Oenologie - Comment fait-on un champagne ? - Les Grappes

How do you make champagne?

This is the mystery of bubble lovers and amateurs, how do winegrowers achieve this little scientific magic?

IN THE BEGINNING...

Above all, champagne is a wine. Made from grape varieties such as chardonnay, pinot meunier, pinot noir etc., it requires just as much attention in its elaboration. Harvested by hand or by machine, the berries are then sorted in the cellar to keep only the best.

The difference in champagne is that the "vintage" does not always appear, especially on the industrial size estates, one can measure the "vintage" in terms of the number of bottles.langer les raisins de différentes parcelles, régions et enfin, pour le champagne rosé, et c'est là, la seule exception on peut mélanger vin blanc et rouge pour obtenIr du champagne rosé.

So let's start again, we did the harvest, put our grapes in vats and then it's off to fermentation, like a classic wine.

Once this stage is over, comes the blending.

As we have just seen, each champagne house, each winemaker has his own style of champagne wine and therefore uses different methods. Some of them blend grape varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier.

Others blend the Champagne regions: Aÿ, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, Côte des Bars and finally some blend the vintages. In general, the last 3 years are added.

BOTTLED

Once the blending is finished, these vintages are bottled, usually around Spring. A little liqueur (sugar mixed with an old wine) is added to the bottles to obtain a sweetness in the wine and especially to make bubbles! This is the foaming process. We close these bottles hermetically and leave them quietly in the cellar.

FERMENTATION, HERE WE GO AGAIN!

It is far from being finished! A second fermentation begins in the bottle. Thanks to the added liquor, the sugar contained in the wine will be transformed into alcohol and also into carbon dioxide. This is the moment of the putting on slats. The bottles are stored horizontally at 10°c for several months.

STIR IT UP FOR ME!

A work that was long done by hand and which has become mechanized over the years, riddling allows dead yeasts and deposits to concentrate at the bottom of the bottle.

The bottles are tilted with their necks downwards and every day for 3 months they are rotated a quarter of a turn. The bottle can stay this way for several years to start its maturing.

DISGORGEMENT

The key phase in the elaboration of a champagne! We place the neck of the bottle with all the deposit in an icy mixture of nitrogen. The deposit thus turns into an ice cube and will be expelled when the bottle is opened under the pressure of the carbon dioxide gas contained in the bottle for several months or years.

DOSAGE

A small amount of wine escaped during disgorging. To replace this void, the winemaker adds a quantity of sugar, the expedition liqueur.

This last can be more or less "dosed". Between 33 and 50 grams of sugar we will obtain a semi-dry champagne, between 6 and 15 grams a brut champagne and finally between 0 and 6 grams it is a extra-brut champagne or undosed or plain.

You know it all! or almost, now blow the corks!

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