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Champagne

Champagne is synonymous with celebration and the drink of celebrity.  This is undoubtedly true, but there is rather more to it than that.

It is largely unknown that it is a white wine made with red grapes; that the bubbles were once considered a nuisance; and that it took those perennial influencers of wine, the British, to discover how to strengthen glass to safely contain it.  The story of Champagne is every bit as effervescent as the wine it produces.

Champagne is synonymous with celebration and the drink of celebrity.  This is undoubtedly true, but there is rather more to it than that.

It is largely unknown that it is a white wine made with red grapes; that the bubbles were once considered a nuisance; and that it took those perennial influencers of wine, the British, to discover how to strengthen glass to safely contain it.  The story of... read more.

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History

Champagne acquired bubbles by accident.  The cold winters of the region would stop fermentation, but with the coming of spring it would start up again and release carbon dioxide.  In one of the greatest ironies in the history of popular myth, the 17th century monk Dom Perignon strived throughout his life to do away with these bubbles.  His legendary services to champagne were as the still wine it was supposed to be at the time.

When the British discovered, in the 18th century, the secret of strong-enough glass, the second fermentation was finally encouraged and sparkling champagne was intentionally and commercially produced.  It has never looked back.

Types of Wine

Quality, sweetness and style are the key things to look for and the label on the bottle will provide all the clues.

Concerning quality, there are three distinct designations.  Non-vintage champagne will be blended from the produce of several years and aim for a standard style; vintage champagne is the fruit of only one year and will have more depth of character and greater ageing potential; Prestige Cuvées are exclusive, excellent and enhanced by age.

Ultra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux are the six categories from driest to sweetest.  Sweetness is not created by noble rot but by adding yeast and sugar to the bottle before corking it.  Brut, the most popular and common style in the UK, is dry.

Other than the usual blend of three grapes, the following styles of champagne all exist: Blanc de Blancs, made only from Chardonnay; Blanc de Noir, from red grapes only; and Rosé, made by blending red and white wines before bottle fermentation.

Key Vines

It may be surprising to find that two of the three grapes that go into Champagne are red.  These are Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  Chardonnay, the only white, makes up less than a third of the vines in the whole of the region.

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  1. Alain des Arbres, Carte Noire

    Alain des Arbres, Carte Noire 75cl

    Exclusive to Weavers of Nottingham Creamy mousse with rich, delicate fruit flavours. A delightful champagne which has fullness and depth.

    More about this product
    £21.18
    6 or more
    £21.60
    each
    £17.65
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £18.00
    each Excl. VAT
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  2. Baron de Beaupre, Brut

    Baron de Beaupre, Brut 75cl

    A refreshing and appealing champagne with soft character on the finish.

    More about this product
    £20.88
    6 or more
    £22.94
    each
    £17.40
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £19.12
    each Excl. VAT
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  3. Bollinger, Special Cuvée

    Bollinger, Special Cuvée 75cl

    Superbly balanced and tremendously elegant champagne with a fine depth and flavour.

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    £39.95
    £33.29
    Excl. VAT
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  4. Gosset Brut, Grand Blanc de Blanc

    Gosset Brut, Grand Blanc de Blancs 75cl

    Pale gold in colour with green darts and fine bubbles. Wet flint, white fruit and apricot on the nose leads to a fine, delicate palate. A wonderfully complex wine made solely from Chardonnay grapes. An ideal, luxiourious aperitif drink. Matches perfectly with scallops or crab.

    More about this product
    £57.36
    6 or more
    £59.95
    each
    £47.80
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £49.96
    each Excl. VAT
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  5. Gosset, Brut Excellence

    Gosset, Brut Excellence 75cl

    A champagne with a fine mousse, surprisingly rich aroma, beautifully complex and really elegant, combining freshness and an exquisite, fruity style.

    More about this product
    £35.76
    6 or more
    £39.95
    each
    £29.80
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £33.29
    each Excl. VAT
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  6. Gosset, Grande Reserve

    Gosset, Grande Reserve 75cl

    Outstandingly well balanced Champagne. A golden hue with a subtle bouquet that is delicate but full with strength and freshness on the palate - utterly delicious.

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    £50.40
    6 or more
    £55.94
    each
    £42.00
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £46.62
    each Excl. VAT
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  7. Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Brut

    Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Brut 75cl

    This is a lovely fruity champagne with superb freshness which is balanced, elegant and has a wonderfully vibrant finish.

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    £30.60
    6 or more
    £34.94
    each
    £25.50
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £29.12
    each Excl. VAT
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  8. Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Demi-Sec

    Joseph Perrier, Cuvée Royale Demi-Sec 75cl

    A classic medium dry champagne, displaying rich citrus fruit characters on the nose and a lingering finish on the palate.

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    £30.60
    6 or more
    £34.94
    each
    £25.50
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £29.12
    each Excl. VAT
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  9. Pol Roger, Brut Reserve

    Pol Roger, Brut Reserve 75cl

    This superb quality champagne is ideal for every occasion. It has a certain feminine quality given by equal proportions of Pinot Noir / Meunier and Chardonnay.

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    £41.04
    6 or more
    £42.00
    each
    £34.20
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £35.00
    each Excl. VAT
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  10. Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs

    Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs 75cl

    A suave, delicate, well-balanced Champagne made exclusively from the Chardonnay Grape. Striking on the palate with delicious hints of apricots and nectarines.

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    £57.66
    6 or more
    £62.95
    each
    £48.05
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £52.46
    each Excl. VAT
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  11. Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV Special Edition 'City Light Boxed'

    Taittinger Nocturne Sec, Special Edition City Light 75cl

    Pale yellow in colour with delicate fine bubbles. The nose is subtle, fresh and reminiscent of white blossom and ripe fruit, with overtones of yellow peaches and dried apricots. On the palate it is soft, fresh and mellow with delicate floral and ripe fruit flavours. The finish is long and soft with a subtle sweetness. All in all it is rounded, rich and well balanced, smooth and creamy.

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    £39.95
    £33.29
    Excl. VAT
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  12. Taittinger Brut

    Thienot, Brut 75cl

    A stunning Champagne with a rich aromas of citrus and creamy honey. Lively and balanced on the palate with length and depth on the finish.

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    £32.34
    6 or more
    £35.00
    each
    £26.95
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £29.17
    each Excl. VAT
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