A broad blend of wines of different grape varieties, different years and different vineyards. It is often the quality of this “basic” champagne that the quality of the house is based.
During the disgorging process, the volume lost is topped up by pure wine and not, as is usual for producing brut, sec or demi-sec champagnes, by a mixture of sugar and wine, called the liqueur d’expédition. The result is a natural brut wine without added sugar (extra-brut, ultra-brut, brut intégral, brut zero, etc.)
A sweeter dosage, suitable to serve with desserts.
Blanc de blancs: Made with 100% white grapes (pure chardonnay). It is a light, crisp wine. Blanc de noirs: Made from black varieties (pinot noir and/or pinot meunier). Produces well structured, complex and powerful wines.
Blend of white champagne wine to which between 10% and 15% still champagne red wine is added.
Wine from one or more of the communes classified as a grand cru (great growth). Premier cru: champagne produced from vineyards classified between 90% and 99%. Grande Marque: A champagne house belonging to the ‘top brands’ union founded in 1882.
This is the top cuvée of the champagne house. This cuvée can be a vintage or not. These cuvées only represent about 1% of champagne consumed in France.
Not every year is classified as a vintage. When the year is exceptionally good, the producer creates a wine made from the harvest of that year alone. This cuvée is then aged for a minimum of three years before going on sale.
This refers to a cooperative which makes wines on its premises, using grapes which are supplied by its members.
This is a brand owned by a person or company (a restaurateur, merchant, supermarket, etc.).
The merchant buys and resells finished bottles.
Person or company still called a champagne house, may own wines or not. They buy the majority of grapes required to make their wines.
The ‘grower’ sells grapes to a cooperative.
The winegrower farms his own grapes and entrusts the production of the champagne to his cooperative. He collects the bottles after production and sells them.
The grower makes the majority of the champagne on his premises, using wines from his own harvest.
Collectivity of winegrowers that pool their efforts to vinify and sell the wines they produce. Each grows its own vines.
This eau-de-vie with a regulated appellation is produced by distilling destemmed and fermented grape marc (solid part of the berries) that comes solely from Champagne vineyards. Grape marc is distilled in traditional stills. The eau-de-vie is then refined by being aged in oaks barrels to be served at 40% volume.
This is an eau-de-vie obtained by traditional distillation of wines produced exclusively from vineyards in Champagne. It is then aged for several years in oak barrels to refine the drink and develop its delicate bouquet. It is also served at 40% vol.
Ratafia is made from unfermented grape juice (the must) from the Champagne appellation and any neutral alcohol (the best use Fine or Marc de Champagne). Ratafia de Champagne is classed in France as a wine-based aperitif.
Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (Champagne Trade Organisation)
Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne (Champagne Winegrowers Trade Union)