Making sparkling wine in England? The climate conditions are changing and now Taittinger, of Champagne, France, had purchased land in the English region of Kent to start making sparkling wines in England. That brand also has vineyards and a sparkling wine facility in the Carneros region, (Domaine Carneros) between the Napa Valley and Sonoma. This Napa-Sonoma region in California has the climate the champagne grapes love, due to the cooling influence of the San Francisco Bay with its summer fog. Taittinger is not the only French champagne house to locate a winery in California: both Roederer and Mumm have wineries there, and I had the pleasure of working in the visitors' center at Mumm Napa.
Many people are surprised to learn that the main ingredient in a traditional champagne is the red grape, pinot noir. This grape is often blended with chardonnay, and perhaps a touch of pinot meunier. If the wine is labelled “blanc de blancs” it means it is entirely chardonnay. In France, the region the wine comes from is its identity, not the grape the wine is made from. So even though an American sparkling wine of quality (like the brands mentioned above) is made from exactly the same grapes and the same production method, called Méthode Champenoise, it still must be called “sparkling wine”. This is to protect the French system of “appellations” of place of origin.
Wouldn't you like to know how to properly pronounce French wines and grape varieties? Remember I offer tutoring sessions where you can bring your questions and I can help you. And if you already speak some French think about taking my course, Mastering French Pronunciation which will be available in January. It gives you the tools to correct your English language accent and sound more like a native. Visit my website, pronouncingFrench.com for more information.