Champagne, a sparkling wine, is produced in the Champagne region in the North East of France. In fact, the sparkling wine produced in this region is the only wine that is legally permitted to be called ‘champagne’. Champagne serves as the first choice in most of the parties, weddings and other special occasions. The price of champagne largely depends on its quality, brand, age, dosage and others. It can range from only a few dollars to several hundred dollars for a bottle. Now, not everyone can afford to empty his pocket and get the best champagne, as it is quite expensive. However, there are a few sparkling wines that are good and cheap as well; you just have to make the right choice. Read on to know some tips on how to buy good as well as cheap champagne.
Choosing A Good Cheap Champagne
Prefer A Well-known Marquee
In case you are doubtful about narrowing down your choices from the vast assortment of sparkling wines, it is better to choose from the tried and true brands. A few of them include Bollinger, Charles Heidsieck, Krug, Moet et Chandon, G.H. Mumm, Joseph Perrier, Ruinart, Taittinger and Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. Discover which champagne best suits your palate by choosing from one of these well-respected labels.
Pick A Blend
There are different houses that produce non-vintage blends or varieties or ‘cuvees’ of champagne that epitomize the house’s signature style with little variations over the years. They are least expensive and are of a remarkable quality. The blend can include more than 100 wines from different years. Vintage or dated bottles are produced when a season’s harvest is good and the weather changes the taste every year.
Smell The Age
Champagne develops aroma with age. The producers mature the wine at their cellars for at least 15 months for non-vintage champagne, three years for vintage wines and even longer for prestige cuvees, before they are released into the market. The older the bottle, the more developed and nuanced its flavor would be. The age of the sparkling wine can be told by smelling the following aromas:
- 15 months to 3 years: White flower, citrus and fresh fruit aromas
- 3 to 5 years: Bold summer flowers or ripe/ stewed fruit aromas
- 5 years or more: Bouquets of dried flowers and grilled nuts
Decide Your Dosage
When a wine has aged sufficiently, certain amount of sugar is added, known as the dosage. Different dosages are added to the champagne, which can be read from the label. Common dosages are extra brut, brut and demi-sec. Extra brut or ultra brut champagne does not contain added dosage, are very dry and thus, the best choice for dieters. Brut champagne wines are also very dry, but a little sweeter than the extra brut. They contain little sugar and are perfect for most occasions. Today, they are the most popular variety of champagne sold throughout the world. Demi-sec champagne wines contain more sugar as compared to brut champagne wines. They taste sweet and thus, blend perfect with desserts.
Observe The Bubbles
Given an opportunity to taste various wines before purchasing it, be sure to observe the bubbles. Good flavored champagne will have small bubbles that will rapidly make their way to the top of a fluted champagne glass. While taking a sip, roll the bubbles in your mouth and note how strong the fizz is. Also, note whether the bubbles are fine or coarse.
You Are The Decision Maker
Just like purchasing any other belonging, choose champagne that best suits your taste and price range.