely Revised 3rd Edition, by Steven Kolpan, Brian H Smith, et al.
Discussion Questions from the History of Champagne:
- When do you generally think about drinking champagne? Do you save it for special occasions, and if so… why?
- Champagne is undoubtedly French. Why is it that we so often use the word to describe any sparkling wine?
- Do you like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Would it surprise you that these are the two primary grapes used in Champagne production?