Champagne is one of the most special products that you can buy. Champagne is one of the few products that symbolise quality and decadence and does so all over the world its appeal is truly universal. The producers of champagne have to go through a painstaking process in order to maintain the quality and appeal of their product.
There are 9 fundamental steps that need to be followed in order to make good Champagne. The steps are – picking the grapes, first fermentation, blending, bottling and 2nd fermentation, aging, remueruarge, degorgement (digorging), liquour d’expedition and corkage.
Champagne is usually made from Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grape varieties. Previously Arbanne, Chardonnay, Petit Meslier, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir grape varieties were all used to create champagne. Champagne manufacturers are still permitted to use all 7 varieties if they want to, but most do not do so. Champagne manufacturers are not permitted to use grapes cultivated anywhere else apart from in the Champagne region of France.
Champagne manufacturers are very attentive when they harvest, move and press his or her grapes. This is due to the fact it is crucial that the skin pigmentation doesn’t enter the juice and stain it. Therefore, the only juice that can be utilized to produce Champagne is the juice from the initial pressing.
First fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, which are held at 18-20C. The wine is tasted and blended by the head cellarer and their team. The resulting blend is then bottled along with the liquer de tirage so that 2nd fermentation can take place.2nd fermentation and aging takes at least a year and if it is a vintage wine it takes at least 3 years.
Once aged the champagne is disgorged, which means that the cork is struck off, the gas that has built up in the bottle bursts out expelling the sediment that has built up in the wine in the process.
A combination of sugar, brandy and reserved wines are put into the Champagne to make it sweet enough. After this the cork is put in and the Champagne bottle is enclosed with foil. The Champagne wine then goes on sale to the general public.
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