From a simple name of a French province, Champagne has become a magic word that needs no translation in any language to be understood. It is synonymous with elegance and savoir vivre, style and refinement. Centuries ago, Champagne had already positioned itself with exclusivity, royalty and good times. Its relative scarcity ensured that the price was high and thus reserved for special occasions. Its connections with the lustful French Court ensured it remained the preferred drink of high rollers, a situation that seems to have persisted. Much of the art of great Champagne lies in blending: marrying wines from particular years, plots or grape varieties. Each grape variety has its own characteristics. Chardonnay gives wine with a greenish-gold tinge, refined and long on the palate; rather assertively crisp when young but more expansive once it has acquired its sparkle. Pinot Noir vinified as a white wine (not red as in Burgundy) gives a pale gold wine with a sustained but ingressive nose, full-bodied and generous - a wine for keeping. Meunier is slightly pink and lacks the backbone of Pinot Noir, but has a fruity, well-rounded flavour. Nicks Wine Merchants continue to ship directly from small and large producers, bringing lesser known labels to the attention of Australian Champagne enthusiasts. We also frequently offer very special deals from bigger houses. When you buy Champagne online at www.nicks.com.au, you can have it shipped Australia wide free of charge for orders over $200.