Guilty. I’m guilty of making new year’s resolutions that do not last beyond the 31st of January. Another year’s gym membership has gone unused and my runners still look new. But what if I could tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too? You can with champagne.
Very often when I am hosting Masterclasses - educating people in champagne - I have guests with allergies or reactions to still wine tell me that they can drink champagne without any health issues or reactions, That’s right, not sparkling wine – champagne!
To start with champagne is one of the healthiest wine choices. The bubbles act as a natural preservative and an antioxidant to the wine, therefore the winemaker doesn’t need to add as much sulphur as they would to a still wine. Sulphur is a natural compound that is found in most wine even if the wine is completely organic. It is used to stabilise a product that is ultimately completely natural and therefore prone to deterioration. Sulphur is often the culprit that gives you the ruddy cheeks, headache and foggy head the next day – me included. There are lower levels of sulphur in champagne in general, but even more so with the small growers of champagne who practice organics - and therefore this is a huge tick for healthy consumption.
In Champagne at present we also have a huge movement towards more organic methods of viticulture. There are vineyards and winemakers who are staunchly determined to minimise or eliminate the use of pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and other nasties in the vines and wines. Unfortunately, dedicated organic and biodynamic champagnes are rarely listed on the packaging. The good news is that Emperor has a dedicated organic section which has done the hard work of finding the most natural champagnes for you.
Lastly, we have a wine concept in champagne called ‘dosage’. Dosage is a little ‘dose’ of sugar which is the final part of influence the wine maker has over the champagne. It involves a small injection of sugar (normally cane sugar mixed with base wine) which is designed to balance out the naturally high acidity in champagne which is a result of growing grapes in a cool climate region. When I started work in the Champagne region over a decade ago, the average dosage in champagne was 14 grams per litre, today it is 9 grams per litre. Most champagne houses are bringing the dosage down as our palates desire less sweetness and global warming is giving more natural ripeness to grapes.
There is a super healthy style of champagne known as extra-brut (brut meaning dry) or otherwise called ultra brut, which have even lower levels of sugar added to the champagne! Winning. This is the perfect way to retain your new year’s resolution and while still rewarding yourself. If you are really keen to try something that takes extra dry (and extra healthy) to the next level then look for a zero-dosage champagne which has no added sugar at all. You will find these listed on the Emperor website in the ‘Ultra Brut’ section.This year you need not feel guilty by having a glass of champagne whilst trying to deliver on your freshly penned resolutions. Opt for an organic, ultra brut champagne and why not have two glasses as well! You are welcome!