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Fine & Rare

The world’s finest sparkling wine

Champagne is the world’s ultimate celebratory wine

By law, Champagne can be made only in the Champagne region of France, comprising the main towns of Reims and Epernay. No other sparkling wine can be labelled as Champagne.

The dominant chalk of the region is punctuated by limestone proper in the southernmost zone and areas of heavier clay throughout, giving real variances of terroir among Champagne’s sites. This being as it may, Champagne is the world’s finest sparkling wine because it is largely a blended wine of many parts, transcending any single factor’s influence.

For a host of exciting alternatives, grower Champagnes are typically sourced from a single vineyard or sub-appellation to express their special site. These wines are full of personality – look for RM (Récoltant-Manipulant) on the label.

Vintage or non-vintage?

Stylistically, non-vintage wines, known as NV, tend to be fresher, lighter and ready for enjoyment on release, whereas vintage Champagne is traditionally richer and more complex. At least 85 per cent of the fruit in vintage Champagne must come from the year listed on the bottle and these wines are made only in the very best years.

A lifetime of luxury

Champagne may be a single region, but it’s been making the most renowned sparkling wines for centuries. When it comes to luxury Champagne, none can match the shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck. In 1916, a boat carrying wine was sunk by a German U-boat, and when divers visited the wreck in 1997, they found bottles intact and drinkable. It turns out that 60 metres underwater is an ideal place to let Champagne sit for 80 years! Each sold at auction for over $315,000.

Famous Houses

Many of the producers in the world’s most famous region for sparkling wine are household names, such as perennial favourite Moët et Chandon; the sturdy Bollinger; the luxe cuvées from Krug, Taittinger, Louis Roederer, Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, Piper-Heidsieck and Dom Pérignon.

Rosé Champagne

The bright pinkish colour of rosé is thanks to the extra pinot noir grapes used in the winemaking process. While most Champagnes already use the juice from red grapes, here the juice is kept in contact with the dark grape skin – the trick is to keep them together for just the right amount of time. Too long and the juice will be too dark; not long enough and the juice will be too light; not long enough and the juice won’t get any flavour from the skins.

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