fresh, precise, and sparkling

What is considered champagne?

Sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France, which is just outside of Paris.  Champagne appellation law allows only grapes grown according to appellation rules in specifically designated plots within the appellation to be used in the production of champagne.  Translation – everything else is just sparkling wine.  Further, champagne can only be made using white Chardonnay and black  Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. So, it’s like, totally blended, baby.

Where do the Bubbles come from?:  Sparkling wine is made by taking the simple formula for fermentation (sugar + yeast = alcohol and CO2), and not allowing the resulting gas to escape. When you ferment wine in a closed or sealed environment, the carbon dioxide (CO2) returns into the wine, only to be released in the form of tiny bubbles after opening.

Origins:  The story of how this all started is attributed to the monk Dom Perignon (1638-1715), but in reality it was probably discovered slowly over time by many monks in the Champagne region.  Still, Dom was a real dude. Cool!

Producers of Sparkling Wine:  Austria, Germany, Italy and  Spain  have been long time sparkling wine producers.  Recently, Tazmania, Argentina, Australia, and of course the U.S. have followed suit.  Here is Traverse City, sparkling wine is can be found at two primary wineyards  – Mawby and Chateau Chantel.

Three Hallmarks of a Good Sparkler:

  • Fresh: Bright and alive in your mouth, fruity but not necessarily sweet.
  • Precise: On the tongue, the wine should feel direct and penetrating. Precision is more about the acid, which is mandatory for good sparkling wines.
  • Sparkling: Small bubbles are a sign of high-quality wine.
Here are the world’s 10’s most expensive champagnes ever.
  • #5 Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold – $2,467. …
  • #4 Boërl & Kroff Brut – $2,489. …
  • #3 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay – $2,701. …
  • #2 Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon Charles & Diana 1961 – $4,309. …
  • #1 Goût de Diamants, Taste of Diamonds – $2.07 million

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of champagne. For a treat, I’d much rather have a nice dessert and coffee.  Besides, there’s definitely better ways to spend $2.07 million dollars. Since, I’m quite the alcoholic novice, these little blurbs about various spirits are fun and educational to present.  I’m pretty sure there are other vineyards here in Traverse that produce this libation.  I highlighted Mawby because sparkling wine is their specialty. And, Chateau Chantel is considered a Traverse City ‘destination’.

I was going to be cliche and close with Taylor Swift’s New Years Day.   That would be appropriate, of course.  Rarely, am I ever appropriate, though.  Instead, I default to Blackbear.  His rendition of a vocal lesson basic would make Julie Andrews blush.   Come to think of it, the song is somewhat appropriate.  The chorus summarizes my sentiment toward 2017.

Happy 2018!

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