Champagne, MCC, Bubbly, Sparkling – Know the diff!

We have all been there at some stage, especially those of us that enjoy our wine. When someone says “I will bring the Champagne!” and then arrives with a sweet sparkling. Oh the sheer disappointment that runs all over your face and that snobby little, inside voice that says “Oh darling, that Sparkling is not Champagne.”

But how do you explain it all to them without making them feel utterly stupid and further entrenching yourself as the “snobby one”.

Here are my top 5 tips for teaching your wine commoners some snobby skills:

1. Use the acronym – MCC

Don’t ever use pet names like “bubbly” or “Bubbles”. Because we are in South Africa, most good “bubblies” are Méthode Cap Classique (MCC). Always check the label. So whenever with friends use the word “MCC” as much as possible. Better still, call it “Champagne” and them immediately correct yourself by saying “I mean MCC.”  I guarantee, they will ask you what it stands for and you can do all the explaining and feel like a pro.

2. Exercise surprise and delight

Phrases like “Oh my word, I tasted this amazing Champagne over the weekend!” It is a “wow” moment and they will probably ask you what you tasted and where you enjoyed it. Now you can explain how amazing it was to taste real Champagne all the way from the city of Champagne in France instead of the normal MCC from South Africa. If the penny doesn’t drop by now, then you will need to pull out all the stops and proceed to step 5.

3. Connect the Origin

I find that it helps to ask friends if they would like South African or French. Depending on their answer, reply with MCC or Champagne it is!

4. Ask about the method

You will be surprised how a simple Google about were and how the bubbly is produced can start a conversation. This way you can exaggerate what type of bubbly it is.

5. Tell it to them straight

Yes, this may seem obvious but sometimes it is best just to tell them straight in a one on one conversation.

If you have no idea what the hell I have been talking about, perhaps you are a little out of the “know”. So here it is – a shortened, basic version of the differences:

  • Champagne is made in Champagne France and is registered to the region. Similar to how “Rooibos” is registered in South Africa. It is pretty much an industry copywright for that country. Only Rooibos tea is made in South Africa, all other countries who produce the same tea must call it “Red Bush” or something else. It is exactly the same for Champagne.
  • Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) is made in South Africa using the exact same method as the French do to make Champagne. The wine is rested in the bottle on the lees for 2-8 years. The result is a naturally, bubbly wine due to fermentation. We cannot call it Champagne because it is made in South Africa, so we call it MCC!
  • Sparkling wine is just normal wine that is injected with CO2 exactly like soft drinks.
  • Bubbly/Bubbles is a pet name used by post people who are not too sure what they are drinking but it is fizzy 😀

So there you have it. If you were a wine commoner at the start of this article you are certainly not one anymore! 😀  If you are a wine snob, good luck explaining it to  your wine commoners.





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