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Its adaptability to different soils and climates, and malleability in the wine room make Chardonnay one of the most popular and ubiquitous grapes. Responsible for some of the world’s most thrilling white wines wines including Champagne, it is in its homeland of Burgundy with villages such as Chablis, Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet that producers craft arguably some of the world’s finest wines. Chardonnay is also synonymous with California, where it can display riper, tropical fruit flavors, rather than the more restrained stone fruit and steely, mineral qualities often associated with its Old World and cool climate counterparts. While there are terrific fresh and vibrant Chardonnays made solely using stainless steel, the grape also knits terrifically well with oak, lending greater depth and weight in the form of a nutty, toasty and somtimes buttery component.
A country viewed by many as the home of fine wine, it is almost unique in terms of how embedded food and wine is in the nations culture. Given the diverse geography, with so much of the country providing the climate and soil suitable for viticulture, it is no surprise that its produces such an extensive and varied selection of wines. It is the country from where the vast majority of the New World's most popular "international" grapes and stylistic influences originate. While there might seem to be an alarming disparity between the most sought after wines (were a case might set you back as much as a deposit on a small house) and the millions of gallons of vin de table filling up the European wine lake every year, there is so much great value to be found between the two extremes. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhone may still dominate the market for fine wine, but regions including the Loire, Alsace, Languedoc & Roussillon and the South West are increasingly becoming excellent sources of good quality, affordable wines.
Two hundred miles south east of Paris lies the famous and historic wine region, known in French as Bourgogne. The Cote d'Or, the heartland of the region, consists of two distinct sub-regions split on either side of the town of Beaune.The Côte de Nuits to the north, includes the famous villages of Vosne-Romanee, Gevrey-Chambertin, and Nuits-Saint-Georges and are known primarily for making red wine from Pinot Noir.Although The Côte de Beaune to the south still makes some magnificent reds (see Volnay and Pommard), white wine made from Chardonnay is the main focus. The most famous villages are Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault. Burgundy has three other important regions. The village of Chablis (exclusively Chardonnay) encompassing the region's most northerly vineyards. The Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais to south are quantitatively speaking more important. Agriculture is more diverse with a significant portion of the land devoted to livestock and arable farming.
Sparkling wine is a wine with high levels of carbon dioxide in it making it bubble. The carbon dioxide is a result of natural fermentation, either in a bottle or a specially designed tank, or as a result of carbon dioxide injection.
Sparkling wine is usually white or rosé but there are many examples of red sparkling wines. The sweetness of sparkling wine can range from very dry "brut" styles to sweeter "doux" varieties.
When one thinks of sparkling wine they usually think of Champagne, but this wine is exclusively produced in the Champagne region of France and many sparkling wines are produced in other countries and regions. Most countries reserve the word Champagne for a specific type from the Champagne region of France. The French terms "Mousseux" or "Crémant" are used to refer to sparkling wine not made in the Champagne region. German and Austrian sparkling wines are called Sekt. The United States is a significant producer of sparkling wine with producers in numerous states. Recently the United Kingdom, which produced some of the earliest examples of sparkling wine, has started producing sparkling wines again.