The Champagne is the most northern wine region of France. The area lies about 150 kilometers east of Paris, in Marne departments (67% of the vineyards), Aube (23%), Aisne (9%), Haute-Marne and Seine-et-Marne. The major cities in Champagne are Reims and Epernay.
In the Champagne region four major wine areas are distinguished: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs and Côte des Bar. In these areas 281,000 individual vineyards (lots) can be found, with an average size of 1.200 square meters. A mosaic of small vineyards! Only sparkling wine from this region, made by the methode champenoise, are allowed to bear the name Champagne.
Only at the end of the seventeenth century winemakers managed to control the proces of the bubbles, released during the alcoholic fermentation. Champagne was in a short time embraced in the hearts of French and foreign heads of state and became an indispensable drink at parties.
Most champagne is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The Pinot Noir has a relatively low yield, but gives a full, long lasting flavor. The Pinot Meunier is not very sensitive to frost, easier to grow and fruity. The white grape Chardonnay completes the composition. Champagne made exclusively from white grapes is called blanc de blancs. Champagne exclusively made from red grapes is called blanc de noirs.
When towards the end of September the harvest date is released, the grapes are carefully picked by hand to avoid crushing of the skins in order to prevent the moist to become colored. After the arrival of the grapes at the winery, the grapes are immediately pressed and a non-sparkling dry base wine is obtained.
Different wines from different years are assembled into a cuvée (blend) and are then bottled. Sometimes a wine of a certain vintage is bottled. This is known of a vintage year. Before the bottle is closed with a (temporary) cap a little liqueur du tirage (a mixture of cane sugar (24 g / l), and mature wine with yeast) is added. Within eight to ten weeks the fermentation in the bottle has started. In the bottle, a carbonated sparkling wine is created. A champagne with no date should remain so at least 15 months and vintage champagnes at least three years.
After this period the bottles are tilted in "pupitres" and always rotated so that the contaminants will move to the neck. This process is called the remuage. When the remnants of the yeast will have accumulated in the neck of the bottle, it is followed by 'degorgeren'. This is done by freezing the the necks of the bottles, after which the stopper is removed mechanically. Due to the pressure of the carbonic acid, the ice pack with the impurities will pop out.
The addition of the liqueur d'expédition (a sugar mixed wine with which the bottles are topped up before closing with the final cork) determines the type of champagne. If only dry wine is added, you will get a non-dispensing champagne a brut nature, ultra brut, extra brut or brut integral. The more liqueur has been added, the sweeter the champagne - from brut (dry) to doux (sweet).
The most sold Champagne in the world; straightforward and tasty, made in a easygoing style, with good length and a clean, refreshing finish
£31,03 per bottle
Candied citrus, ginger and mineral aromas and flavors integrate well with the lightweight, elegant frame;beautifully displayed, from start to the long finish
£34,11 per bottle
Grand Cru Champagnes
A big, powerful champagne with the trademark textural finesse; the 2003 is an atypically, rich, powerful, vinous Dom Pérignon loaded with fruit, structure and personality.
£114,63 per bottle
Attractive suggestions of pears, quince, spice, brioche and minerals; the Grande CuvÈe reveals notable elegance and finesse, the use of reserve wines in the blend gives this wine an unusual level of complexity
£140,86 per bottle
Elegant and fragrant with an array of smoke, toastiness, minerals, ripe pears and flowers; medium-bodied with tons of clarity and precision at this level, with the lingering Ruinart sweetness on the finish
£52,46 per bottle
A dense, shut-down wine that needs serious time in the cellar to come together; with additional bottle age, the Pinot character should emerge, as it almost always does; for now, this remains a structured RosÈ that only occasionally reveals the brilliance that it appears capable of, yet all of the ingredients are present for the 1996 to emerge as a brilliant Dom Ruinart RosÈ
£200,19 per bottle
£132,23 per bottle
£176,23 per bottle
The renowned champagne houses
The world's largest and most famous Champagne house Moët & Chandon was founded in 1743 in Epernay. Moët & Chandon champagnes are characterized by their elegant, fresh, full flavor; the... read more
Laurent-Perrier is based in the picturesque village of Tours-sure-Marne - an ideal location at the intersection between Champagne’s three foremost sub-regions: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la... read more