Champagne is a region in the north-east of France famous the world over for its sparkling wine of the same name and concentrated around the towns of Reims, Epernay and Ay.Vines are cultivated near the northern-most extreme of latitude for viticulture, and the cool climate results in the high acidity that is necessary for the production of high-quality sparkling wines. Vineyards can be generally categorised as chalky plains, lending the wines an inherent mineral character.Wines are made (according to strict regulations) by the method known as methode traditionelle, or methode Champenoise. This involves, but is not limited to, the use of certain grape varieties grown within the Champagne region - namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (a few other local varieties are permitted in theory but in practice are rarely used) and importantly, the secondary fermentation that results in the all-important bubbles, must take place in the bottle.Other regions around the world have imported this method, most notably California, New Zealand and Australia, but few producers rival the quality of sparkling wine to be found in Champagne.

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