Kleenex & Champagne

We have several boxes of Kleenex around our house so it’s always nearby. We typically buy a bulk package from Target of their “up & up” brand. If you look at these boxes and the same for other brands, they’re called facial issues. But don’t we refer to them as “Kleenex” much more often without thinking even though they’re not the Kleenex brand? Doesn’t saying “facial tissues” come across just awkward?

It’s similar to how many refer to all sparkling wines as “Champagne” although they might not be from the Champagne region. And over time, especially in the EU, there’s been a cracking down of the nomenclature even when labeling how the wine was made. The simple takeaway is that Champagne is sparkling wine, but sparkling wine isn’t necessarily Champagne. This should be a candidate for a logic question on the SAT.

Champagne, without a doubt, makes the best sparkling wine in the world, with cooler climate, the varied soil bases that fit the grapes planted in those locations, the length of time that the wines are aged, and the overall care. What this brings though is a higher price tag overall. Many of us end up buying other styles of sparkling wine and decide if we want a good value made in the same method as Champagne or something completely different. If you’re into Champagne, many come to us because one company’s brands control two-thirds of the market and they’re not good values. We work with many of the smaller producers without the marketing budget.

Methode Champenoise, or the traditional method in other regions, creates sparkling wine from carbonation created by a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Other parts of France will call it Cremant, Spain typically goes with Cava, and Italy has a lesser known spot called Franciacorta. And the longer the wine is aged on the dead yeast, or lees, in the bottle, the more character and flavor that are produced. Franciacorta is one of those under the radar zones with aging requirements more stringent than Champagne. The minimum aging on the lees is 18 months.

When you you look at popular wines like Moscato and Prosecco, you’ll notice they’re bigger on the fruit flavor (aside from any sweetness) and just seem fresher. They’re made with the Charmat method. The secondary fermentation is in a separate wine tank before the wine is transferred to bottle when it’s ready for release. We like these wines for the fruit flavors so why mess them up with extended aging?

Sparkling wine is an everyday wine and you don’t need a special occasion. It’s one of the best wines with food and the carbonation just makes it even more delicious and fun to drink. We’re not always on a Champagne budget but we are on a Methode Traditionnelle budget. If you’re near the shop tonight, you’ll want to stop and check out these four wines made in that method. The tasting is only $15. We’re excited to share some Berlucci Franciacorta with you and it’s only $24.99 right now.