Is the bubbly in your glass real Champagne?

If you’re looking for a guilt-free reason to pop a bottle of champers, then October 23, is that day.

International Champagne Day gives us a perfectly good reason to sip on bubbly from breakfast into dinner.

But is the bubbly you’re sipping Champagne?

Here’s what you need to know before you can actually call what’s in your glass Champagne and not a Methode Cap Classique (MCC) or sparkling wine. Many people not even aware that there is in fact a major difference.

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 is a region of 34 000 hectares roughly 150km north-east of Paris. The vineyards in the region are referred to as Crus and are mostly named after the closest village, such as Ay, Bouzy Cramant and Verzy. Each vineyard has a quality rating for the grapes from the respective vineyard.

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 more than 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.

So how do you 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 its 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.

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.

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.

Then there’s Krug Grand Cuvée. The Champagne to impress wine your aficionado friends with. Krug Grande Cuvée is the archetype of Krug’s philosophy of craftsmanship and savoir faire: a blend of more than 120 wines from 10 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.

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.