8 Things to Know About Champagne

As I am getting ready to run downtown Sonoma and sip on the newest release of Passaggio’s Blanc de Blanc Sparkling wine, I feel inspired to share a little Champagne fun with you.  Such as, what is a BDB? a BDN, a NV, Champagne?  Here are 8 things you should know about bubbly.

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  1. BDB- Blanc de Blanc is a white wine from a white grape.  If it is made in the true champagne methode, it would more than likely be all chardonnay.  I will not go into the whole part about non champagne method, as this can be like the wild west.Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 4.35.05 PM
  2. BDN- Blanc de Noir is white wine from a black grape, really it is just a dark grape. In this case, it would either be Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or a blend of the two.Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 4.37.38 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-17 at 4.36.50 PM
  3. NV- Non Vintage, this means the grapes can come from various years and blended together. An NV generally lays down on the lees for approximately 18 months.Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 4.42.23 PM
  4. V- Vintage- This is usually a winner in my mind.  All of the grapes from the same harvest,   A vintage champagne is left on the lees for double that or even longer. Why does this make a difference? The longer the wine sits on the lees (a term for dead yeast) the more complex the flavors become. This takes us to…..
  5. Late Discorged- What the heck is that?  It is when the wine is left on the lees longer than normal for that champagne house or vintage. Trying to find a definitive answer to exactly what the minimum would be has been a challenge. Most are 5 years or more.  I have had bubbles left on the lees for as long as 18 years.  Let me tell you, they were absolutely incredible. The flavors that yeast imparts in the bottle are so incredibly fascinating. The bubbles were tiny and full of fabulous flavors that just roll around all of your taste buds leaving a thousand traces of joy.Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 5.16.46 PM
  6. Champagne-  comes from the specific region of Champagne, just because it is French doesn’t even mean its Champagne.  Nothing taste like the bubbly fermented grape juice that comes from the incredible terroir of Champagne France.  With Unique limestone soil and dual climates, it is just something that can not be replicated. Even as you get to know Champagne’s the little regions within Champagne start tasting differently. Epernay tends to be where my pallet finds its happiness.Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 5.19.56 PM
  7. Cremant- Still French, but not from the Champagne region. They come from their own special regions in France. They are often times almost as good as “Champs”,  some that are closer to the Champagne region pick up the subtle flavors that make this sparkling unique within itself.Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 4.44.19 PM
  8. Sparkling Wine- Method Traditional, Champagne Methode, Methode Traditional, all of these found on a label of sparkling wine, means it was made the same method as they do in Champagne, but the grapes are not from that region. Many great sparkling wine houses take great care to respect the old traditional way of making what I like to call liquid diamonds.


There are many more things we can chat about such as dosage, rose’, brut, extra brut, champagne grapes, yeast, tete’ cuvee’, the list goes on and on. I do have a past post on Rose’ found HERE if you would like to read about it.

If there is more you would like to know about bubbles or homes, leave me a comment and I will respond asap!

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