More than 15.000 wine growers are responsible for the cultivation of 90% of the Champagne region. Some produce their own wines; some sell their grapes to other (bigger) Champagne Houses.
Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of the wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir’ than others.
According to the law of 1927, the part of the appellation Champagne covers 34.000 hectares.
Champagne is best to be stored at a temperature around 7-12 °C.
Champagne is best to be served at a temperature around 8-10 °C.
The size of the bubbles of Champagne is a result of how cold it was in the cellar. The colder the cellar, the smaller the bubbles and the better the quality.
1 bottle of Champagne contains about 1,2 kg grapes.
Only wine of grapes that are cultivated in the Champagne region by the Méthode Traditionelle are allowed to carry the name Champagne.
About 90% of the Champagnes are a blend of 2/3 black grapes and 1/3 Chardonnay.
Typical for Champagne is that it consists of a blend of wines from different vintages.
Sparkling wines such as Prosecco, Cava and Sekt are made of an other quality and variety of grapes than the ones used in the Champagne region.
A Riddler: A person who shakes, turns and moves the bottles in order for the sediment float into the bottleneck. A Riddler normally handles 20,000 to 30,000 bottles per day.
Grand Cru or Premier Cru refers to the best-rated villages of the Champagne region. There are 17 Grand Crus, for example: Ambonnay, Avize, Aye, Bouzy, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Tours-sur-Marne and 41 Premier Crus, for example: Chouilly, Hautvillier, Marcel-sur-Ay.
Champagne varies in price. However, a good Champagne does not have to be expensive, just let your personal taste decide which type of Champagne fits your budget.
Cuvée: the first pressing
Taille: the second pressing
Débourbage:undoing the impurities from the pressed grape juice.
Chaptalization process: adding sugar to the juice to increase the alcohol percentage. The yeast in the barrels transforms the sugar into alcohol.
Malolactic fermentation: the bacteria’s that change the malic acid into lactic acid.
The reserve wine gives Champagne the taste of consistent stability.
After the main production process, the Champagne wine has to be kept in the cellars for a few years in order to get the mild taste.
Non Vintage Champagnes have to be stored in the cellars for a minimum of 15 months and Vintage Champagnes for a minimum of 3 years.
The longer the Champagne ripens in the cellars, the better the taste. However, this is only applicable when the yeast is in the bottle. Dead yeast cells give the Champagne the taste of bread dough and brioche.
In the early days the Champagne was drunk with the sediment still in it.