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Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation. Champagne is not only the name of the wine, but the name of the place that it comes from. It is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France. Through international treaty, national law or quality-control/consumer protection related local regulations, most countries limit the use of the term to only those wines that come from the Champagne appellation.

In Europe, this principle is enshrined in the European Union by Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Other countries, such as the United States, have recognized the exclusive nature of this name, yet maintain a legal structure that allows longtime domestic producers of sparkling wine to continue to use the term "Champagne" under specific circumstances.

Champagne first gained world renown because of its association with the anointment of French kings. French kings were traditionally anointed in Reims and champagne wine was served as part of coronation festivities. Royalty from throughout Europe spread the message of the unique sparkling wine from Champagne and its association with luxury and power. The leading manufacturers devoted considerable energy to creating a history and identity for their wine, associating it and themselves with nobility and royalty.

Theoretically the best way to produce the best champagne is to mix together the best features of all the best grapes from all of the different areas. Each area stores millions of gallons of wine from the various vineyards for just such a purpose. The blends are produced from these varieties.

Nam Lee Cheong is a distributor of the illustrious A. R. Lenoble Champagne. To read more, click here.

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