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    Find the Wine Clubs With the Best Champagnes in 2020

    Champagne is an iconic wine type that goes hand in hand with celebrations. Next time you’re getting ready to mark a big event in your life, you’ll want to make sure that bottle of bubbly is chilled and ready to pop. In this article, I’ll introduce you to the best champagne available today, from timeless champagne brands to innovative newcomers. I’ll also explore the history of expensive champagne, which has its origins in France back in the 1600s.

    Drinking good champagne is a rare pleasure that most people reserve for special events, but by joining the right champagne club you can enjoy it regularly. I’ll give you the know-how you’ll need to select good cheap champagne and make every weekend a special occasion.

    Let’s start by finding out exactly what champagne is and what makes it so special.

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    What Is Champagne?

    A case of champagne is like a treasure chest for wine drinkers, with beautifully shaped bottles of sparkling gold and rose wine ready to be popped.

    The best champagne comes from the Champagne region, France - the place it was first invented. Now, you may be wondering: is champagne wine? It certainly is!

    Famous French wineries like Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, and Veuve Cliquot produce some of the most expensive champagne on earth, while local producers in other regions produce sparkling wine using a similar method.  

    How Is Champagne Made?

    A glass of sparkling champagne immediately looks different from regular rose or white wine, primarily due to the bubbly nature of the beverage. If you’ve ever attended a  champagne tasting you’ll remember the distinctive, bubbly crispness that this iconic wine delivers to your palate - but how did it get that way?

    What is champagne made of? Like regular white and rose wine, champagne is made from grapes that are fermented and sometimes aged. The difference is that champagne goes through an additional fermentation process which creates its distinctive bubbles.

    So, how is champagne made? Legend has it that the monk Don Pérignon, who lived in Champagne, France, invented champagne accidentally sometime in the 1600s. If you’ve been wondering, “where is champagne made?” - you have your answer.

    To this day, the only place on earth that can produce real champagne is the Champagne region in France, using the same legendary method.

    What Are The Differences Between Champagne And Sparkling Wine?

    Sparkling wine may look, smell, and taste almost the same as champagne, but if it’s not from the Champagne region, it’s legally prohibited from being called anything but sparkling wine. Names aside, is sparkling wine champagne? If it’s made using the Champagne method, it may taste very similar.

    If it’s made using the Italian or Charmat-Martinotti method, where the wine is fermented in a tank and not in the bottle, chances are it may taste different than champagne or other french sparkling wine.  Next time you’re reading a sparkling wine list, you’ll be able to guess what method was used to make each wine on offer.

    Now that we know the characteristics of champagne vs wine, here are three excellent champagne clubs for you to consider.

    Top 3 Champagne Clubs

    Joining a champagne club is the easiest way to explore the delicious world of flavors that this type of wine has to offer.The club champagne you’ll receive each month or quarter is selected by expert tasters. You’ll also receive tasting guides and details about the wineries that are featured in each shipment.

    Another benefit is the special club champagne that’s available exclusively from your club. New releases and limited editions are often available to club members at excellent prices. A champagne of the month club is the best way to receive a special bottle of champagne or sparkling wine each month.

    WSJ Wine Club

    The WSJ Wine club has a fantastic range of French champagne which they make available to club members at excellent prices. Award-winning producers and well-known names including Virginie Taittinger and Didier Chopin are just some of the wineries featured by WSJ wine. Gift boxes with champagne flutes and presentation cases are also available.

    Winc.com

    Winc.com is an on-trend, youthful wine club that offers some of the most popular sparkling wine blends available today. Sparkling Chardonnay, sparkling white blends and summery sparkling rose are just some of the delicious and affordable options available from Winc.

    The California Wine club

    As one of America’s premier wine producing regions, California boasts its share of great sparkling wines. The California Wine Club offers a range of delicious sparking options, from Napa valley Brut to sparkling whites from the north coast. These wines offer a good balance between quality and affordability.  

    Why Is It Called Champagne?

    As we mentioned above, champagne gets its name from the specific region in France where it was first cultivated and is still produced today. Here are some popular questions we receive about champagne from customers just like you.

    Why can Korbel be called champagne?

    Technically, Korbel sparkling wine is made using the champagne method. Even though it’s not true champagne, some people refer to it by that name.

    What’s the big bottle of champagne called?

    A magnum - which means great or large in Latin. It contains roughly 2 liters of champagne, or enough to fill 12 glasses.

    What is french sparkling wine called?

    French sparkling wine is called mousseux - in fact Champagne is a type of mousseux. Sparkling wine produced in Bordeaux, Loire, Alsace or Bourgogne is called Cremant.

    What are some famous french champagne brands?

    Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Laurent-Perrier, Taittinger, and Pommery are just some of the iconic French champagne producers.

    Permitted Grapes in Champagne

    If you’ve ever seen the tiny champagne grapes used to make champagne, you may have noticed that they look pretty unique. That’s because there are 3 grapes in champagne: Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot (which includes several varieties including chardonnay).

    The champagne grapes price is significantly higher than those of other wine cultivars and they are more difficult to grow too. This contributes to the higher price of champagne.

    The Traditional Method, or Méthode Champenoise

    The best champagne is made using the Méthode Champenoise. Almost all premium champagne brands use this method, which produces some of the most delicious and expensive champagne available. Here’s how it works.

