ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Everyone knows that sparkling wine from Champagne is called “Champagne.” But can they make still wine there as well, or is only sparkling allowed in the region? And would we still call it Champagne?

—Justin J., Edmonton, Alberta

Dear Justin,

Good question. Yes, these days, most folks only use the term “Champagne” to refer to the stuff from the Champagne region of France. Most of it is bubbly, but some still wine is made. The Coteaux Champenois appellation in Champagne is where still wines—mostly reds made from Pinot Noir, one of the grapes also used to make the bubbly stuff—are made in small quantities. Very little of it is exported to the United States, which is a shame, because I’ve tried a version from Bollinger that was fantastic.

So, yes, some still wine is made in Champagne, but it will carry the “Coteaux Champenois” designation and not “Champagne.”

—Dr. Vinny


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