CHAMPAGNE GUIDE

WHAT MAKES CHAMPAGNE CHAMPAGNE?

 

Only a sparkling wine produced with traditional method, fermented and aged in its own bottle, made exclusively from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier strictly quality controlled grapes coming from the Champagne region of Northern France.

 

Champagne owns a prestigious area of 34.000 ha which represents 3.4% of the vineyard in France,. The culture of the vine is concentrated around Reims and Epernay. Only 17 Crus (“Cru” means villages) deserved the Grand Cru category (best quality) as first class vineyards, and other 42 deserved the category of Premier Cru, second class vineyards. Quintessence of the terroir and the specific “Champagne style” is unique soil, full of fossils, chalk and limestone.

 

GRAPE VARIETIES & AREAS

 

38 % Pinot Noir, 32 % Pinot Meunier, 30 % Chardonnay

 

Montagne de Reims - Mostly Pinot Noir
Côte des Blancs - Mostly Chardonnay
Vallée de la Marne - Mostly Pinot Meunier
Côte des Sézanne - Mostly Chardonnay
The Aube - (aka Côte des Bar) Mostly Pinot Noir

HISTORY OF THE 1st CHAMPAGNE

 

First champagnes were created by the Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715) in Champagne. He made the first assemblage of base wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) and implemented the usage of cork. He sealed the fresh new wines with these closures, and as a result the sulphur dioxide, dissolved in the bottle made the wine sparkling.

In the XVIII. century large-scale of sparkling wine production started also in France. Pommery and Clicquot were between the first champagne houses, and still exist today. Sparkling wine production spread all over the World, after France, in Germany than in other big European cities.

 

One of the first sparkling wine factories in Hungary was established by József Törley in 1882 in  Budafok. He followed the traditional method, what he learnt in France, Champagne. Success came fast and soon his factory was followed by other new factories like Littke in Pécs, Francois in Budafok, Eszterházy in Tata. Nowdays only the Eszterházy doesn’t exist.

In the 60’s the demand for sparkling wines increased, and nowadays we can taste traditional method sparkling wine from every big wine region.

 

LEGKEDVELTEBB CHAMPAGNE TÍPUSOK

 

Cuvée - Chardonnay / Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier

Blanc de Blancs - 100% Chardonnay

Blanc de Noirs - Pinot Noir és/vagy Pinot Meunier

 

Most popular style of champagne is the non-vintage BRUT, mainly 95% of the champagnes. Only 5% made as a vintage champagne.

 

‘Dosage’ is the last step before final corking. This is the addition of a small quantity of ‘liqueur de dosage’ to the wine – also known as the ‘liqueur d’expédition’. And the most important factor regarding to the style of our champagne. Dosage liqueur generally contains 500-750 grams of sugar per litre.

 

The quantity added varies according to the style of Champagne:

 

Brut Nature – less than 3 gramm / liter
Extra Brut – max. 0-6 gramm / liter
Brut (dry) – less than 12 gramm / liter
Extra Sec (extra dry) – 12–17 gramm / liter
Sec, Dry – 17 – 32 gramm / liter
Demi Sec, Medium Dry – 32 – 50 gramm / liter
Doux, Rich (sweet) – more than 50 gramm / liter

CHAMPAGNE & GASZTRONÓMIA

 

Classic gatronomic cliche, as a light, fresh white wine or rosé, like champagne, can be a great aperitif, or even the perfect aperitif.

 

Otherwise can be a nice experience to pair and taste champagne with meals of which we would  not have thought before. In this case focus should always be on the weight and body of the champagne, not on the color.

 

This is how a matured, complex, Pinot Noir based champagne can be the perfect pair of a heavier meal made with red meats, truffles or a lighter style, fruity rose champagne of a light meal with salmon or poultry.

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