What is Blanc de Blancs? Champagne and Sparkling Wines

blanc de blanc image

Blanc de Blancs is a sparkling wine made exclusively from white grapes (usually Chardonnay). Blanc de Noir, on the other hand, is a white sparkling wine made from red grapes.

Origin

Blanc de Blancs means “white from whites” in French and comes from the Champagne region in France. It’s a type of sparkling white wine, but what makes it special is that it’s made only from Chardonnay grapes, unlike regular Champagne, which uses a mix of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

So, while Champagne has a blend of different grapes, Blanc de Blancs sticks to just Chardonnay. This choice gives the wine a crisp and bright taste with a bit of mineral flavor. Winemakers in Champagne are known for their skill in making this wine, emphasizing the unique qualities of Chardonnay.

Taste Profile of Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Blancs, especially from Champagne in France, has a unique taste that makes it stand out among sparkling wines. It’s made only from Chardonnay grapes, giving it a refreshing and clean flavor with lively acidity.

It has lively aromas of citrus fruits like lemon and lime, along with notes of green apple, pear, and a touch of brioche, creating a fresh and elegant profile.

The wine also has a touch of minerality, which adds depth and complexity, coming from the specific soil where the grapes are grown. Sometimes, there’s a subtle yeasty taste, like pastry, which develops during fermentation, giving the wine a sophisticated character.

Several things influence the taste of Blanc de Blancs champagne. First, the location where the grapes grow matters – whether it’s on a sunny hill or in a cooler valley affects the flavor. The winemaker’s style adds personal touches, and the amount of sugar added (called dosage) and how long the wine sits on yeast cells (lees aging) also play a role.

celebrating with blanc de noir

Global Production of Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Blanc, once exclusive to the Champagne region of France, has transcended its origins to become a global sensation, with production extending far beyond the renowned French vineyards. This sparkling wine is now crafted in various countries around the world, each bringing its own unique twist to the traditional Blanc de Blancs style.

The expansion beyond Champagne showcases the global appeal of Blanc de Blancs, with winemakers from diverse regions putting their own stamp on this exquisite sparkling wine. France, Spain, Italy, Germany, England, South Africa, and the United States are just a few of the many countries contributing to the worldwide production of Blanc de Blancs.

The tradition of using Chardonnay grapes remains a common thread in the global production of Blanc de Blanc wines. While each region may have its own terroir and winemaking practices, the choice of Chardonnay ensures that the fundamental elegance and purity associated with Blanc de Blancs are maintained.

Chardonnay’s versatility as a grape variety allows winemakers to express the unique characteristics of their vineyards while upholding the tradition of crafting a sparkling wine with a distinct focus on white grapes.

Sweetness Levels in Blanc de Blancs

So, is Blanc de Blancs sweet? No, it’s generally dry. The sweetness levels are determined by something called “dosage,” which is a mix of wine and sugar added right before sealing the bottle.

Here’s a simple guide to understand how sweet Blanc de Blancs champagne can be:

  • Doux: Very sweet, with more than 50 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Demi-sec: Moderately sweet, with 32-50 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Sec: A bit drier than Demi-sec, with 17-32 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Extra dry: Despite the name, it’s a bit sweet, with 12-17 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Brut: The most common, not too sweet, with less than 12 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Extra brut: Even drier than Brut, with 0-6 grams of sugar per liter.

  • Brut nature: The driest, with 0-3 grams of sugar per liter.

lunch time

Pairing Blanc de Blancs with Food

Blanc de Blancs is celebrated for its crisp acidity, bright citrus aromas, and an overall elegant taste that makes it a versatile companion for a variety of dishes. Let’s explore some food pairing options across different food categories:

This system helps you pick Blanc de Blancs based on how sweet or dry you like your sparkling wine. So, if you prefer less sweetness, go for Brut or Extra brut. If you like it a bit sweet, try Extra dry or Sec. And if you want the sweetest, go for Doux.

Appetizers and Canapés

Perfect for starting your meal, it adds a festive touch to bruschettas and cheese puffs.

The wine’s acidity balances creamy cheeses like brie and contrasts with the saltiness of aged cheeses. Create a diverse cheese platter harmonized by Blanc de Blancs.

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Brunch & Vegetarian Dishes

It enhances the freshness of salads, grilled veggies, and light pasta dishes, adding vibrancy.

Pair it with eggs Benedict or smoked salmon for a bubbly brunch, adding a celebratory touch.

Seafood & Poultry

The wine’s acidity complements seafood, making it perfect for oysters, shrimp, or scallops. The bubbles enhance the freshness, creating a seaside feast.

Blanc de Blancs’ vibrant acidity pairs well with chicken dishes, cutting through richness. Try it with roast chicken or chicken Alfredo for added complexity.

Sushi and Asian Cuisine

Pairs beautifully with sushi, its crisp profile complementing delicate flavors, serving as a palate cleanser between bites.

Ideal for spicy dishes, Blanc de Blancs cools the palate and complements bold flavors in Thai curry or Mexican fare.

Stan Kushkin

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