The term ‘Champagne’ legally refers exclusively to wines from the most northerly of the French wine regions, Champagne, where it has been produced for over 350 years. The main area of production is in the Marne Valley near Reims, and south from Epernay along the Cote de Blanc. Champagne is made from 3 grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It can be a combination of these unless stated as Blanc de Blanc (white grapes only) or Blanc de Noir (red grapes only). All Champagne is made using a process known as ‘Methode Traditionelle’, this is where a secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. However, not all Champagne is the same, the different types and styles of Champagne are influenced by the grapes that are used, where they were grown, how it was made and the level of sweetness.
Chardonnay, the leading white grape, is made in to wines at all levels from the simple fruity quaffer through to more robust, complex wines.
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