Sparkling Wines – Champenoise Method (2)

Sparkling Wines - Champenoise Method (2)

Champagne is a unique drink that possesses special characteristics. In 1927, the French government approved a law that limited the types of grapes that could be used in the production of traditional Champagne. Among them were varieties such as pinot noir, meunier, chardonnay, pinot blanc, pinot gris, arbanne, and petit meslier.
Later, in the 1930s, there was an overproduction crisis that affected sales and grape prices. As a result, Champagne producers pushed for a new decree in 1935 that established quality standards for maximum yield, minimum alcohol content, pressing yield, and aging. Although these standards vary each year, they ensure that only the highest quality Champagne is produced.
Tasting 'méthode champenoise' by Mumm
Producing 2666 liters of Champagne requires 4000 kilograms of grapes. Only 102 liters of must, which translates to approximately 133 75-centiliter bottles of wine, are obtained from 160 kilograms of grapes, after accounting for losses during vinification and disgorging. Champagne is distinguished from other wines by the use of different grape varieties and vintages, which allows for consistent quality.
Hambledon Vineyard Brut 2010 Vintage English Sparkling Wine

Although it is not mandatory to blend wines from the same year, this practice is common for high-quality wines. Unlike other wines, white and red wines can be combined to create rosé Champagne. Additionally, there is a method that involves adding a small amount of red wine must to achieve a light pink hue in the Champagne.

It is feasible to indicate on a wine bottle the harvest year, terroir (e.g., grand cru or premier cru), and disgorgement date, which refers to the process of removing sediments during the second fermentation.

Various grape varieties are used in the production of Champagne, including arbanne, petit meslier, pinot de juillet, pinot gris, pinot rosé, pinot blanc, and chenin blanc. However, most Champagne production is concentrated in three highly valued grape types: blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, and meunier.

Chardonnay, a white grape variety, represents 26% of the cultivated area and is mainly grown in the Cote de Blancs on chalky soils. This grape contributes to the finesse, elegance, nerve, and minerality of wines and is characterized by its ability to improve with age. In the production of Champagne, chardonnay adds delicacy and floral notes to young champagnes and allows the wine to age optimally.
Pinot noir is a red grape variety with white pulp that represents 37% of the total cultivated area. This grape is preferred for the production of red wines from Burgundy and is the main variety found in the regions of Montagne de Reims, Cote des Bars, and the Marne Valley. Pinot noir adds fragrance of ripe red fruits to blends and gives them strength and body.
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Pinot meunier is a red grape variety with white flesh that represents around 37% of the total cultivated area. It is mainly grown in the Marne Valley and the Massif of Saint Thierry regions. This grape is commonly used in blends due to its strong fruity aroma and faster maturation compared to chardonnay.
In the process of blending blanc de blanc and blanc de noir in the production of Champagne, it is essential to consider three crucial factors: terroirs, grape varieties, and vintages. None of these parameters should be overlooked during the blending process.

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