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champagne 101 |
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Champagnes are also categorized as vintage or non-vintage. As vintage champagnes are only produced when the grapes are having an exceptionally good year, they're far less common (and therefore pricier) than non-vintage bottles, which are made from a blend of grapes from different years. Vintage champagnes are aged three years before they're released, tend to be fuller and more complex in flavor, and will have the year labeled. Unless money is no object, chances are good that you'll be looking at a non-vintage rather than a vintage champagne.
Most champagne you'll encounter is white. The whitest champagnes, labeled Blanc de Blancs, are made entirely from Chardonnay or other white grapes. Blancs de Noirs champagnes can range in color from white to very slightly blush in color, and are made from pinot noir or other red grapes. Blanc de blancs tends to be more refined in flavor and lighter in body, while blanc de noirs is generally more powerful and richly fruity. Champagne is also available in a pretty pink rosť version, made from blending in a bit of red wine, that can also be quite good.
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