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“There is no Champagne but Champagne”















The “Champenoise Method” is today a protected terminology,

developed during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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It all starts with the harvest of the grapes that have reached maturity.


It takes place immediately after the harvest.

During pressing, the juice flows into special vats called belons.

The juice is then left to decant: this is the settling.

At the same time, the must is sulphited (grape juice), which consists of adding sulfur dioxide to protect the wine from oxidation in contact with oxygen in the air and to facilitate decantation.

Then the must is drawn off by pumping. The lees and the foam remain at the bottom of the belon.

The must is stored in stainless steel vats or in wooden vats to undergo the alcoholic fermentation.

As the pressing progresses, the skin and the pips will have an increasingly important influence on the must:
it is therefore necessary to split the pressing.

On a traditional press, 4000 kg of grapes are pressed in several stages.


The operation lasts approximately 4 hours:
- the first press, called cuvée, produces 2050 liters of must
- the second press gives the size, i.e. 450 liters of grape juice


We use the term "size" because in the past, between each press, the pressers cut the marc

with sharp spades. The marc refers to the 4000 kg of grapes that make up each press.

The authorized vinification rate is 1600 kg of grapes for 1000 liters of must.

Thus, 4000 kg of pressed grapes must give 2550 liters of juice.

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Alcoholic fermentation:it takes place in vats or exceptionally in oak barrels.

It lasts about 3 weeks to a month. Sugar is transformed into alcohol thanks to the action of yeasts.

This reaction is accompanied by the release of carbon dioxide.

During this phase, the wine bubbles and makes noise: this is boiling.

The tanks or barrels are not completely filled in order to avoid untimely overflows.

We complete gradually. This operation is called topping.

When this fermentation is complete, a first racking is carried out which eliminates

coarser deposits.

Malolactic fermentation:
it can be spontaneous or provoked.

It is a transformation of malic acid into lactic acid, under the action of specific bacteria.

The acid aspect of the wine is eliminated.

After these fermentations, the winegrower must clarify the wine, i.e. eliminate the particles

which remain and which would be harmful to the aromas. In the past, it was glued.

It was diluted with fish glue, gelatin, blood, egg white, chalk...

Then we practiced another racking.

Currently, the wine is filtered, using two methods: it is passed over a mixture

of marine micro-organisms, or above a plate filter fitted with specific paper.

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The assembly consists of marrying clear or still wines from terroirs, grape varieties

and different years to create the cuvées.

Most often, we play on these three parameters to maintain the identity of its last.


But we can retain only one of the three parameters mentioned above:
- a Vintage is created solely from wines from the same year.
- if you choose wines from the same grape variety, for example Chardonnay,

we then create a Champagne Blanc de blancs or a Champagne Blanc de noirs

with Pinot Noiror the Miller.

The taste of these champagnes is typical.
- finally, you can only reveal a single cru, that is to say a particular terroir, a municipality

or even a locality.

The assembly is not specific to champagne.

To make a Châteauneuf du Pape, for example, we have a range of 12 grape varieties;

more often than not, we also try to make a Vintage: we don't mix wines from different years. By comparison, some big champagne houses have a palette of around fifty wines to pair.

It is in Champagne that the art of blending is also advanced.

This operation takes place between February and April and can last up to five months,

during which the people responsible for the blend taste the wines, memorize them,

get acquainted with themin order to determine which ones will marry best.


Rosé champagne can be made in two ways, giving rise to two styles of rosé:



Champagne is the only appellation authorized to mix white and red wines. A small proportion of pinot noir vinified in red (or rosé des Riceys) is added to the white wine before the foaming.


As for a classic rosé, we proceed to a “saignée ” of the Pinot Noir vat.

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It takes place in the spring. It is neither more nor less than bottling.


Prepare it by adding:
- a liquor:we incorporate 24 grams of sugar per liter, which will allow to obtain a pressure

of 6 atmospheres.
- yeasts:they will degrade the sugar and this will release carbon dioxide responsible for the formation of bubbles.

The bottles are closed with a crown cap or draw cap.



The bottles are taken down to the cellar to be stacked

Lying horizontally on wooden slats:this is the beginning of the second fermentation.

The bottles are laid flat so as to maintain contact between the sedimentation

yeastsand wine.

