In 1668, Dom Pérignon is said to have discovered how to make sparkling wine; today his technique is used the world over. France’s most northerly wine region, Champagne is now home to 15,000 growers and 290 ‘houses’. A blend of grape varieties is usually required: white Chardonnay to add fruit and elegance, and two reds – Pinot Noir and Meunier – to provide body and backbone. Most Champagnes are non-vintage where a minimum of one and a half years ageing is required. In years where there is an outstanding harvest Champagne houses may ‘declare’ the vintage (millesimé) using only grapes from that particular year – three years maturation is required for these wines.
Sparkling Wine, more than just Champagne