It seems that many important milestones and moments in life are celebrated with a bottle of bubbly. Got a promotion at work? Champagne. Completed graduate school? Champagne. Became husband and wife? Champagne…you get the idea. The name Champagne has become synonymous with celebrations, special occasions and good times in general. A celebration just isn’t the same without a sip of this effervescent delight.
Though many people use the term Champagne and sparkling wine interchangeably, this is not correct. Champagne is a very specific sparkling wine hailing from the Champagne region of France. The Champagne region of France is northeast of Paris and covers 85,000 acres. It may seem like a matter of pride and a bit pretentious to only label these specific sparkling wines as Champagne, but it is actually a legal matter. A sparkling wine may not be labeled as Champagne unless it hails from the Champagne region 90 miles outside of Paris as decreed by the World Court.
Despite what you decide to call it, sparkling wine is still the consummate celebratory drink. The Romans initially planted the grapes in the Champagne region of France, and the wine they produced was actually still wine. However, in the 1700s Champagne got it’s signature bubbly sparkle. Associated with nobility and royalty, Champagne still holds a connotation of elegance.
Our Favorite Champagnes/Sparkling Wines
Many people associate Champagne with a high cost and while there are bottles that cost a significant amount of money, just like any other wine there are options at every price point. You do not have to spend a fortune to celebrate in style. This Resveralife Live Well Guide highlights our favorite celebratory sparkling wines and Champagnes.
Avissi Prosecco DOC
From Veneto, Italy this sparkling wine is an excellent way to begin a celebration. It is incredibly light and features a bouquet of floral and fruity notes. Serve for the toast prior to serving food for the occasion.
Menage a Trois Prosecco
Another Italian sparkling wine, this Prosecco is perfect for romantic evenings. With a flirty name, this wine immediately puts you in a cheeky, romantic mood and the taste of this sparkling wine echos this sentiment exactly. Menage a Trois has a floral fragrance but bursts into light fruitiness when sipped. Serve this at any time during a celebration when you want to add a bit of romance. It does pair well with sweets and desserts.
Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage Brut 2000
We would be remiss if we made a list of our favorite Champagnes and left out Dom Perignon. Contrary to popular belief, Dom Perignon did not invent Champagne, though he was a considerable contributor and was considered an authority on Champagne. While Dom Perignon Champagne can run you more than $1,000 per bottle, the 2000 Vintage Brut is far more affordable at $120. It has a crisp taste with notes of sweet citrus and floral, fruity and yeast aromas. Serve this with a rich food experience such as a succulent lobster.
Moet & Chandon Millesime Rose 1996
Another Champagne with a reputation for expensive Champagnes, there are very affordable bottles. The 1996 Millesime Rose is a complex Champagne as it is a wine crafted using all three grapes from the Champagne region. It has a fruity aroma and flavors that are a bit deeper such as chocolate and exotic spices. Because of the complexity of this Champagne, it can be served at any time during a celebration. Pair it with appetizers, entrees and desserts and the taste will work beautifully with all dishes.
Champagne and sparkling wine does not have to cost a fortune. Simply pick a few and experiment to find the bouquets and flavors that you like best. As the fabulous Coco Chanel stated, “I only drink Champagne on two occasions. When I am in love and when I am not.” We’ll toast to that.