Subscribe (free) to
The 30 Second
Wine Advisor
and daily

past issues of
Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor Express:
Sparkling wine or Champagne?

As most of us know, the term "Champagne" is properly used only for the wines from the French region of that name. In fact, in most of the world this is a matter of law: It is illegal to label a sparkling wine "Champagne" if it's not the real thing. (The United States has declined to sign on to this international agreement, but even here, only a few brands violate the spirit of the rule, and - make of this what you will - the exceptions are generally cheap and not particularly appealing bubblies.)

Today's wine is French, but it's not from Champagne but the Loire Valley, home of palatial chateaus and excellent wine. The label bears the term "Methode traditionnelle" or "traditional method," which takes a bow to the heritage of Champagne without naming names.

Foreau non-vintage Vouvray Brut ($14.99)
Pale gold, with a persistent stream of pinpoint bubbles. Fresh scents of apples dance with an earthy whiff of truffles in a complex and interesting aroma. It's crisp and dry in flavor, prickly and tart. A very good wine, it's a fine substitute for Champagne at about half the price of the real thing. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (May 22, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: As discussed in a recent article, sparkling wines match quite well with spicy fare; this one made a quenching partner with channa bhaji, an Indian chickpea curry.

Express Notes:

This is Wine Advisor Express, the new, quick daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. To change your E-mail address, switch from daily to the weekly (Mondays only) distribution, or for any other administrative matters, E-mail Please be sure to include the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so we can find your record.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe (free) to The 30 Second Wine Advisor