Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, Champagne is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to be labeled ‘Champagne’ within the EU and many New World countries, a wine must originate in this northeastern region of France and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide. Well-drained limestone chalk soil defines much of the region, lending a mineral component to the wines. The climate here is marginal—ample acidity is a requirement for sparkling wine, so overripe grapes are to be avoided. Weather differences from year to year create significant variation between vintages, and in order to maintain a consistent house style, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years.