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Champagne Fact Check

November 1, 2021 Vitis House

Champagne Fact Check

Champagne is love in a bottle.

Deemed many things over the years – luxurious, celebratory, fancy, special, regal – Champagne at its core, is hard work.  

Champagne is amazing.

Let’s see how much you know:

√ Champagne legally refers to a wine that is only grown from grapes in the Champagne region of France.

Champagne goes through two separate alcoholic fermentations. The “prise de mousse” (the second fermentation) occurs in a 750ml wine bottle. Prise de mousse literally translates to “seizing of the foam,” but we like to think about it like “capturing the sparkle.”

√  Each bottle of Champagne contains approximately 49 million bubbles. The pressure in an average Champagne bottle is said to be more than three times the amount of pressure in an average car tyre so be very careful when opening!

There are three predominant grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but also Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are permitted.

Most Champagne has no vintage, they are usually a blend of sometimes more than 70 different vintages. This why blending in Champagne is so important, it helps to keep a consistent ‘house-style.’ 

√ Blending is rarely the work of a single person, usually reflecting the combined talents of a team of professionals or family members. It does however rely on the sensory experience and memory of each individual team member. 

√ Vintage Champagne is only about 3% of production and cannot be sold until at least three years after the harvest. They combine both exceptional qualities of the year they represent and the style of the winemaker. 

Each grape in Champagne gives its best expression. Chardonnay adds citrus notes and elegance, Pinot Noir brings red fruit flavors and body, and Pinot Meunier adds intense fruit aromas and roundness.

Unlike other regions in France, Champagne’s Premier Cru and Grand Cru are rated to villages in Champagne and not to specific vineyards.

The Champagne vineyards, their hillsides, houses and wine cellars, are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cheers!

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