The champagne that suits you best
Or how to choose the champagne that best suits you, whether you drink it on your own or with friends who share the same taste. The underlying question we have to ask ourselves is, is there a type of champagne that will enable us to find the bottle of champagne that we already know we are going to love?
Let's start at the beginning
It's always better than starting at the end, I hear you say. In fact, it's just a matter of taste and flavour.
We can easily distinguish 4 main tastes: sweetness, saltiness, acidity and bitterness. For white wines as well as champagne, we will have two main tastes: acidity and sweetness.
But rather than talking about tastes, let’s talk about sensations, which are easier to identify. Acidity is that slight sensation of freshness and salivation that whets the appetite and makes you want to just bite into life with your hair to the wind! Sweetness is that gentle sensation of smoothness, voluptuousness and comfort. This sensation is more or less the same as with alcohol, like a softness on the palate.
That's it, we already have two types of champagnes. One that invigorates and whets the appetite as an aperitif, just as perfect for starry nights as it is for mornings after a sleepless night (starry or not), for light dishes such as fresh salads, seafood flavours and so on... The other, which can be likened to "champagnes by the fireplace", which is comfortable. We like these champagnes served with a fine quality chicken or even some soft or white skinned cheeses (Brie, Chaource).
The former is taut and trim, the latter fuller and more generous. Now, those are the basics.
How does one recognise them?
We find the sensation of freshness in extra brut or brut nature champagnes, very often made from Chardonnay (known as Blanc de Blancs) and non-vintage. We find the sensation of volume and smoothness more frequently in brut champagnes made from red grape varieties, Pinot Noir and or Pinot Meunier, known as Blancs de Noirs, as well as in vintage champagnes in general.
So far so good, but by simplifying things, we are creating a bit of a caricature. We can go a little further because nothing is ever that simple.