The duration of the fermentation depends on the temperature. It must be low and constant: 10/12°C.

Generally, it lasts 6 months. The slower and more regular the fermentation, the finer the bubbles.

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The yeasts caused the foaming and continue to play a beneficial role after their death.

They restore the nitrogenous materials accumulated during their life.

These materials would be excellent carriers for aromas.

The fact that the bottles are lying down is very important: the wine remains in contact with the deposit that has formed over the entire length of the bottle.

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After this long period of rest, the wine must be restored to its clarity by eliminating the deposit

that formed during the prize de mousse.


Its purpose is to collect the sediments (yeasts and riddling additive) in the neck of the bottlein order to then eliminate them during the disgorging operation.

It is an ancestral process, you have to gradually move the bottles from the lying position

to the on tip position (upside down) in order to bring the deposit into the neck of the bottle.
This so-called “riddling” operation consists of turning the bottle successively to the right and to the left, then raising it to bring the deposit into the neck in contact with the capsule.

Manual riddling:

the operation is still sometimes manual, carried out on wooden desks.
It consists of turning the bottle 1/8 or 1/4 of a turn, to the left or to the right, from a line

of chalk drawn on the base, while gradually straightening it from horizontal to vertical.

These successive swings, reproduced for centuries by cellar masters,

allow the bulk of the deposit to pick up the smallest particles and thus obtain a perfectly clear wine.

A bottle is stirred manually an average of 25 times over a period of one and a half months.

Automation of riddling:

the operation is mechanized thanks to processes making it possible to stir metal boxes containing 500 bottles.
A gyro-pallet at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reduces the riddling time from approximately 6 weeks to 1 week,
without in any way modifying the quality of the wine.

Before being sent for disgorging, the bottles are stored “en masse”

(in stacks, heads down).




Disgorging consists in eliminating the deposit that the riddling has concentrated in the neck

of the bottle.Disgorging is a crucial moment in the life of the wine, after the time of maturation on the leeswhere no external event disturbed the wine.

Mechanical disgorging:

the neck of the bottle is immersed in a solution at approximately –27°C, thus forming an ice cube in the neck which traps the sediments which are there. When opened, the internal pressure allows the ice cube to be ejected while losing a minimum of wine and pressure. During this operation, a small amount of oxygen enters the cylinder, it will contribute,with the dosage liqueur added at this stage, to the evolution of the aromatic characteristics of the wine.

Manual disgorging:

for large containers and certain cuvées or small quantities, we still practice manual disgorging called “on the fly”: we hold the bottle upside downand it is opened by straightening it quickly so that the pressure expels the deposit without leavingspill too much wine.





The dosage is the last touch brought to the wine before the final corking of the bottle.

It corresponds to the addition of a small quantity of liqueur. The dosage depends on the type of wine

that we want to obtain. Dosage liqueur, also known as expedition liqueur is most often made of cane sugardissolved in wine at a rate of 500 to 750 g/l.

The quantity of liqueur used for the dosage depends on the type of wine that one wishes to obtain:
Soft more than 50 grams of sugar per liter
Semi-dry between 32 and 50 grams of sugar per liter
Dry between 17 and 32 grams of sugar per liter
Extra-dry between 12 and 17 grams of sugar per liter
Brut less than 12 grams of sugar per liter
Extra brut between 0 and 6 grams of sugar per liter

For a content of less than 3 grams and if the wine has not been subject to any addition of sugar,

the words brut nature, not dosed or zero dose can be used.
A final touch for the desired style. The role of dosage in the sensory evolution of wine can be weak or important.
If the operator wishes to preserve the integrity of the personality of his wine, his liqueur is as neutral as possible. The wine lost during the disgorgement is replaced by a little of the same wine combined with cane sugar.

On the contrary, the operator may wish to complete the style of his wine with a final touch of aromas.

In this case, he has previously prepared his liqueurs with great wines that he has stored for many years in barrels, casks, or even in magnums. He has thus built up a palette of aromas from which he will be able to choose the final touch he wants to give to his Champagne. A few months before the dosage, he proceeds to several tests of different liquors in order to select the one that best results in the style he is looking for.

Source: Champagne Committee

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Each vintage can finally be dressed and offered for sale.

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