Characteristics to Look for When Tasting Champagne

Champagne is a beverage that many people love to enjoy on holidays or other special occasions. The drink comes from the Champagne region of France, and contrary to popular belief, it is the only type of sparkling wine that can be technically referred to as champagne. It is distinguished from other sparkling wines because it undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle that gives it the bubbly appearance. Technicalities aside, champagne remains a favorite of many due it its sweetness, fruity aroma, and fizzy taste. Since there are so many champagnes on the market, it can be hard to decide on just one for a specific celebration. Here are some tips on how to choose a champagne that suits your preferences.

1) Aroma

When you crack open a bottle of champagne, you should notice the immediate fruity perfume when you put the mouth of the bottle to your nose. The smell can be described as being very similar to applesauce, ripe pears, spiced apple pie, or freshly baked bread. This fruity smell is the result of yeast being added during fermentation.

When you select a champagne, it might be a good idea to try a glass at a winery before committing to a bottle purchase. Swish the sparkling wine around in your glass a bit before putting it under your nose for a smell. Some people prefer a certain aroma over another. Champagnes can range from smelling extremely fruity to extremely yeasty. Most people prefer the apple-like aroma to that which resembles beer.

2) Appearance

They say that you eat with the eyes before you eat with your mouth. This saying expresses the importance of food aesthetics. When something appears very delicious, you will want to eat it because it appears to taste good even though it might not be. On the other hand, a food that looks unappealing will scare people away even though it might be extremely tasty.

Good champagnes can range from a light-gold or pale-yellow to a medium amber color. Since champagnes are made from white grapes, they should not take on any other hue out of this general range. If a champagne is a drastically different color such as pink, food coloring has been added to it. The clarity of the wine is another thing to pay attention to. Properly fermented champagnes are crystal clear liquids that can be seen right through like looking through glass. If the liquid is murky or semi-opaque, that is a sign that there is something wrong.

Depending on your personal preferences, the appearance of the champagne might be a big deal to you. You may be planning a themed party that calls for a certain look so you want your champagne to match it. Even if looks don’t matter much to you, there are people that will stress over it.

3) Taste and Sweetness

All champagnes are categorized by the amount of sugar content in it. The type with the lowest sugar content is called brut. It is considered to be “dry” and has a more savory taste. Next in sweetness is extra-dry champagne. This variety is slightly sweeter and a bit more mild than the brut. The sec variety is considered to be sweet wine and contains about 1.5-2% sugar content. Those with a sweet-tooth will enjoy the demi-sec type which is the fruitiest and most sugary. Women, in particular, tend to enjoy the sweeter champagnes. Sweeter types also pair well with desserts such as cake.

Try Before You Buy

In the end, you will do best to sample several champagnes before you buy one. That is the only real way to determine whether or not you like it. Pour the champagne into a tall, narrow glass so that the fizz doesn’t die out. Look at it before you pick the cup up. Take a whiff of the aroma when you put it to your mouth to taste, and swirl it around before you swallow to get enhanced flavors. Only after you have done this can you determine whether or not you truly like a certain champagne more than another.