California Champagne, Is there such thing?

Domaine Carneros Taittinger 2009The name Champagne has become synonymous with the refreshing bubbly that we all come to love.  A celebration wouldn’t be complete without that magical pop followed by delicious taste of very expensive grape juice.  The alternative would be “California Champagne”, it tastes great with the same celebratory spirit and with a lot less dent in the wallet.  But is there such thing as “California Champagne”?

No, there is not!

While we’re on the topic, there is no such thing as Spanish Champagne, Italian Champagne, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.  There is only French Champagne.  Not all sparkling wines are Champagne and even not all French sparkling wines are Champagne.  To be labeled as Champagne, sparkling wines must be made by the Traditional Method from the town of Champagne, France. For everything else bubbly, they are technically just sparkling wines.  The same concept applies to Cognac, it is a brandy that comes from the town Cognac in France.Joseph Perrier Champagne 2

This is a law strictly enforced by the governing body of French Wine Industry and by many of the European countries, Old World Wine regions.  However, that is not the case for New World wine regions.  For better marketing, many sparkling wines have been labeled “Champagne” although they were not made with the Traditional Method nor have come from the Champagne region in France.   Meanwhile, there are larger producers who out of respect for Champagne name their bubbly: Sparkling wines.

So next time you pop a bottle of bubbly, remember it is not champagne unless it is made from Champagne, France with the Traditional Method.  Well, no-one would mind if you mistakenly call something Champagne; they wouldn’t want to correct you since they still want you to share them a glass of it.



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