What are the signs of a good Champagne?
Champagne is known for its sparkling wine, which is produced by blending several varieties of grapes from the region. The appellation d'appellation contrôlée highlights the quality of the sparkling wine, while the terroir and location highlight the unique personality of the wine. Different houses use their skills and art to enhance sparkling wine, while different cities, towns and neighborhoods produce wines with different personalities.
What are the signs of a good Champagne ?
Champagne is known for its sparkling wines, which are produced throughout the appellation contrôlée region. The know-how and art of the winemakers marry the different grape varieties of the region to produce many different sparkling wine personalities. Within the appellation contrôlée, there are many different terroirs, communes, lieux-dits, and vineyard enclosures, each producing wines with their own personality. It is easy to get lost among all the different types of champagne, but they all have their own characteristics. On the bottles of Champagne, there is a lot of information for the discerning consumer to understand what is in the bottle. What do the labels on champagne bottles mean and how do you tell a good champagne from a bad one?
Check where the information comes from.
Champagne is a wine that only needs to be in the bottle to be considered champagne. The bottle does not need to have the AC label on it, and the way the wine is made is considered implied and does not need to be labeled on the bottle.
Champagne bottles have two letters on the label to indicate which professional category the producer belongs to. Knowing who produced the champagne is crucial, as it is a champagne wine, and is protected by this appellation. What letters appear on a champagne label?
The winemaker produces RM, NM and SR wines.
A Handling Merchant is a company or operator that buys grapes, makes its own vintages and sells them. A Manipulant Harvester, RM, is a winemaker who produces and sells his own champagne. A harvest company is a group of winemakers who work together to make and market their wines.
The cooperative produced RC and CM products.
After the harvest, a winegrower will send his grapes to the tanks of a cooperative. He will collect his bottles either after settling or before, to resell them in his name. A Manipulant Cooperative bottle, CM, is made and sold by the cooperative from the grapes of its members' crops.
MA and ND sold their land to a businessman.
Some wines are sold to companies that will market the wines with their brand. These companies are known as Auxiliary Brands, MA, and may be corporate entities or individuals who purchased the wines after they were finished. Merchant distributors, ND, are also distributors who purchased wines before they were finished, to market under their name.
The amount of sugar added to each bottle is noted on the label as dry, sweet, semi-dry or brut. These labels have nothing to do with the quality of the champagne; they are merely indicators of the number of grams of sugar added during the production test. The more sugar added per liter of champagne, the sweeter the bottle will be.
Different grape varieties and crus make up the Champagne region of France.
Champagnes use several crus and grape varieties, called varietals, to blend their champagne. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the main grape varieties used in the making of champagne. Different combinations of these grapes can be used to make many different champagnes.
Blanc de Blancs Champagnes are made from Chardonnay grapes, which produce citrus, brioche and hazelnut aromas. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are also sister grapes that produce scents reminiscent of undergrowth, leather, and more animalic odors. These three grape varieties are used alone to make Blanc de Noirs Champagnes. A good blend of these three grape varieties gives the bottles many different flavors. When the bottles are pressed on the skin, they will give a pink champagne color. Since Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety in most bottles, a traditional champagne can evolve into new dried fruit smells as it ages.
More than 300 estates classified as crus grow different grape varieties. A cru is a viticultural area determined by a communal viticultural zone. The quality of the grapes produced can be assessed from 80% to 100%. A Champagne composed of 80% to 89% of quality vintages is called a Champagne A. A Champagne Premier Cru is composed of 90% to 99% quality grapes, and a Champagne Grand Cru is composed of the highest quality grapes, between 90% and 99%.
For the bubble to work, it must be part of the system.
The size of the champagne bubbles has an importance beyond beauty. The finer the bubbles, the more of them there will be. Light, fine bubbles are more pleasing to the eye and their sparkling beauty is more appreciated than larger, less organized bubbles. The more carbon dioxide bubbles there are, the more these sensory receptors are solicited, the more the brain will receive gustatory information about the taste of the Champagne. Even though their size is not directly related to the quality of the beverage, they allow to appreciate more the taste.