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What is Champagne?

Champagne is a region of France that produces the world's most celebrated bubbly of the same name.

Real Champagne is made exclusively from a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Vintners in many countries do make their own champagne-inspired sparkling wines, but the real thing is produced soley in the Champagne region of northeastern France. If someone tries to serve you "champagne" from the United States, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic or anywhere else outside of Champagne, know that you're being duped. It may be delicious but it's not Champagne, which is a label protected by the European Union.

Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon is generally credited with the "invention" of Champagne, though many historians now believe that English scientist and physician Christopher Merret was onto refermentation 30 years before Pérignon (who was also said to have been blind—another point many historians discount).

Regardless of who made the first Champagne, it takes about three months for the bubbles to form in bottles during the secondary fermentation process, during which time they are kept in chalky cool underground caves. There, the bottles are turned and shaken at regular intervals. Champagnes range from dry to slightly sweet.

Reference: Who was Dom Pérignon? (Cookthink)
Reference: What is Prosecco? (Cookthink)

(Image from the Directory of French Winegrowers)

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