December 2007

Wine Talk: December 2007

Author: Krissy Cantelupe

We are what we drink, or so the stereotypes would have us believe. Traditionally, Champagne drinkers were thought to be snobby and rich. But according to a modern “wine horoscope,” circulated via Internet, titled, “What Your Taste in Wine Says about You,” Champagne drinkers are about grabbing life for the living and taking what is theirs. A bit manic and prone to over-committing socially, their energy and enthusiasm is infectious and a little exhausting. This sounds exactly like the holiday season: the perfect time for Champagne.

“All Champagne is sparkling, but not all sparkling is Champagne” is a statement to remember if you are looking for true French Champagne. There is an area north of Burgundy, known as Champagne, including the towns of Rheims, Ay and Epernay, which is where the first Champagnes were made. This area has a cool growing region, perfect for the three grape varieties used in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

There are several different styles of Champagne, using one, two, or all three of the grape varieties, including:

Blanc de Blanc: Made exclusively from the Chardonnay grape
Blanc de Noir: Made exclusively from the Pinot Noir and/or the Pinot Meunier
Rose Champagne: Made by adding a small amount of red wine to the blend, or by letting the juice remain in contact longer with the skin of the grapes for a short time during fermentation.
Prestige Cuvees: The best house style, for example Roederer’s Cristal and Moet & Chandon’s Dom Perignon

French Champagne may be more expensive than some of the domestic or Australian sparklers, but it is well worth it. The taste is more full-bodied, with tinier bubbles that tingle all over your tongue. I believe you should drink it no matter what the occasion. Again according to the official wine horoscope, if you are a Champagne drinker, your most likely hangout is anywhere large enough to fit all 20 of the friends you invited to join you for a “quiet drink.”

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