Champagne For Dummies

Champagne For Dummies

by Ed McCarthy, Richard Geoffroy


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Champagne may be the most misunderstood category of wine in the world. The major reason for all the confusion is the use of the term “Champagne” appearing on labels of sparkling wines that come from places other than the province of Champagne in northeastern France. But true champagne can only be born in an environment that combines the essential elements of chalky soil, a cool climate, and the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. These are the crucial elements informing the unique flavor profile found only in wines from that corner of the world. Without them, any wine—even a very good one—calling itself champagne, is just an imposter.

Baffled by bubbly? Let wine expert Ed McCarthy clear away the confusion. If you find shopping for champagne a challenge, try this fun, friendly guide and discover just how easy it is to select the perfect bottle and:

  • Appreciate various champagne styles
  • Enjoy the author’s favorite champagnes
  • Store and serve champagne
  • Pair champagne with food
  • Evaluate sparkling wines from the US and other countries

What’s the difference between brut and extra dry? Is Vintage Champagne worth the extra money? You’ll get the answers to these and all your questions about that effervescent wonder. And in the process you’ll discover:

  • How champagne is made, what grape varieties are used, where the major grape-growing areas are, and how those tiny bubbles get into champagne
  • The difference between vintage and non-vintage champagne and champagne specialties, such as blancs and rosé Champagnes
  • The meanings of terms used to describe the dryness/sweetness levels of champagne, such as brut, extra-dry and semi-sec
  • All about the great champagne houses, including in-depth coverage of the author’s 25 favorites
  • Everything you need to know about buying and storing champagne
  • The best ways to serve champagne, including the best glasses, the best foods to eat with it and more

Like most good things in life, the better you understand champagne, the more you enjoy it. This friendly guide will help you make your enjoyment of the most glamorous beverage on the planet complete.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764552168
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/27/1999
Series: For Dummies Books
Pages: 286
Product dimensions: 7.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Ed McCarthy is a Certified Wine Educator, a regular contributor to Wine Enthusiast and The Wine Journal, and the coauthor of four previous For Dummies® wine books.

Table of Contents



PART I: What Is Champagne?

Chapter 1: Champagne, the Region.

Chapter 2: Dom Perignon — the Legend.

PART II: The Magic of the Bubbles.

Chapter 3: The Champagne Method.

Chapter 4: The Grapes of Champagne.

PART III: Styles of Champagne.

Chapter 5: Vintage and non-Vintage (Classic) Champagne.

Chapter 6: Variations on a Theme: Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, and Rose.

Chapter 7: How Sweet It Isn't.

PART IV: The Great Champagne Houses.

Chapter 8: The Top 25 Champagne Houses (A to L).

Chapter 9: The Top 25 Champagne Houses (M to Z).

Chapter 10: Grower and Co-operative Champagnes.

Chapter 11: The Champagne Trade Today.

PART V: Buying, Storing, and Serving Champagne.

Chapter 12: Practical Tips on Champagne.

Chapter 13: Tasting Champagne.

Chapter 14: Champagne with Food.

Chapter 15: Touring Champagne.

PART VI: Other Sparkling Wines.

Chapter 16: California and Other American Sparkling Wines.

Chapter 17: Sparkling Wines from the Rest of the World.

PART VII: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 18: Answers to Ten Common Questions about Champagne.

Chapter 19: Ten Champagne Myths Exposed.

PART VIII: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Glossary of Champagne Descriptors.

Appendix B: Directory of Champagne Houses.

Appendix C: Champagne Vintages: 1978-1997.


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