Champagne 101: How to Choose the Right Bubbly

Vintage, brut, extra brut—with so many types of champagne it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose the right one for your taste, occasion, and price point. Just in time for New Year’s Eve, here’s a guide to help you understand Champagne like a pro. 

Price (from the most expensive to the cheapest):

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Prestige cuvée: Produced using the best grapes each year, so it typically costs hundreds of dollars.

Cuvée: The first 2000 liters to produce the Champagne. Its quality hence its price. They also use a unique blend of grapes for the specific flavor.

V (vintage): Vintage champagne is made only from grapes produced within the the same year and they usually let the grapes age longer.

Champagne: This is the most famous sparkling wine. It gets its name from the location it is produced, Champagne, France. The climate of this area gives you that natural acid flavor.

Cava: Dry and economic, it is produced mainly in Catalonia, Spain.

Prosecco: Produced in Italy, it tends to be fruity.

NV (non-vintage): Contrary to the vintage champagne, this champagne is produced using a blend of grapes from different years, making it more accessible.

Colors:

Blanc de blanc: It has a clear citrus color and is made from Chardonnay grapes.

Blanc de noirs: This white Champagne is created using the same grapes as Pinot Noir.

Rosé: A mixture of the grapes used for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The grapes are first mixed before being fermented.

Taste characteristics:

Extra brut: Very dry. It pairs perfectly with seafood.

Brut: Moderately dry. Ideal to accompany the main course.

Extra-sec: Slightly dry. It is recommended to drink just before lunch.

Sec: Between dry and sweet. Perfect for the main course.

Demi sec: Sweet. Ideal for dessert.

Doux: Very sweet. It is advisable to replace the dessert for this.

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