Champagne; the place and the wine!

By Marc Malouf - @WineWorthWritingAbout

The season of celebrations calls for a spotlight on the most celebratory and prestigious region in the world for sparkling wine🍾

Champagne is a region in northeastern France that is famous for making the world’s greatest sparkling wine using Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes.

Fun fact: only sparkling wines made in this region of France can be called Champagne. No other sparkling wine in the world can use that name, by law!

So what makes the wines from Champagne so amazing? Well, along with some impeccable wine making, there’s a bit of magic that happens within the region itself...something we can define as terroir. Champagne's soils, its climate, location and ecology combine to give the wines a uniqueness that is true to place, or terroir.

Chalk soils give the fruit freshness, delicacy, minerality and raciness of acidity, while the climate and average temperatures allows for long, slow ripening which builds richness and complexity within the fruit itself. The rest of the magic happens in the hands and minds of the exceptional winemakers who have perfected their own special recipes over centuries.

There are more than 15,000 growers in Champagne. Some of these growers not only grow the grapes but also make exceptional expressions of Champagne themselves, however, the rise to fame for these delicious bottles of bubbles has come from the exportation of bulk made wines from the “Houses” who buy fruit from the growers and make huge quantities of Champagne that traverse the world. Think Cristal, Taittinger, Moet & Chandon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon...

Let’s not beat around the bush, good Champagne is expensive, but if you don’t mind where your sparkling wine comes from, then you’re in for a treat! In Australia, we have some really, really good Sparkling wine and are pioneering with bubbles! Cooler wine regions like the Macedon Ranges, Gippsland, Tasmania, Piccadilly Valley, parts of the Yarra and Adelaide Hills are all making beautiful sparkling wines. They are generous with fruit, but retain the natural acidity and minerality that one expects from a serious Champagne.

There is also one special sparkling wine made famous the world over and it comes from a place you’d probably not expect…the Barossa!

It’s the Rockford Sparkling Shiraz and it is, without exaggeration, the benchmark example of sparkling shiraz in the world! If you haven’t tried this yet, you are missing out but be quick as these disappear quicker than you’ll believe.

So, for your next celebration, pop a cork and pour some joy, in the form of bubbles and for those that love Champagne, don’t be scared to try something closer to home because I promise you, you will not be disappointed! Cheers.