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Aug 12, 2007 06:49 AM

True Champagne...incomperable?

The question regarding "champagnes" from other countries leads me to make this statement. A true Champagne (from the Champagne region of France) is hard to compare to sparking wines of any other country. The quality of true Champagne is so far and above anything else out there... an area where efforts from other countries just don't match up.

I think that when it comes to still wines there are countries that product world class efforts... some of the best reds or whites (mainly reds actually) in the world. Say Vega Sicilia or L'Ermita from Spain, Sassicaia, Masseto, Gaja from Italy, of course all the great Bordeaux, Burgundies and Rhones from France, Harlan or the like from California, etc. (and the same is true regarding the less expensive wines from these regions).

When it comes to Champagne, nothing comes close. Agree, or does anyone want to challenge that statement and suggest a sparkling wine they think DOES equal a fine Champange?

(P.S. - Leave out the price/value argument... ie. I'd rather drink X at $20 a bottle than a French Champagne at $$50... that's a different discussion).

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  1. Agreed, nothing comes close.

    And not just in comparison to the other sparkling wines out there. I'd dare say the overall quality of Champagne is better than the overall quality of wine from any other region.

    1. Champagne is Champagne. And VERY LITTLE, to my palate, comes close.

      It's not a question of "challenging the statement," but there is one sparkling wine that satisfies my palate the way Champagne does . . . the méthode chamenoise sparkling wines from Equinox -- 100 percent Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay, aged en tirage for anywhere (depending upon the cuvée) from 3-9 years, and generally bottled with zero dosage. The stuff is fantastic!

      As far as price is concerned, that sort of time and labor does cost, but it's the only sparkling wine that costs as much as Champagne that I willingly buy again and again.


      1. I think only an expert could pick Roederer Estate's Anderson Valley sparking wines out of a blind tasting against similarly-styled Chamagnes.

        I think the same is true for Gruet's New Mexico sparkling wines, but I've only tasted one or two of theirs.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          While I think Roederer Estate is the best of the "big boys" producing sparkling wines in California, and I highly recommend them -- so, too, Gruet, which is, IMHO, the best QPR America has to offer interms of bubbly -- I do not think I'd have too much difficulty in picking them out . . . .

          1. re: zin1953

            Agreed. It is quite easy to differentiate non-Champagne from Champagne. There are many giveaways in the flavor -- toastiness, depth, minerality, different fruit quality...

            American sparklers will never taste like Champagne...we don't have the chalk/limestone soil that gives Champagne a specific nuance.

        2. I definitely think there are sparkling wines that could hold their own against some of the less expensive/more reasonably priced Champagnes. We have domestic sparkling wines that are just as worthy as Moet, for instance. When you get into the premium Champagnes, however, I think they are in a class by themselves.

          1. Yep, as a Californian I'd agree French Champagne is the beat, and nobody bests France with the Pinot Noir grape, either. But with other wines ...