As you may know, champagne – the quintessential wine for all moments and milestones worth celebrating – has its very own global day assigned! Once a year, and this year on Friday the 23rd of October, from Paris to Johannesburg, champagne lovers worldwide toast to the gift that the region of Champagne in France has given to the world.
Aside from the multitude of champagne experiences taking place globally, the day also provides an opportunity for champagne fans to exchange champagne tasting notes, experiences, recommendations, discoveries and videos. So, in honour of this very special day, we spoke to some of the world’s leading personalities of the Champagne region to better understand the background, origins and allure of champagne.
Indeed, each best-in-class wine is a product of a set of conditions unique to the region, such as climate, soil and local wine making traditions developed over centuries, whose combined influence makes any single wine different from all other wines produced anywhere else. “Producing champagne will never be an exact science, it’s a true art. It can’t be replicated. From the pop of the cork to that first delicious sip, champagne engages all four senses and evokes celebration like nothing else can,” says Pascal Asin, Moët Hennessy, Managing Director, Africa Middle East.
So, what makes champagne so special? Most importantly to note, champagne can only be produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France – which is legally protected by the EU. Champagne’s ‘Methode Champenoise’ process follows strict regulations that require non-vintage varietals to be aged ‘on the lees’ in the bottle for at least 15 months.
Indeed, one such champagne is Moët & Chandon – which marks over 270 years as the world’s most loved champagne this year. And who better to elaborate on what makes our favourite libation so special than the Maison’s winemaker Amine Ghanem: “For me, it’s the notion that each wine is a product of a set of conditions unique to the Champagne region, such as climate, soil and local wine making traditions that have been developed over centuries. Hundreds of years of winemaking tradition are brought to life by the sound of the pop of the cork and the taste of that first sip,” he said.
As Summer appears South Africans are embracing the warmer weather with open arms and we’re very much focused on the best options for summertime sipping on Champagne Day this year. But how to choose? We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a selection of delectable champagnes with which to toast the momentous occasion of Champagne Day in SA:
First on our list, Moët Impérial Brut, Nectar and Rosé – the world’s most loved champagne after all. Indeed, since 1743 the renowned Maison has combined ‘savoir-faire’ (know-how) with the art of the fête to perfect a unique ‘savoir-fête’ that has made their champagnes the ideal choice for those wishing to toast to intimate moments, to important milestones and everything in between. And this year, we’re finally finding reason to celebrate again and toast to togetherness with friends and family.
Moët Impérial Brut, Nectar and Rosé are available from R549 at select retailers
We love Veuve Clicquot Rich – champagne to enjoy over ice, so perfect for by the pool or rooftop Champagne Day parties. Created expressly for mixology, Rich is Veuve Clicquot’s most versatile champagne, designed to allow anyone to create their own playful drinking experience. Best enjoyed over ice with fresh ingredients, such as cucumber, grapefruit or pineapple.
Available from R985 at select retailers
And for an evening to remember, there’s Ruinart Rosé – the rosé for a candle-lit dinner.
Known as the champagne for wine lovers, Ruinart was one of the very first rosé champagnes to make its appearance, dating back to the 18th century. Expect a delicate yet sophisticated rosé with an intense aromatic profile, perfect to complement that delicious dinner you’ve lovingly prepared.
Available from: R995 at select retailers
Krug Grand Cuvée – champagne to impress wine aficionado friends
Krug Grande Cuvée is the archetype of Krug’s philosophy of craftsmanship and savoir faire: a blend of more than 120 wines from ten or more different years. Every glass of Krug Grande Cuvée is the fruit of many years of craft and patience. Show off some serious champagne prowess and treat your champagne friends to a bottle.
Available from: R2695
Can you believe that a typical bottle of champagne has around 49 million bubbles, with 30 additional bubbles created each second? These bubble trains, called collarets, are the strings of bubbled beads trailing up the glass once you have poured it. Fortunately, it’s almost time to pop, swirl and sip your way through many a glass of bubbles during October’s celebrations, culminating in Champagne Day on Friday the 23rd of October!