Champagne is any sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region around Reims in France. It can get pretty pricey as demand often outstrips supply and it is a premium product - many Champagne houses use hand production techniques, which haven't changed much in 200 years.
Different styles of Champagne
There are many different styles of Champagne; what you buy is down to personal preference and budget.
Here’s a quick guide to the key styles:
Vintage Champagne’s are only produced in the best vintages. As the grapes are grown in what is deemed, good conditions, the quality of the Champagne should be higher than the NV. Generally Vintage Champagne is more expensive, but will have a fuller flavour and will generally have been aged longer (between 3 and 5 years) before being released.
These are the top wines of most Champagne houses, and as such are usually, very expensive! Dom Perignon was the first, created by Moet & Chandon. Other famous Prestige Cuvées include; Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, Taittinger Comtes des Champagne, Krug and Cristal. Prestige Cuvées are more like a special wedding gift, than a Champagne to use at your wedding!
Premier Cru means all the grapes have come from the next 41 best villages in Champagne, which have scored at least 90% on the 'Echelle des Crus' (Quality Ladder) for their grape-growing potential. All Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages of Champagne are located within the Marne Départment.
This is usually a small scale Champagne made from grapes grown and produced by the same Champagne house. They are usually more quality focused as opposed to brand focused, but you can find a lot of value here.