Where is Champagne made?
The champagne region is located in the north east of France and stretches from Charly to the south of Paris, up to Reims and southwards over Epernay to the Côte des Blancs. Its southern offsets are Côte de Sézanne. The towns of Reims and Epernay are the commercial centres of the area. Traditionally Champagne is created from wines from different locations within the appellations. In the blends of some great champagne estates, wines from up to 200 municipalities can be found.
How is Champagne Made?
Champagne is made from a double fermentation process. Initially the wine is made using the common grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne grapes are harvested early, so the grapes have a lower sugar level and a high level of acidity. The grapes are pressed and fermented; this creates a base level for the champagne. Once the base level is produced, the wines are blended with different vintages. This balances the wine to produce a consistent quality.
Once this is done, the wine is then poured into a bottle and sugar and yeast is added. The bottle is sealed with a crown; this is the second fermentation process. Once the sugar and yeast ferments it produces carbon dioxide, which is trapped in the bottle.
Once opened this produces the bubbles. The bottles are now left to age in the cool chalk cellars, the aging process can take up to 15 months. As the aging process takes place, the champagne bottle is subject to a process called “riddling”, where the bottles are rotated. This allows the sediments, called “lees” to collect in the mouth of the bottle. Once the bottles are ready for the corks to be inserted, the lees need to be removed, by a process called disgorging. The neck is frozen and the ice plug is removed with the sediments frozen inside before the cork is inserted.
Champagne Grape Varieties
Most Non-Vintage champagne is a blend of three main grape varieties:
Blanc De Blanc
: Wine made with white grape varieties only, made 100% of Chardonnay. It will be very fresh, lighter style with citrus flavours and aromas.
Blanc De Noirs
: White wine made of black grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It will be fuller, rounder, soft in the mouth and weightier than Chardonnay.
: These champagnes are produced using the best wines; they will tend to be the most expensive champagnes, Krug, Dom Perignon and Louis Roederer Cristal.
: The most common method for making rosé champagne is by blending red still wine with white wine. Another method is the Rosé De Saignée, where the red grape varieties including Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are crushed and the skin is left in contact with the grape juice. The wine juice then picks up the red pigment from the crushed red skins and rosé champagne is thus created.
Rosé champagnes tend to have fruitier aromas, including those of strawberries or raspberries. The feel on the mouth is richer, bigger and rounder than with standard French champagnes.
Champagne was first produced around the 17th Century and was at the time difficult to produce. The bottles most likely exploded due to the pressure created by the carbon dioxide. In the past, champagne was also only afforded by nobility. One can only presume that because of the heritage, today champagne is seen as a premium product, but this could also be due to the fact that the production of champagne is controlled by strict quotas in the Champagne region. Whatever the reason, champagne is a wonderful gift and is often found enjoyed at celebrations ranging from weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, Christenings, Valentine’s Day as well as on lots of other special occasions. Champagne gifts are also wonderful for these special events and there are many Champagne Gifts
available to buy. Personalised Champagne Gifts
is an unusual gift idea, where champagne bottles can be personalised with labels and a personalised message. People also have the ability to add a photograph to the champagne bottle to make an unusual personalised champagne gift. It is also possible to purchase Engraved Champagne
bottles, where the front of a champagne bottle is etched and engraved with a message for other unique champagne gift ideas.
Champagne and Food
Champagne can be drunk by itself; the well balanced acidity, freshness and citrus notes makes it a delicious drink. However, champagne also works very well consumed with food.
Brut champagne goes very well with the following foods:
Shrimp, Crab, Lobster
Fruit and DessertDate posted: 16/02/2011