Types of Champagne in Kenya
Champagne, the king of celebration, is a luxurious bubbly wine from the Champagne region in France. Nothing crowns celebration like champagne wine, a wine of nobility allowing easy bonding with your baddies. It is the most popular type of alcoholic drink in our wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, and other special occasions. Its fantastic type of wine full of bubbly personality has pleasing flavor and appealing aromas, that everyone wants to take to dinner. This makes it the number one wine to complete any occasion in its unique way, making the celebration special and memorable.
Champagne is not only a top celebration beverage, it is a fine wine, pleasant, easy to drink, and food-friendly that is excellent to sip every day. The most expensive champagne brands are very synonymous with wealth and might class in society. But, don’t panic about the high price tags, there are best types of champagne of high quality that do not call breaking of your bank. Drinks zone wine shop got your back. We have a wide range of champagne brands, from the most famous acclaimed Moet & Chandon, the most prestigious Dom Perignon, the most expensive champagne brands, to varied and affordable champagne brands. We have unbeatable champagne prices in Kenya, to ensure everyone is taken care of. To have a deeper understanding of different types of champagne, let’s uncork this luxurious beverage, and assist you in finding the best bubby bottle for your special occasion, sure to please every palate.
Difference between Champagne and sparkling wine
Most people confuse this high celebrated wine with sparkling wine. It is a sparkling wine only from the champagne region in France, where it borrows its name. It is in this region that Champagne wine is made for the world to enjoy. If it is manufactured anywhere else, other than this region, it is not champagne, but sparkling wine. Champagne is a complex and super expression of sparkling wine, the benchmark that all other types of sparkling wines try to imitate. The distinct styles we encounter on the liquor shelves are made under strict supervision, assembled from various vintages and selected vineyards within the Champagne region, carefully blended and induced the bottle second fermentation to create carbonation. The bubbles are a natural process arising from the region's cold climate and short growing season. In the natural process, cold winter temperatures stop the fermentation process, and when spring steps in, the fermentation restarts. This leads to the formation of carbon dioxide inside the bottle. It is this trapped carbon dioxide that gives champagne its sparkle.
Champagne regions and grapes
Champagne must be produced in the champagne region, using the traditional method popular as méthode traditionelle, or méthode Classique, and is considered the premier way to make sparkling wine. Sparkling wine crafted outside this region using this method take specific region names such as sekt (Germany), cava (Spain), prosecco (Italy), cap Classique (South Africa), and crémant (other French regions). This geographic diversity gives champagne uniqueness.
Chardonnay, pinot noir, and Pinot Meunier are the main types of grapes used in crafting this much-loved bubbly beverage. Chardonnay is the white grape in which blanc de Blancs (white of white) wines are created. Pinots Noir and Meunier are red grapes in which blanc de noirs (white of black) wines are made (white wine made from red grapes). Since the grape skin is what gives wine color, these red grapes are fermented with no skin contact. Blanc de noirs wines tend to be fruity, tart, bodily with high acidity and low tannin, while blanc de Blancs display a more fresh, crispy taste and a bit lighter.
Champagne making process
The process of making champagne from the vine to the bubbles in the glass is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. This tediously involving process gives champagne its unique high quality with great complexity. It is one of the reasons why it is the most revered beverage, placing it on the top list of the best sparkling wines. The step involved are;
Harvest - harvesting is a crucial step as any other step. Grape picking is done by hand to ensure the fruit is picked and transferred to the pressing center without getting bruised.
Pressing - Pressing takes place immediately after the grapes are transferred to the press facility. This is a slow, gentle, and highly regulated process to prevent the red grapes' pigment. Each grape variety is pressed separately. The first press juice (Cuvee) is of the highest quality, while the second press juice contains more pigment and tannins.
First / primary Fermentation - in this stage, yeast is added to convert the grape’s sugar into alcohol. Once the primary fermentation is complete, the new wine undergoes a blending process that incorporates reserve wine.
Second Fermentation – in this step, the bubbles are created, and it may take about eight weeks to complete. Sugar and yeast are added to the still wine and bottled under a crown cap. They are stored horizontally, and the yeast slowly converts the sugar to alcohol creating carbon dioxide as a by-product that has nowhere to escape. The trapped carbon dioxide and built-up pressure under the bottle cap create bubbles.
Lees Aging - after the conversion is complete, the crown-capped bottles are set aside to age with the lees (dead yeast cells). The lees play a crucial role in enhancing the desired wine flavor profile, from toasty bread to alluring nutty aroma and creamy texture. For non-vintage expressions, this may take at least 15 months, while for vintage Cuvee may take three years.
Riddling - Bottles are placed on a special rack (riddling racks) that hold them at an inverted angle of 45 degrees. They are slightly turned daily, allowing the lees to accumulate in the neck of the bottle. This step was done by hand traditionally, which took several weeks, but with the current modernization, most riddling is mechanized, holding many bottles once and can take about a week to finish.
