The vineyard The vineyard of Champagne extends over five departments. However, the three main producers account for the majority of production. - The Marne extends over 20 000 hectares, where you can find all the great Champagne wines; - The Aube, with its 5000 hectares presents products that do not always have to blush from its neighbors of the Marne; - L'Aisne has 2000 hectares of vineyards. - The Seine and Marne and the Haute-Marne possess a little more than 10 hectares of vineyards! In total, the vineyard counts less than 30 000 hectares, ie a quarter of the Bordeaux vineyard, but only 2% of the French vineyard! The three major wine regions are the Montagne de Reims, the Marne valley and the Côte des Blancs. The terroirs The soil of Champagne is characterized by soils of chalk, limestone. The best terroirs are also located on hillsides, where the chalk is often exposed. The topsoil may be very thin. This subsoil ensures in particular a very good drainage to the soil, while maintaining a sufficient moisture. The chalk also has a good capacity to keep during the day the heat of the sun and then to restore it at night, and to ensure a better maturation of the grape, thus ensuring the magic of this northern vineyard.
Winemaking a Champagne
The different steps :
- harvesting and harvesting (sorting) of the harvest, which must be healthy, whole and clean;
- pressing: it must be immediate and careful. The skins of the grapes of the red grapes must not release their color.
1st press: the Cuvée (2050 liters)
2nd press: 1st Size (410 liters)
3rd press: 2nd size or Rebêche
The relish wort will be vinified in ordinary wine.
- settling: removal of particles and plant debris
- fermentation, at low temperature for the development of aromas (it is the classic fermentation of a dry white wine)
- Racking and drumming of separate batches of basic wines
- assembly: mixture of wines from different vineyards, different grape varieties, and different years. The product is called the Cuvée.
- when taking foam: add sugar and yeast;
- putting on slats: 2nd fermentation. About 1 year on slats (3 years for vintages);
- placing on the desk: the bottles are tilted downwards to slide the Levurian deposit towards the neck. They are turned a quarter of a turn a day;
- disgorging: evacuation of deposits. In the past, it was practiced with a grip on the fly, now the neck is frozen in liquid air at -20 ° C. It only remains to eject a small ice cube that has formed. It contains all the deposits.
- Elimination: addition of dosage liquor (old wine + sugar). This is what will determine the type of Champagne (Brut, Demi-Sec ...)
- aging and dressing.
All that remains is to savor the bottle. Raw crops should be consumed relatively young (1 or 2 years). Vintages and large cuvées, on the other hand, can be kept for many years.