Champagne is a type of sparkling, or carbonated wine—wine with bubbles, in other words. In fact it’s probably the most well-known type sparkling wine in the entire world. While many “sparkling wines” are referred to as champagne, only those that come from the Champagne region of France are recognized to be authentic. Champagnes are made using the Méthode Champenoise—or “the Champagne method,” which requires a second fermentation in the bottle itself. This is achieved when a mixture of sugar and yeast is added to still wine. Afterwards, the wine is bottled and capped; allowing for the yeast to act on the sugar, resulting in the release of carbon dioxide which then becomes trapped in the bottle. While fermentation time varies, very expensive, high quality sparkling wines can be stored for months, even years. The cap is eventually removed and replaced with a more traditional cork and wire cage. Generally speaking, only three grapes are used in true Champagne—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Yes, France is the only place to get authentic Champagne made in the Champagne region, here in the States you can find sparkling wine made using this traditional method, in fact California it the top producer in the United States. In fact, a good number of California-based wineries are owned and run by Champagne houses, lending a certain credibility and authenticity to those particular brands. Other top producers in the States include Mexico and Oregon. You can certainly find sparkling wine made in this fashion internationally, from countries like Australia, South America and South Africa, Spain and Italy actually have their own regional sparkling wines—Cava and Prosecco, respectively. Whether you’re looking for a gift, or the perfect party accessory—Fine Wine Online has a terrific selection of champagnes to choose from, available at different price points, both by the bottle and by the case. Be sure to browse our entire selection of sparkling wines, including Prosecco, Moscato and more. Contact us for special requests and we will do our best to find what you’re looking for.