Dosage -The wine is clarified by extraction of dead yeast. The bottleneck is dipped into a freezer to freeze the settled lees, and the temporary cap is removed, the pressure popping out the frozen lees (the disgorgement process). In the process, some wine is lost, which is replaced by a process called dosage. This is the addition of a mixture of sugar and still wine which is crucial due to the high acidity. It balances the high acidity and determines the final sweetness level of the wine. If no dosage is added, these champagne types are usually termed as zero dosage, brut nature, or no dose.
Recorking - The final cork is added, along with the wire cage, to keep the cork in place and allow the wine to age in the bottle.
Vintage and Non-Vintage Champagne
Non-Vintage – non-vintage Champagne is made of blending different vintages wines and from a mixture of years. The blending of multiple vintages from different years ensures the houses taste consistent. Non-Vintage wine needs to age for a minimum of 15 months to reach its best flavor. Most types of Champagnes are typically non-vintage.
Vintage (Luxury Blend) – Vintage Champagnes are only produced from a single year harvest, only in the best years, and matured for at least three years. A vintage Champagne is produced only when the weather is most favorable for the grapes ripping to assure a wine of superior quality. This champagne style is always more expensive than non-vintage Champagnes. However, vintage champagne cannot give assurance of better taste than other champagnes, as the taste depends on the person’s palate. It is a perfect wine to toast during luxurious occasions. Enjoy it on itself to fully appreciate the elegance of Champagne.
Styles of Champagne
Champagnes come in various styles, which depend on the winemakers' choice of grape varieties. The diverse styles broaden consumers’ choices according to their preferences. Here are the most common styles available on leading online wine stores in Kenya;
Blanc de Blancs –Blanc de Blanc it is a fresh Champagne made from 100% white grapes – Chardonnay. This type of champagne tends to be lighter and more delicate in style.
Blanc de Noirs –Blanc de Noirs Champagnes are made from red grapes, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier and tend to be fuller-bodied and richer tasting with a broad aromatic palette.
Rose – Rose styles are intensely flavored. They are usually blended with white and red wine, though they can also be made only from red wine grapes. It is dark pink, and it is the only French wine that allows the assemblage of red wine (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Rose champagne tends to be more expensive and is quite rare than other styles.
There are also non-alcoholic Champagnes available on online wine shops in Kenya. These wines are perfect for mixed audience celebrations, which may include expectant mothers, children, and/or those who do not drink alcohol.
Champagne sweetness levels
Different Champagne types are mostly categorized and labeled with their level of sweetness. These sweetness levels are achieved from the amount of sugar added during dosage, communicated using the terminologies on the label. To pick your specific tastes, always remember to check the labels. From dry to sweet, Champagnes are labeled as;
Brut Nature / Brut zero – this is dry, low sugar champagne. It has little or no sugar added, making it ideal as an aperitif.
Extra Brut – Extra Brut is bone dry champagne.
Brut – this is dry to dry-off (fairly dry) champagne. It is the most famous champagne brand, which is usually considered the "standard champagne". It is great every time drink.
Extra Sec / Extra dry – Extra Sec is off-dry to medium-dry. It is slightly sweeter than Brut but not as dry as brut.
Sec / Dry – Sec is medium-dry with a noticeable sweetness.
Demi-sec – Demi-sec is medium sweet and is sweeter than sec. It pairs excellently with desserts.
Doux –Doux is lusciously sweet. It is the sweetest champagne style.
Regardless of the sweetness, whether dry or sweet, the champagne flavor and texture play a crucial part in selecting the best champagne brands.
Champagne prices – why champagne is so expensive?
Compared to other types of wine, champagne is very costly, almost double the price of the best sparkling wine. Why? If you wonder why champagne is damn expensive, here is the reason. The process of making this complex wine is rigorous and time-consuming. When you realize the time it takes to make it, you will ask why champagne is so cheap. It takes years for a bottle of the best champagne to reach your favorite wine shop shelves. Also, the climatic conditions are so harsh, putting grapes at high risk due to devastating temperatures and severe conditions. This makes the winemaking process to be difficult, contributing to a high price tag. The most expensive Champagnes are excellent to enjoy on their own, while quite affordable ones are great for mixing.
Most popular Champagne brands
Individual houses offer us an incredible range of Champagne brands, that are of high quality. The top manufacturers flood the market with distinct brands from the most expensive champagne and the most prestigious to the most affordable champagne brands in Kenya. Each of these brands is made following a specific recipe centered on the type of grapes used in making it. Some of the most popular brands you can buy online on to wine stores in Kenya include; Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Nicolas Feuillatte, Louis Roederer, Piper Heidsieck, Perrier Jouet , Moet & Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot.
There is nothing enjoyable like experiencing a really good bottle of Champagne. The unique taste experience of champagne delicacy, power, elegance, richness, bright acidity, and creaminess is mind-blowing. It is the best choice for anyone looking for an expensive treat. Serve your favorite brand in flute glasses to fully appreciate the flavors and aromas and have a good view of the bubbles. Don’t wait for the special occasion to clink glasses of this wonderful bubbly wine. Dial drinks zone to grab a bottle and toast whenever you feel like it. We have a wide selection of these bubbly wines, which we are offering at the best champagne prices in Kenya, coupled with quick home champagne delivery. Get the best for your pleasurable moments by buying online at our store. We are never late to grace your celebration with the best bubbly.