Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not every sparkling wine is champagne. The name “Champagne” is protected by international agreements, only sparkling wines produced under special conditions in the Champagne region of France take this name. 3 types of grapes are used in the production of champagne: Pinor Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The proportion of grapes to be mixed is a decision by the champagne producer, who blends wines from different years to prepare the base wine (cuvée). The difference in flavor of different products is also due to the manufacturers’ blending in their own unique proportions.
Champagne is produced annually, usually by blending the grapes of many years, but champagne produced from the grapes of a good harvest season is seldom produced. Seasonal variation in the Champagne region and therefore the grape quality varies over the years. In the years when the harvest is good, producers use the grape of that year in the production of champagne and the date of that harvest is written on the bottle. Champagne bottles produced by blending other years’ wines have the letters NV (non-vintage) on their bottles. In order for a harvest year to be written in a champagne, 80% of the grapes must belong to that year.