Champagne is basically sparkling wine. It is not uncommon to see the term Champagne used as a generic term for sparkling wine. The product Champagne is a sparkling wine but can only be legally labeled as Champagne if produced in the Champagne region of France. The EU law requires this sparkling wine to be Champagne if it is produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand a secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create the characteristic carbonation, very specific vineyard practices, a selection of grapes exclusively from specific parcels in the Champagne appellation including the grapes Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are
used in the production of almost all Champagne, with specific wine pressing regiments unique to the Champagne region.
The Champagne winemaking community has developed a comprehensive set of rules and regulations for all wine produced in the region to protect its economic interests. They include defining and classifying the most suitable growing places, the most suitable grape types and a lengthy set of requirements specifying most aspects of viticulture. The various aspects of viticulture include pruning, vineyard yield, procedures for standard pruning, the degree of pressing, and the time that wine must remain on its lees before bottling. The rules also include economic drivers that can limit the release of Champagne to the market to maintain competitive pricing It can also limit the release of Champagne to market to maintain prices. Only when a wine meets these requirements and rules set forth by INAO ( Institut national de l’origine et de l a qualité) may it be labeled Champagne. The INAO is the government organization that controls all wine appellation in France.
Considering the demanding parameters for rare Champagnes it is no surprise that Champagne is an exceptional beverage. Brisk, sweet and dry this beverage is an extraordinary experience for the wine connoisseur. Below is a selection of fine and rare Champagnes for your pleasure. Please let us know your thoughts in ‘comments’ .
Dom Perignon 2005 Rose Champagne
Dom Pérignon Rosé demonstrates a strong influence of Pinot Noir but is a balance of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This Champagne has received
great reviews including 95 points from Antonio Galloni. Dom Pérignon Rosé is brisk and refreshing with hints of blood orange, mint, sage and dried flower. A simply beautiful Champagne experience. Give this a try and let me know in the comments.
Beau Joie Brut NV Champagne
Beau Joie is first-class Champagne produced by Bertrand Senecourt. This selection was awarded Double Gold and Class Champion in the Houston Rodeo Wine Competition. This Champagne is important in regards to that it is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay sourced from prime vineyards in Epernay. This Brut Champagne has an excellent balance of sweetness and dryness giving a blend of perfect flavors.
Ayala, founded in 1860 is one of the original Grand Marque Champagne houses and located in the historic village of Ay. Ayala is essentially a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Menieur and has a fruity style with fruit flavors that are well balanced with secondary hints of almonds, green berries but not acidity. The Wine Spectator has scored it 92 points and made it a top 100 selection. Wine Enthusiast scored it 91 points saying “A beautifully balanced non-vintage, in the lighter style that is Ayala’s hallmark style.
Moet Reserve Imperial Brut NV Champagne
This Champagne is thought to be the most famous and one of the most popular Champagnes in the world, Moet Brut Reserve Imperial is a
gold standard wine that never disappoints. Tasting Panel Magazine scored this 92 points. It has citrus tones that shows hints of white flowers, minerals, brioche and is slightly acidic.
Originally produced in 1809 for Tsar Alexander II of Russia, 200 years later it is still the ultimate Champagne; an icon of luxury, style, and taste.
The 2008 was outstanding, receiving a 98+ score by Antonio Galloni. Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored it a perfect 100 points. The composition is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
The flavors resonate for apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. These rare Champagnes demonstrate some aspects of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. This is considered the best drink of 2008.
Veuve Clicquot 2008 Grand Dame Champagne with Carousel Gift Box
This Champagne was launched in 1972 to celebrate the bicentenary of the House, La Grande Dame. The 2008 vintage in Champagne has been
widely recognized and this wine received a 95 point score for Wine Spectator. An elegant Champagne with refined flavors of black currant, lemon curd, toast and marzipan and hints of spice and smoke.
This Champagne is one the most popular Champagnes in the world, Veuve Clicquot is consistently first-rate and is currently scoring 90 points. It has hints of biscuit and toast with lightly honeyed flavors of apple blossom, peach and quince with a smokey tinged finish.
Krug is considered the ultimate luxury champagne. The Grand Cuveé is a blend of wines going back 20 years that retains the bold, distinctive
style with every new release scoring multiple 95+ point reviews, This fine Champagne with all the wines in production are barrel fermented adding complexity and depth. The beverage offers aromatic hints of toast and vanilla ground coffee and mandarin orange peel flavors as well as anise and cardamom spice notes unraveling on the palate. This is the essential definition of rare Champagnes.