It’s bad enough when you hit the Champagne aisle and there are so many manufacturers and labeling terms that just mess with your head. Do I buy Lanson or Mumm? What do they mean by Brut as opposed to Sec? Then they throw this Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs into the mix. It’s game over at this point for the occasional wine-o!
Well it’s one of those things that as soon as you know it, it’s really easy. There are three main grapes that go into the classic Champagne brew. Two of these are red wine grapes: Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The other one, Chardonnay, is obviously a white wine grape. Easy so far…
For anyone who makes Champagne it becomes a blending exercise of which grapes you want to use and in what measures. The two “extremes” are where you use only Chardonnay, which gets called Blanc De Blancs, and the other is where you only use the red grapes, which gets called Blanc De Noirs.
The reason I use Champagne as an example is that it was in this region that the terms started being used. Now though you get sparkling wines from all the way around the world that use the term Blanc De Blancs. It’s not 100% a legally defined thing, but most of the time it means 2 things: firstly it’s made using the traditional method of making sparkling wine (check NWTW #51 for a refresher), and secondly it’s made of 100% Chardonnay (although this last bit is less rigid now).
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Other Posts in NWTW #53
Photo: Par Excellence Magazine