Champagne is synonymous with luxury and celebration - who doesn't love cracking open a bottle of bubbly to mark life's greatest moments? But when it comes to what makes a good Champagne, we at Woodward Wines have the inside track.
The simple answer is terroir - the ground. It's the way the ground slopes, the way it looks towards the sun, how deep the roots of the vine go down into the soil. Whether the soil is chalky or sandy - all of those things will decide on the quality of the eventual grape and wine known as Champagne.
The main grape types are Chardonnay for white and Pinot Noir for red, which is pink Champagne. The colour comes from the pigment of the skin, so a light crush of a red grape will give you pink Champagne, and the top pink is made from a light crush of the Pinot Noir grape.
The way the growers themselves like to elevate their finer vineyards is by calling them Premier Cru or first growth. It's a quality level based on the amount of sugar in the grape and from that comes the backbone of the wine, which is a good volume of alcohol.
So, you have everything coming together, the soil, the sun, the roots going down into the ground, the quality of the grape itself, the skins determining the colour.
One mark of quality is if a Premier Cru or small grower puts their name on the bottle, you can be sure they're happy with the quality of their wine. If not, they sell it on to the big houses, like Moët & Chandon or numerous other brands.
Woodward Wines' range is available exclusively online, with private wine merchants on hand to offer advice about your selection.
Wines are sold directly either by the six-bottle box, or the case, and all our wines are priced by unit sales of 12, and start at £13.99. Delivery and returns information can be found here.