How Does Champagne Taste? (Ultimate Guide)

    What Does Champagne Taste Like

    Champagne is such a symbol of parties, luxury and celebration that you don’t even need to drink Champagne to feel special.

    Just holding a glass of Champagne or popping a bottle open with a flourish is enough to feel fancy and fun.

    But there’s more to Champagne than its image.

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    What does Champagne taste like and what methods are used to make the signature Champagne taste that makes Champagne so special...

    How Does Champagne Taste?

    It might sound silly but Champagne’s signature flavour begins with its colour and sparkle.

    When you next have a glass of Champagne, notice the luxurious colour it has, anything from rose gold to amber to the golden hour before the sun sets.

    Watch how the bubbles shimmer through the liquid in their hurry to reach the surface.

    Feel the magic.

    In terms of the flavour of Champagne, Champagne should taste like stepping into an excellent bakery.

    Champagne Tasting Notes

    The taste of Champagne depends on the types of grapes used, the age of the wine among others factors. Expect lots of stone and orchard fruit such as apples, pears, peach and nectarine.

    There might be citrus too in the form of lemon curd or notes of blood orange.

    Then lots of baked yeasty flavours such as a powdered almond croissant, buttery brioche rolls or freshly baked baguettes.

    When asking about what Champagne should taste like it's important to remember that not all Champagne tastes the same!

    There will be lots of different flavours depending on the grapes and style the winemaker has chosen but there will be shared tasting notes due to the Champagne production method every bottle goes through.

    Here at Expert Wine Storage we're specialists in all things wine and Champagne storage and refrigeration. We offer a range of luxury wine fridges to suit every need including freestandingbuilt in and integrated wine coolers.

    How Champagne Method Influences It’s Taste

    The Champagne Methodalso known as the traditional method or theméthode champenoiseplays a big role in the taste of Champagne.

    Seven grapes can be used to make Champagne:

    • Chardonnay
    • Pinot Noir
    • Pinot Meunier
    • as well as the lesser-known Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris

    Champagne Grapes

    A combination of these grapes are fermented into a base wine which then has aliqueur de tirageadded to it—a liquid solution of yeast, wine, and sugar.

    This mix causes a second fermentation which happens in the bottle. The base wine increases in alcohol, the carbon dioxide produced becomes trapped causing the wine to fizz and the dead yeast cells provide all of those lovely baked Champagne tasting notes. 

    But what makes Champagne different from Prosecco?

    What Is The Difference Between Champagne and Prosecco?

    Prosecco is often billed as a cheaper alternative to Champagne, but does Champagne taste like Prosecco?

    The short answer is no, Prosecco and Champagne do not taste the same because they are made using different grapes and methods in different regions.

    Champagne is made in North France whereas Prosecco is made in Italy. Prosecco is made predominantly with the Glera grape as opposed to the seven traditional Champagne grapes.

    Prosecco also undergoes its fermentation in a large tank, as opposed to an individual bottle.

    This still creates that fun fizz but prioritises fruity aromas of pear drops and honeydew melon as opposed to the croissant complexity that Champagne has.   

    5 Luxury Champagne Brands To Try

    Thirsty for Champagne and want to try these Champagne tasting notes for yourself?

    Here are five Champagne Houses making Champagne with those iconic Champagne flavours:

    1. Veuve Clicquot

    Veuve Clicquot's 'Yellow Label' Brut non-vintage is this Champagne House's best-selling bottle.

    With tasting notes of gooseberry jam, victoria sponge and buttery tarte tatin it has all those signature Champagne flavours that make the drink so special.

    2. Taittinger

    Champagne Taittinger Brut Non Vintage is known for its elegance and depth, with gorgeous tasting notes of black flecks of vanilla, juicy dried apricots and ginger spiced panna cotta. 

    3. Laurent Perrier

    La Cuvée from Laurent Perrier is an excellent example of what Champagne should taste like. Think soft white honeysuckle, the first bite of a very good peach and buttering raspberry jam onto a warm croissant, this flavour of Champagne is like no other. 

    Bollinger Champagne

    4. Bollinger

    Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée has some real aromatic and complex Champagne flavours.

    This Champagne tastes like mildly toasted walnuts, spoonfuls of apple compote and zesting orange into a cake you’re baking. 

    5. Ruinart 

    Champagne Ruinart Brut is another perfect answer to the question of what should Champagne taste like?

    With tasting notes of crunchy pears, ripe ruby grapefruit and soft jasmine, you’ll quickly see what makes the Champagne method so special. 

    Classic Champagne and Food Pairings

    Now we know the answer to what does Champagne taste like, and why, what about what food pairs with Champagne?

    When it comes to pairing food with Champagne you’re in luck. A common Saying of the Sommelier trade is “when in doubt, always Champagne”.

    Champagne works wonderfully with lots of food because of its complex and layered tasting notes.

    If you want to see for yourself, some classic Champagne and food pairings include:

    • fresh oysters
    • buttered lobster
    • and punnets of strawberries

    An industry favourite Champagne and food pairing involves pairing Champagne with fast food.

    Champagne Paired With Lobster & Oysters

    Think fried chicken, french fries or fish and chips. The fizz and the fun of Champagne cuts through the fat and the crunch creating a match made in heaven.

    So there we have it. All you need to know about what Champagne tastes like and why.

    Now the fun begins.

    Use your newfound knowledge of the Champagne method and its wonderful flavours to figure out your personal favourite Champagne pairings.



    We hope you enjoyed our article on how Champagne tastes.

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin

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