A Beginner’s Guide to Champagne

Guide to Champagne

Champagne is fabulous for any occasion. Whether you are celebrating an anniversary, a promotion, or just getting through another hectic day, bubbles are the perfect beverage. Yet all of the labels can be confusing. So here is my guide to champagne for any occasion!

No Celebration is Complete Without A Few Bubbles

I absolutely love champagne. It is by far my beverage of choice if I’m going to partake in alcohol.

There is something about the lightness, the fruitiness, and the bubbles that is just fabulous! Do you love having a glass of champagne before a nice meal or at the end of a long day? To me, there is something very different about champagne versus a glass of wine for celebrating. 

Champagne is also the best go-to for a romantic celebration, especially around Valentine’s Day.

The trouble is, if you are not familiar with champagne, you may get a bit overwhelmed in the bubbly aisle. So here are some quick tips for you grab a great bottle without too much fanfare.

Champagne Options

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A Guide to Champange: Where To Start?

While the options for champagne are almost endless, these are the top three brands to search out when looking for a nice bottle champagne.

Dom Pérignon – The Good Stuff.  We’ve all heard of Dom Pérignon. It’s sort of the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons of the champagne industry. If you want to spend a few hundred dollars on a bottle of champagne, Dom Pérignon is definitely the way to go. Dom Pérignon will only release specific years vintages where all of the grapes are harvested in the same year. From there, they are fermented for at least seven years before they are even released for sale. It’s a pretty exclusive champagne and one that you want to try at least once in your life.

Veuve Clicquot – The very nice, but not out-of-reach brand.  If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative to an exclusive champagne, then Veuve Clicquot is a great option. Their easy-to-find gold label is ubiquitous in the champagne world. A bottle of Veuve Clicquot, depending on the size and your location, will range anywhere from $75-$100 a bottle.

Moet & Chandon – The one with the Royal seal of approval.  A more obtainable, but still very nice, option would be Moet & Chandon. The Moet family of champagne producers goes back to the 1700s, so they really know champagne. The “Chandon” portion was an in-law who joined the family business and thus created Moet & Chandon. A nice bottle of Moet & Chandon will run around $50 and it is amazing! You will rarely get a headache from Moet. It is my definite go-to for any champagne needs. Moet is also known to be the Queen’s favorite. Hey, if it is good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for me!

Here in America, Chandon is released without the Moet label as well. Chandon is a bit less expensive than a bottle of Moet & Chandon and it’s equally as tasty. If you find Chandon, don’t hesitate to buy it over a Moet & Chandon if price is an issue. 

There are a lesser-priced champagnes on the market, but to be honest I wouldn’t drop below Moet for a nice holiday like a birthday, anniversary, or even Valentine’s Day. If you think you can get by with a $10 bottle of something cheaper, you are getting close to “mostly sugar along with a bad headache”.

To Brut or not to Brut? And what is brut anyway?

The other indicators with champagne are the notations of the brut on the labels. Keep in mind that “Brut” is French for dry. So a brut champagne would have just a hint of sweetness to it. Brut indicates the level of sugar that is added to the grapes in the fermentation process.

If you hear that something is extra brut, that means there is less sugar than a brut. Extra brut is a “fuller” versions of champagne than brut. More champagne, less sugar.

The “Brut” label indicator is sort of the zero mark. That’s a typical amount of sugar in a champagne. Therefore an extra brut would be like a diet version, if you will, of the champagne. And then there is a brut nature (natural), which is almost no sugar added. So, these are lesser calorie options but the taste varies, obviously.

There are champagnes with added sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste. However you are going to be adding calories to your beverage.

The average glass of brut champagne will have right around 100 calories in it, which isn’t bad. Of course, if you drink an entire bottle of eight or nine glasses, well, you do the math. Either way enjoy yourself on your special day or just relaxing on a typical afternoon.

Champagne For One

One nice thing about Moet champagne, is that they do have a single serving bottle available. Single serving of Moet can be found for just under $20 and it will give you about a glass and a half. So, if you are alone and want to enjoy a nice beverage, that is fabulous.

Moet & Chandon is also available in half bottle sizes as well. If it’s just the two of you and you don’t drink a lot, that is a great, inexpensive alternative for a really amazing glass of champagne. Verve Clicquot competes with a half-bottle offering for around the $40 mark.  

Chandon in America has single serving bottles available for right around the $10 range, and you can’t beat that. I like to have loads of those little bottles in my pantry ready for any occasion around the house. You just never know when you need a glass of champagne. Cheers!

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