Yes, champagne is a type of wine. More specifically, it is a sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France. While the term "wine" typically refers to the fermented juice of grapes, champagne undergoes a unique production process that sets it apart from still wines.
Champagne is made from specific grape varieties, primarily Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The grapes are harvested and undergo a process called primary fermentation, where the sugars in the grape juice are converted into alcohol by yeast. However, what distinguishes champagne from other wines is its secondary fermentation, which occurs in the bottle.
After the primary fermentation, a mixture of sugar and yeast, known as the "liqueur de tirage," is added to the wine. This triggers a second fermentation, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide gas. Since the carbon dioxide is trapped within the bottle, it creates the characteristic bubbles and effervescence that champagne is known for.
The secondary fermentation also contributes to the complexity and flavor profile of champagne. The wine is aged on its lees (spent yeast cells), which imparts additional aromas and flavors. After this aging process, the wine is typically disgorged to remove the sediment, and a small amount of sugar, known as the "dosage," may be added to adjust the sweetness level.
Champagne is known for its elegance, finesse, and celebratory nature. It is enjoyed on its own as an aperitif or as a versatile accompaniment to various foods. From dry to sweet, champagne offers a range of styles to suit different preferences.
So, while champagne is a distinct category of wine due to its effervescence and unique production method, it is indeed a type of wine, made from grapes and enjoyed by wine enthusiasts worldwide.