the 4 major regions
Delimited by a law in 1927, the Champagne Appellation area is composed of 319 villages or "crus" and covers 34,300 hectares, spread over 4 major regions: the Montagne de Reimsthe Marne Valley, the Côte des Blancs and the Côte des Bar.
authorized grape varieties
- Pinot Noir: it is the dominant grape variety of the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Bars. The Pinot Noir is a black grape variety with white juice and covers about 38% of the Champagne vineyard. It brings body and power to the blends and offers to the wines, aromas of red fruits and a marked structure.
- Chardonnay: it is a white grape with white juice and the king grape variety of the Côte des Blancs. It represents 30% of the Champagne vineyard. It is characterized by finesse and elegance and brings a lot of freshness and minerality to the wines.
- Pinot Meunier: 32% of the vineyard of Champagne is planted with Pinot Meunier. This black grape variety with white juice is mainly represented in the Marne Valley, gives supple and fruity wines and brings roundness to the blends.
Arbane, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, described as forgotten grape varieties, represent barely 0.3% of the vineyard.
an exceptional "terroir"
The cultivation of the vine and the elaboration of champagne are the result of an exceptional soil, of strict rules and of a know-how passed down from generation to generation where each step must be carried out with the highest care.
of the wines of Champagne
After a hand harvest, a slow pressing of the grapes allows the extraction of the juice without color.
Thus obtained, the musts will undergo their first fermentation. Under the action of yeasts, the sugar of the juices will be transformed it into alcohol and carbonic gas. Carried out in an "open" vat, this fermentation gives birth to "still" wines, which are not effervescent.
In the spring, each House will elaborate its blends by selecting the still wines that will go into theelaboration of each cuvée.
and the bottling
To obtain specific champagnes, the Houses blend different years and grape varieties but also
different terroirs in their "cuvées". The blends are bottled with an addition of sugar and yeast for a second alcoholic fermentation. Carried out in closed bottles, the carbonic gas dissolves in the wines and increases the pressure, it is the "prise de mousse", the birth of the effervescence!
Then, the "cuvée" begins a long period of maturation in the cellars, 15 months minimum for a traditional cuvée and 36 months for a vintage, which allows the development of its aromas.
At the end of this ageing process, the riddling begins. Its purpose is to bring down the deposit from the second fermentation, the yeasts, into the neck of the bottle, in order to remove it during the disgorging.
Disgorging consists of plunging the neck of the bottle into a freezing bath at -25°c to form an ice cube that traps the deposit. When the bottle is opened, the ice cube will be expelled under the effect of pressure.
Then the shipping liqueur is added. It is a small addition of sugar that will determine the difference between a Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Demi Sec or Doux champagne.
Then, the bottle receives its cork and the cap and the wire-muzzle.
To end the champagne making process, the bottles are labelled and after a new ageing, ready to be tasted!