The Champagne legacy

Sparkling wines masquerading under the title of ‘Champagne’ are continuing to provoke traditionalists with their ‘illegitimate’ beverages. The American Champagne Bureau is protecting the authenticity of the French region, after a range of American producers labelled their sparkling wines as Champagne, despite an official ban since 2006. Reuters reports that Duck Walk Vineyards were advertising their Long Island wines as Champagnes, because they said most Americans ‘didn’t know there was a region in France called Champagne‘. 


Some American producers are proud of their sparkling wines. The reputable Robert Mondavi winery in California has recently released its first ever sparkling wine. There is no chance this one will be mistaken for Champagne – this US$10 wine is beingpaired with everyday comfort foodssuch as hot dogs, sausages and pulled pork. We wonder if this is the way of the future for wines – no-fuss wines matched with no-fuss foods. 


While trying to hold on to their legacy, Champagne producers must grapple with new competition. Prosecco is now marketed as an affordable, sophisticated alternative to Champagne – describes Prosecco as ‘Champagne’s Sexy Italian Cousin‘. And it seems at restaurants everywhere in Hong Kong, Prosecco is flavour of the month. 


The Champagne producers themselves do not seem too worried by the competition.According to Pierre Emmanuel, Taittinger’s chief executive, Champagne’s biggest threat is not other wines, but rather, viagra.