Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Are any Champagnes made without Chardonnay grapes?
—Rochelle, United Kingdom
Champagne, the sparkling wine that comes only from the Champagne region of France, is made almost always from a combination of some or all of three grapes: the white grape Chardonnay and the red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. (Champagne also permits some heritage grapes—Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, Arbane and Pinot Gris—that are starting to gain renewed attention.)
If you’re looking for Champagne that doesn’t contain Chardonnay, you should look for wines labeled “blanc de noirs” (“white of blacks”), which refers to sparkling wine made exclusively from red grapes. (And just FYI, Champagnes made exclusively from white grapes are called “blanc de blancs.”)