So why is Champagne so "special?"
It does beg the (possibly naive) question: if you can basically make the same thing anywhere, why does it matter if it's from Champagne, anyway?
"Sure, a lot of the reputation might be based around tradition and pedigree," Perkins said. "But, you also can't discount the consistent level of quality that continues to come from the champagne region of France. The big difference here comes down to the soil."
The soil -- and by extension the grapes -- in Champagne has a natural advantage over the rest of the world, as it is the perfect climate to raise the mineral-y, acidic grapes needed for an ideal bottle of champagne.
And as far as the notoriously high costs go….
"It's a relatively small region, and clearly, making champagne is an extremely labor-intensive process," Perkins said. "Again, we are talking about years and years of cultivation, then even more years of fermentation and aging… up to 30 years in some cases. And it's all done on a bottle by bottle basis."
Time is money. And Champagne takes a lot of time.
"The big takeaway, is that Champagne definitely has earned its reputation. And every bottle of Champagne has followed rigorous, time-consuming guidelines to end with that designation. But, there are definitely other sparkling wines that are worth your time."
So if you want a "Champagne experience" on a Prosecco-esque budget, check the label. If your wine was made in the Traditional method, or Méthode Champenoise -- you're getting almost the same thing.
"Still, you should spring for a bottle of actual Champagne, at least once," Perkins said. "It's worth it."
We tend to agree with that statement.