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Sparkling wine. Named for the site of its origin, the Champagne region of northeastern France, it is made from only three grapes: pinot and meunier (both black) and chardonnay (white). The juice from these grapes is initially fermented in stainless-steel vats. A mixture of wine, sugar, and yeast is added, and it is then transferred to pressure tanks for a second fermentation that yields carbon dioxide and effervescence. It is chilled, sweetened, bottled, and left to mature. It generally has a crisp, flinty taste that varies in degree of sweetness, depending on the type.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on champagne, visit Britannica.com.