I’ve loved writing about my favorite champagnes over the years, my knowledge on the product has just grown immensely over time. However, I know for many there can be challenges in knowing how to buy great champagne that you’ll love. In the digital era, it is common to purchase online instead of trying products firsthand. No need to worry. Follow along as I give you some of my tips and tricks for How To Buy Champagne Like A Pro through my own experiences.
Understand what it means to be a Champagne Sparkling Wine
Basically, if it’s not produced in Champagne it’s NOT Champagne Wine. Many use the term “Champagne” for wines it doesn’t apply to such as Sparkling Wines from California, read my Favorite California Sparkling Wines post here or Sparkling Wines from Franciacorta Italy (read about my favorite Franciacorta Wineries here). Both of these examples are Sparkling Wines, not Champagne so be careful when you say the word Champagne you’re only referring to wines produced in Champagne, France.
Become Familiar with Champagne Regions
There can be a lot of texture, richness, and bright tastes depending on the region. Of course, France is known for their signature taste combining the coastal and rural temperatures of the location.
Views of Billecart-Salmon’s Vineyards. I had the pleasure of visiting Billecart-Salmon during my first trip to Champagne and sat down to interview their Winemaker Florent Nys and CEO Mathieu Billecart Salmon. Watch that interview below
Many people often don’t realize the actual location of where the wines and champagnes they purchase are actually made. Each bottle notes where the wine is produced, and where the product is bottled. Some French-labeled wines may have actually been produced in Spain and just bottled in France. Be sure to check the labels so you know what you’re buying!
I was able to visit the beautiful Reims, France, the heart of Champagne. It was an amazing experience where I got to visit the Maisons of my favorite Champagnes and meet some of my favorite Winemakers. I had the privilege of interviewing Winemakers from Ruinart & Veuve Clicquot. Watch those interviews below….
All smiles at Maison Louis Roederer in Reims, France. Read about my visit to Maison Louis Roederer here.
Read more about the Best Champagne Houses in Reims, France on my blog here.
Sometimes it’s Good to Look Past the Names
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Krug and many of the well known iconic brands which I’ve been extremely fortunate to visit in Champagne. Read about my Visit to the Spectacular Maison Dom Perignon and The Fabulous Maison Krug Cellar here. However, there are so many smaller growers with delicious champagnes to also consider which are equally as comparable in quality. I am not saying you shouldn’t go for the luxurious popular brands, but perhaps you have a champagne grower near you.
I was able to attend the Grand Champagne Tasting at Arlequin Wine Merchant where I was able to taste from local growers in my area. Read all about the Small Grower Champagne Tasting at Arlequin Wine Merchant here.
This Egly-Ouriet V.P. was one of my favorite wines of the tasting. My tasting notes described it is extremely rich, creamy and GLORIOUS!
Read more on my blog to learn about The Best Champagnes From Local Growers.
What is the difference in Champagne Styles?
What is a Blanc De Blanc?
Meaning, ‘White from Whites, where the champagne is made exclusively from white grapes, typically Chardonnay. Blanc de Blanc carries all the flavors of the ripe Chardonnay, but also expresses the origin and soil. There is an elegance and power in the mineral freshness that comes from Blanc de Blanc Champagnes.
What is a Brut?
Brut Champagne has a more dry and unrefined taste rather than the sweeter tasting other champagnes have. Brut Champagne may have hints of floral, fruity, or almond notes, but it will be less perceptible than other types of Champagne, as it’s less sweet.
What is a Rosê?
A Sparkling Rosé Wine is made of red wine grapes. Depending on the house there are various Rosé of Champagne styles so some will be lighter in color (a soft pink or peach) and some you’ll find will be darker in color. The colors are a reflection of how the winemaker made the wines, how long the skins fermented and various other elements of the winemaking practices.
There Really is a Champagne for Everyone
Do you want it white (aka a Blanc de Blanc or a Brut) or pink (aka Rosé)? Crisp, dry or fruity? There are options for everyone’s preferences, and if you like them all, try them all. It’s important to try as many as you can throughout this process to see what fits your style best. Always read the descriptions for every bottle so you know what type of Champagne you’re purchasing.
Take a look at my visit to the Ruinart Maison on my blog here.
Thinking about purchasing Rosé Champagnes? Take a look at The Best Rosé Champagne Wines That I Adore on my blog here.