Sparkling wines are popular among the younger generations, but everyone recognizes how champagne reigns supreme as a universal symbol of elegance and influence.
- Quick Facts about Sparkling Wine and Champagne
- Champagne Facts by Brand
Quick Facts about Sparkling Wine and Champagne
Le Grand Courtage words it perfectly—“All Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne.”
As we all know, the region of Champagne, France is home to its eponymous beverage.
There’s a reason why Italian sparkling white wine is called “Prosecco” and Spanish sparking white wine goes by “Cava”—these sparking wines are also protected under their own regional standards, but they are separate from French champagne.
Every wine is influenced by its respective “terroir,” or territory—and that’s what makes each wine distinct. There are many elements that compose terroir, but soil, climate, and topography play major roles.
Although there are other sparkling white wines made elsewhere, they only qualify as “champagne” if they are made within the proper French province, as well as meet all of the standards set by the AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée).
According to Comité Champagne, there are 319 villages in the Champagne region, known as “crus.”
Reims, the capital of Champagne, played a central role in French history as the city for the country’s coronation ceremonies since the 11th century.
Champagne Facts by Brand
Here are some quick facts about the popular, most frequently name-dropped champagne houses:
The relationship between the French champagne house and Britain goes back to 1858 when Joseph Bollinger met Ludwig Mentzendorff, a wine shipper based in London. Their friendship left a strong legacy for Brits to keep loving “Bollie” over time—it’s even favorited by James Bond.
In 1798, Founder Philippe Clicquot chose the anchor—a symbol of hope rigour—to brand his corks and to distinguish his champagne from the rest. Other symbols used to distinguish Veuve Clicquot include the comet and its ubiquitous yellow label.
Moët & Chandon
Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of “The Sun King,” Louis XIV, did her part for Moët & Chandon by drinking the champagne in royal court. One of her more famous quotes, inspired by her favorite drink:
“Champagne is the only wine in the world that makes every woman beautiful.”
Moet & Chandon is made in France, but they have an American sister brand—Chandon produces wines in Napa Valley, California.
The House of Taittinger didn’t exist until 1932—Officer Pierre Taittinger came upon a chateau in the Champagne region when he was injured during World War I and vowed to return and buy the property if it ever became available for sale. Before Taittinger’s takeover, it was known as Forest-Fourneaux and run by a wealthy textile merchant and Benedictine monks.
Marilyn Monroe’s favorite champagne, Vinepair reports that she was known to keep a month’s supply of Piper-Heidsieck in her kitchen and would begin popping bottles at 4 PM or whenever she was bored.
There’s plenty more trivia about champagne—everything from the fun facts about the sparkling wine like Honest Cooking‘s 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Champagne or how to properly drink champagne, as explained in HuffPost Taste by Moët & Chandon.
… Even Chief Executive‘s list of 10 Best Champagnes if you feel like pretending to be extra pretentious.