Why Do Most Champagnes Contain Red Wine Grapes?

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into a bottle of Champagne you’re in luck, as this week Ideal Wine Company explains why most Champagnes contain red wine grapes.

To the Untrained Palette, Champagne is a White Wine

We feature a range of luxurious Champagnes on the Ideal Wine Company product list. As a provider of fine wines from around the world, we know that not only is champagne a gorgeously decadent drink, but one which bursts on the tongue, making you feel fabulous.

To the untrained tongue, Champagne is a variety of white wine – and dry white at that. However France’s most famous tipple is an incredibly complex concoction; to call it a dry white would be to tell a lie.

The Cuvee; a Traditional Blend of White and Red

Champagne is actually a blend. Called a cuvee, the traditional blend of white and red grapes is designed to bring the best of every vineyard involved to the final product.

In about 85% – 90% of Champagnes, white isn’t even the predominant component. Two thirds are reds – usually Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier, and one third is white – nearly always Chardonnay. Fewer than 5% of Champagnes are 100% Chardonnay, and fewer than that are composed entirely of red grapes.

Every Grape Has its Purpose

So why bother, what is it about red grapes that makes them integral to most varieties of Champagne?  Each grape in the drink has its own function, which ensures the production of a premium bottle.

Pinot Noir is often used as a base. This is because it adds body, structure and aroma, along with a complexity of flavours. These flavours are boosted by the addition of Pinot Meunier, which is prized by Champagne makers because it is known to contribute fruitiness, flora aromas and a precocious character to the blend. Chardonnay meanwhile, lends elegance, finesse, delicacy and freshness to the region’s most famous drink.

An Integral Element of Champagne

In other words, Champagne contains red wine grapes because they are integral to the quality of drink. If Champagnes didn’t include grapes such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, it wouldn’t be the fabulously decadent drink you can buy for a bank balance friendly price here at the Ideal Wine Company.

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