Can You Make Champagne Outside of France?
No, you cannot. The number one difference between Champagne and other sparkling wines is that Champagne is only produced in the Champagne region of France.
You may already be familiar with Champagne-style classic-method sparkling wines like Crémant and Cava, as opposed to tank-method wines like Prosecco, but there is a whole world of bubbly out there, made in the same way, aged on the lees, and produced with great care and attention to the complex aromas and flavors that develop during a second fermentation in the bottle.
Check out these four sparkling wines from England, Italy, Brazil, and California!
They may not be Champagne, but they offer brilliant bubble, an array of quintessential aromas plus signature of their own unique terroir.
Harrow & Hope, Blanc de Blancs 2014 (England)
A small family winery operating in in Marlow, England in the Thames Valley, co-owner, Henry Laithwaite came from a line of wine connoisseurs and brokers but never imagined he would producing his own English wine, let-alone a sparkling Champenoise style. The new wave of English sparkling wines was just picking up when he and his wife Kaye decided to return from winemaking adventures abroad to start a family at home. They found the chalk-rich soils of the Thames Valley and the cool climate ideal for growing Champagne grapes like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
Their Blanc de Blancs is made in traditional method, with 100% Chardonnay grapes. The base wine is barrel fermented and aged for 6 months prior to bottling and aging on the lees for three years. It has rich full aromas and a texture.
DUBL (Feudi di San Gregorio), DUBL+ Brut Millesimato (Italy)
In 2004, historic producers in Irpinia (Campania) Feudi di San Gregorio, began producing metodo classico wine with their finest selections of Greco, Falanghina, and Aglianico. To assist them in the winery they consulted with Anselme Selosse, a small producer from the Champagne region of Avize. Their goal was to exalt the volcanic nature of their terroir and express the classical flavors of indigenous grapes in a sparkling wine.
DUBL + is made from 100% Greco grapes and aged on the lees for 24 months. The wine has a fresh and searing nose of citrus and tropical fruit and flowers. It hits the palate with bracing acidity, a consistent perlage, and a mouthwatering mineral finish, a nod to nearby Mount Vesuvius and their unique soil type.
Cave Geisse, Nature (Brazil)
A boutique, family-run property located Pinto Bandeira, in southern Brazil. The Geisse family, originally from Chile, discovered the southern microclimate soil and the particularly favorable for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The wine is made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and aged on the lees for a minimum of 24 months. It’s vinified nearly bone dry (nature or brut sauvage) and has an extraordinary pop of fresh mineral-tinted fruit and toasted nuts on the nose. The wine sparkles on the palate and finishes with a lingering, and pleasant bitter almond note.
Watch our creative wine review of Cave Geisse ‘Nature‘ set to a Bossanova tune!
Schramsberg, Mirabelle Brut Rosé (California)
Founded in 1965 and built on the foundations of a 19th-century Victorian mansion with rambling gardens and historic wine cellars in St. Helena, California. Schramsberg exudes class and elegance. They set their sights on producing Champenoise wines on American soil and source their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from a variety of cool-climate North Coast vineyards located in Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, and blend to specification as determined by the harvest year climate and the winemaker’s advice how to best express the grape the growing area. They barrel-ferment a small percentage of their base wine to add creamy, nutty complexity to finished product.
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Mirabelle Brut Rosé is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It ages on the lees for a minimum of one year, and in the bottle for two. The wine exudes a classic California creaminess on the nose, but hits the palate with bursts of fresh fruit and balanced acidity.
To learn more about Champagne and sparkling wines, check out our guide to sparkling wine!