    Primary Fermentation

    Champagne fermentation begins like that of any other wine. The grapes may be picked a little earlier than usual to prevent high sugar levels. Once fermentation is complete, the resulting base wine is ready to be assembled.

    Assemblage

    Top champagne producers usually blend various wines to produce a blend or cuvée in French. Wines of the three champagne varieties are usually blended together. The exception to this rule is vintage champagne, which is made from a single harvest.

    Liqueur de Tirage

    To produce its characteristic bubbles, champagne undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle. To feed this fermentation process, extra sugar is added to each bottle to produce tirage champagne.

    Second Fermentation

    If you’re wondering about the factors that answer what is the best champagne, it’s simple: it is all about the second fermentation. The bottles are sealed with a temporary cork or crown seal and left to ferment for 15 months or a full three years in the case of vintage champagne.

    Remuage or Riddling

    Good sweet champagne - in fact all good champagne - must undergo a process called riddling to remove the excess yeast, sugar, and lees at the bottom of the bottle. The bottles are placed cap-down at a 45 degree angle in a special rack, and are tapped and turned gently each day until the lees move into the neck of each bottle. This makes them easy to remove.

    Disgorging or Dégorgement

    Whether you choose premium champagne or good inexpensive champagne, you’ll want to see a clear, sparkly wine with no hints of cloudiness. Disgorging - or removing the lees - ensures that the best price champagne comes out looking clear, golden and ready to be enjoyed in premium champagne flutes.

    Addition of the Liqueur d’Expedition

    Champagne’s fancy brand names all add a final solution containing sugar and other ingredients called Liqueur d’Expedition to their champagne bottles before corking. This helps to balance the champagne’s flavor for optimal drinking pleasure.

    Re-corking

    The best champagne options experienced all begin with popping the cork. Recorking the champagne is the final step in the production process. After re-corking, the champagne is ready to be shipped and enjoyed.  

    Why is Champagne so expensive?

    Expensive champagne: those words just seem to fit together naturally. What sets the most expensive champagne apart from other sparkling wines, and why is it so expensive?

    Expensive champagne brands are all located in the Champagne region - a small area which produces more than 300 million bottles annually to the highest standards. This contributes to the cost of each bottle.

    The most expensive bottle of champagne can retail for thousands of dollars, while the champagne price of non-vintage bottles ranges between $50 and $500 on average. The best price champagne may sometimes drop below $50 thanks to specials and campaigns from champagne clubs.  

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    Styles of Champagne

    There are various types of champagne, defined by the type of grapes that were used to produce them.

    The more you know about the different types of champagne, the more you’ll be able to enjoy drinking them. From the various easy drinking sweet champagne types to the types of expensive champagne reserved for special occasions, there’s something for everyone.  

    Blanc de Blanc

    Blanc de Blanc literally means the whitest of white. This refers to champagnes that are made exclusively from chardonnay. Chandon reserve blanc de blancs and Ruinart blanc de blanc LCBO are two excellent choices in this category.

    Blanc de Noir

    Blanc de Noir champagne is made from light-colored red grapes.Only Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier may be used in authentic French champagne.  Pannier blanc de noirs champagne 2011 is an iconic vintage of this type.

    Rosé

    The best rose sparkling wine is made either from peeled red grapes or a blend of red and white grapes. French rose champagne is deliciously dry and fruity.

    Non-Vintage

    Non vintage champagne is produced from a blend of grapes, with different years sometimes being blended. Some readers may ask, how long does non vintage champagne last? The answer is around three to four years at the most. This is one of the biggest differences between champagne, vintage vs non vintage.

    Vintage Champagne

    What is vintage champagne? When the harvest is exceptional, a vintage may be declared. Only grapes from that year’s harvest can be used to make vintage champagne.

    Sweetness Levels in Champagne

    The best sweet champagne and the best sweet champagne brands use specific terminology to describe the sweetness of their wines.

    Brut Naturelle/Non Dosage

    The best brut champagne is dry and crisp, with a hint of sweetness.

    Extra Brut

    Extra brut champagne is extra dry, with very little sugar on the palate. The brut champagne price can be on the higher side, depending on the brand and vintage.  Some famous brut champagne brands include Veuve Cliquot and Taittinger.

    Brut

    What does brut mean in champagne? It simply means dry. Brut champagne has just a little sweetness to balance its flavor.

    Extra Sec or Extra Dry

    Extra sec champagne is also known as extra dry, and this can be confusing. It’s actually sweeter than brut champagne, but not as sweet as Sec and Semi Sec.

    Sec

    Is brut champagne dry? It certainly is! If you prefer a sweeter palate, Sec champagne may be ideal for you. It has less crispness and a rounder finish thanks to its sugar content.

    Semi Sec

    Semi Sec, also called Demi Sec, is even sweeter than Sec, and appeals to sweet wine drinkers. Chandon Reserve Demi Sec is an excellent choice in this category.

    Doux

    The sweetest champagne of all is called doux. It’s often enjoyed as a dessert wine. Veuve Clicquot rich doux champagne is one of the finest out there.

    Last words

    Now that we’ve learned more about the best champagne and how it differs from sparkling wine - having covered some of the most famous champagne brands - it’s time to sample some for yourself.

    Wine clubs are an excellent way to sample good champagne. With various types of champagne available in every price range, you’ll be able to pop open a celebratory bottle and celebrate all the great moments in your life.