What is Champagne?

What is Champagne?

Champagne is a sparkling white wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France. The history and reputation of this unique region are enshrined in international law, ensuring that, in most countries worldwide, only sparkling wine from this specific region can be labelled as champagne, like Champagne. While many other countries and regions produce sparkling wines that may be superficially similar to Champagne, and many casual drinkers may not see the distinction, laws are in place to ensure that consumers of brands such as Champagne are protected from inferior product. It may seem that wrapping something as luxurious as Champagne in dry legal arguments about correct labelling could threaten to draw focus from the pleasure that it is meant to provide. In fact, it is the exclusivity that these laws protect that make Champagne what it is, a drink of elegant distinction unlike any other.

What makes Crystal Champagne different?

Champagne is produced using a traditional process of fermentation dating back hundreds of years. These unique methods are known as the 'method champenoise' and are also protected by law. You can be sure when buying Champagne that you are getting the highest quality product produced through the careful implementation of these exclusive processes. As with all alcoholic drinks, Champagne is fermented and then bottled. Unlike many other drinks, for Champagne this is not the end of the process. It is a second fermentation, taking place inside the bottle that makes  Champagne sparkle; producing the bubbles that give the drink it's defining characteristics and colloquial name, 'bubbly'.

Champagne's history of distinction

The long, prestigious history of Champagne all contributes to the drink's reputation as the celebratory beverage of choice. Originally mainly available to French royalty and nobility, Champagne's aura of luxury dates back to the origins of the drink itself. Anyone drinking Champagne today still benefits from these associations, enhancing the clear, crisp taste through the evocation of this history. Sipping from a glass of Champagne allows us to taste, to feel, a degree of luxury that would have previously been beyond all but the richest. The explosion of champagne's popularity throughout the 18th and 19th century, in an age of political and industrial revolution, could conceivably have robbed the drink of these associations as it became popular amongst the burgeoning middle classes. Instead, the rich history and inherent unique qualities of champagne simply meant that a greater number of people got to appreciate what made it so desirable. Now, even in a modern era that produces millions of bottles of champagne every single year, the sound of a Champagne cork popping still conjures up images of its prestigious history.

Celebrating life withChampagne

Raising a glass of Champagne at a family wedding, a christening or a birthday has, for many of us, become an integral part of life's celebrations. The reputation that is protected both legally and through the exclusive production process is essential in creating the aura of Champagne that makes it so central to these events. Can you imagine toasting the happy couple with Spanish Cava, or celebrating landmark birthdays with a chilled glass of Italian Spumante? That's not to say that there is not much to appreciate in Champagne's rival sparkling wines, it is simply to point out that certain special something that sharing a glass of Champagne brings to an occasion. As Samuel Johnson said; "the feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne". For many of us the reverse effect is also true; sharing a good meal with those we care about may make us relish our friendships, while sharing a glass of Champagne often makes us realise how beloved they are.

The ceremony of Champagne

Champagne need not be reserved for the big events in life. In fact, sipping a glass of Champagne can make any day special. The ceremony of drinking Champagne requires that we treat the experience of drinking it, and therefore ourselves, with respect. Finding time for the little pleasures in life can sometimes seem very hard but something as simple as changing our drinking habits could make all the difference. The next time you fancy a glass of something and you unthinkingly go to uncork a bottle of mediocre red wine, why not treat yourself to a bottle of superior Champagne? Even the process of a bottle of Champagne requires thought and precision. Do you pop the cork quickly or slowly, turning the bottle and not the cork so as to preserve every drop? Do you make do with the first glass that come to hand or do you insist on the elegance of a thin-stemmed champagne flute? Before you have even tasted a drop you have transformed the simple experience of having a glass of wine into a miniature celebration. Treating Champagne with the reverence that it deserves is not just a sign of your respect for the drink, but also a sign of your respect for yourself. Indulging yourself in the history and the ceremony of champagne can turn the simplest events into the most profound.  Champagne is always there for the big events in life, but it can also help you to redefine what those big events are.