So you’ve got a better idea of what it is, where it comes from, and how it’s made. Now comes the big one. When you walk down the wine aisle and see the 20 different champagnes staring back at you, what do you pick?
First up it’s about what style do you like. Said yesterday that champagne used to be sweet and now the modern style is dry. But there are different levels of that. You’ll see the word on the label; Brut is dry, Dry is not quite dry, and Demi-Sec is a little sweet. There are more, but they’re the usual 3 you see. I prefer it Brut, so that’s where I head.
Most champagne is a blend of the 3 grapes, but not always. Blanc De Blancs is 100% chardonnay and Blanc De Noirs is a blend of just Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Certain flavours from the individual grapes will dominate. Just try them and work out which you prefer.
Most supermarkets and wine shops will always have the usual brands. Moet, Lanson, Perrier Jouet, Heidsieck, etc. Those brands have a “house style”, which they replicate every year using a blend of reserve wines from lots of previous vintages. Again just to be annoying there’s only one way of working out which you prefer. You’ve got to drink them all and work it out from there!
Especially with supermarkets, they don’t just sell the big brands. They sell what are called Buyers Own Brands (BoBs). That just means that it’ll be a Sainsbury’s own brand, or a Waitrose own brand, and so on. The supermarket will send their winemaker to a co-operative in Champagne, find out the style that co-op makes, and buy in the style they like the best. So, exactly the same as with the brands really.
For Christmas / New Year I’ve gone for a good old mix of brands and BoBs. Got to try them, right?
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