The champagne is indeed part of the family of wines, it comes from the same grapes.
Another interesting fact (and myth to break right away), Champagnes are sparkling wines made in the Champagne region. So yes, a champagne is a sparkling wine, just like the crémant wine for example. But for questions of understanding, we are going to say champagne.
Anyway, how do we make champagne?
Already, we can develop this wine with white grapes and / or black grapes. So we will say:
- Blanc de blanc : if it is made with only white grapes.
- Blanc de noir : if it is made with black grapes only.
- champagne classique : if it is developed with both.
The grapes used to make champagne are the same as for wines. These include: Chardonnay (particularly Chardonnay), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The black grapes used by the colorless pulp, which explains why this drink is not red.
To make champagne, the steps are the same as for making white wine, with one difference; we add a step, the foam, to give birth to the famous bubbles.
To make champagne we have in the order of creation:
With a machine, the grapes are pressed to separate the juice and the dandruff (skin, pips, bunch …). So we have colorless juice.
II. Alcoholic fermentation
We put the juice in the tank taking care to remove the mud (skin, seeds, bunch …). Most of the time, we add yeast, which mixed with the sugar of the juice will create the alcohol!
In this step, we mix the grapes that we fermented. You can also mix the new mixture with old wines that have been preserved. Thus, we can keep the personality of our wine.
IV. Wine bottling
We put the wine in the bottle. Before closing the bottle, draw liquor is added. It is simply a mixture of yeast and sugar that we add before closing the bottle with a temporary capsule.
Thanks to the liqueur de tirage, a second alcoholic fermentation is created in the bottle. The bottle being closed, carbon dioxide can not escape from the bottle. The famous bubbles are created!
VI. Breeding and riddling
We keep the bottles from 2 to 5 years in cellar according to the desired prestige. The bottles are first lying down but gradually raised up to be head down. By doing this, we accumulate the dead yeasts against the capsule.
At the time, this step was the most delicate because it was necessary to remove the capsule to remove the yeast deposit and quickly straighten the bottle to avoid losses. Now, we freeze the neck of the bottle. By removing the capsule, the now frozen yeast deposit is expelled by pressure and losses are avoided.
In the last stage, the winemaker can at his pleasure add a liquor composed of wine and sugar, which will sweeten the result more or less. We talk about the dosage of champagne. We will therefore have in the order from least sweet to the sweetest: unmeasured, extra raw, raw, dry, semi-dry and sweet.
Finally, we put the final cork and the muselet. The champagne is ready!
And champagne rosé? To get the famous rosé, we add a step to all that. The juice is macerated in the skins of red grapes to extract the color, all the rest is identical!
A few tips
How to store your champagne bottles?
It is enough to place them in a space without light, humid enough and ideally without variation of temperature (about 10 ° is the ideal). It is also necessary to keep the bottles lying down so that the cap is in contact with the liquid. You will have probably already guessed but the best place is a wine cellar.
When and with what to serve champagne?
Ideally, it will be served as an aperitif, with delicacies such as smoked salmon, tarama or tuna rillettes. You can also serve it with chewable vegetables or diced cheese! In contrast, avoid too salty foods like chips or peanuts, you will lose taste.
Obviously it can also be served as a dessert with chocolate or fruity dishes such as pear for example.
Do I have to serve my champagne in a champagne glass?
We must allow time for the bubbles to evolve, but you do not want too many bubbles. The champagne glass is therefore perfectly suited for this drink. Serve it in another glass is obviously possible, but you will lose in flavor and aroma …
I opened my champagne but did not finish it, how can I keep it?
Alas, the myth of the spoon is useless … Just put the bottle directly to the fridge and it will keep about 24 hours before losing its bubbles significantly. However, there are special corks designed to preserve champagnes.
Anecdotes for meals
- In a 10cl cup of champagne, you can count up to 1 million bubbles! The more adventurous can count themselves to check.
- The oldest champagne house is the Gosset house. Still active today, she started creating her products in 1584!
- A cork of Champagne could reach 40 km / h when it is evicted by the pressure contained in the bottle. Avoid aiming at your walls or your friends, it will save lives!
- The French department that consumes the most champagne is … Guadeloupe. In some years, consumption of champagne even exceeds rum consumption.
Some champagnes names
Here are some of the most prestigious and famous champagnes names:
Heidsieck, Dom Perignon, Krug, Louis Roederer, Perrier-Jouët, Boërl et Kroff, Moët et Chandon…
You’ve probably seen one of these brands in a restaurant or a supermarket. Do not tear your eyes when you see the price of these champagnes on a restaurant menu, because a trip to the wine store or even to the supermarket will allow you to taste these champagne of exceptions for 10 times cheaper, literally. Well, count anyway about thirty euros minimum on average, it is champagne.
If you want to go further in your knowledge, I can only encourage you to visit the official website of Champagne:
You also can learn how to make wine :