The wines of Champagne, the region in north-east France where the world’s greatest sparkling wines come from, are the only ones allowed to bear the word on the label, but that hasn’t stopped ‘Champagne’ becoming shorthand for any wine that fizzes. Although most countries make sparkling wine, Champagne remains undisputed king, with nothing else coming close to the very best made here. Champagne is located further north than the rest of the world’s major vineyards. At this latitude, cooler temperatures prevail, and the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinor Meunier grapes grown in this climate therefore retain much higher acidity than they would further south. This suits sparkling wine perfectly, and is part of the reason Champagne is so widely imitated and so rarely bettered.

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