What are some sweet tasting champagnes

Cultivation, harvest and pressing

Strict quality standards apply to the cultivation of champagne. With 7,000-8,000 vines per hectare, the planting density is much denser than in most other wine-growing regions. The maximum yield is in any case limited to 15,500 kg of grapes per hectare, in difficult years it can be fixed significantly below this. The harvest must be done by hand so that the grapes remain intact. Reading takes place in the Mannequins, these are baskets or small containers that, unlike the German grape chests, are not built to hold back juice. The grapes of the red base wine varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are pressed quickly so that almost no red colorings get into the base wine. Mash fermentation for the production of rosé champagnes is the exception, in this case 10–20% red wine is usually added to the white base wine.

Since 1983 160 kg of grapes have to be used for the production of 102 liters of must, up to then it was only 150 kg. But only also as Cuvée designated first 82 liters are really of high quality. The rest, which is pressed twice and is called Première and Deuxième Taille, is less good, as more bitter substances get into the must through the pressing. The best champagnes are therefore only made from the cuvée, while the Tailles are used in the standard grades. Due to the losses in wine-growing and dégorging, you get a total of approx. 100 l of champagne, i.e. 133 bottles of 0.75 l each.


First, the base wine is made from the must through alcoholic fermentation. Some of the producers then allow so-called malolactic fermentation, a biological acid breakdown. Once this process is complete, the base wine can be put together and bottled, in which it then ferments a second time. This usually takes place between March and May of the year following the harvest.

Around 80% of all champagnes are blended into cuvées from base wines of different vintages and come onto the market without a vintage. These Assemblage = Composition is an important part of making champagne. Up to a hundred different wines can be combined for one champagne.

Around 70% of the basic wine of a typical vintage-free champagne is from the current vintage, the rest are older vintages, the so-called Reserve wines. With the help of the reserve wines, it is possible for the champagne houses to produce an equivalent and tasting champagne every year. Today there are around 20,000 champagne “products”.

Bottle fermentation

"Méthode traditionnelle or -champenoise"
To enable the second fermentation, the wine must have cane or beet sugar and some yeast, Liqueur de tirage called, be admitted. The bottles are then closed with a crown cap that has a plastic capsule (bidule) inside that serves to catch the depot.

The second fermentation takes about three weeks, the champagne then has around 1.2% more alcohol than the base wine. This process may only be called Méthode champenoise in Champagne. After fermentation on the yeast, the champagne improves and can be stored for many decades. The dead yeast undergoes an enzymatic decomposition process (autolysis), which gives the champagne its aroma. Furthermore, the autolysis ensures a fine solution of the carbon dioxide in the wine, which later in the glass for the fine, long-lasting one Perlage cares. A maturation period of at least 15 months is therefore required sur lattes for vintage champagne and three years for vintage champagne. Quality-conscious houses usually only release their champagnes much later.


The yeast must be removed from the bottle before shipping. To do this, the bottles are in pupitres de remuage (Riddling panels) placed. On the first day of this process, the bottles are almost horizontal, slightly inclined towards the crown cap. The bottles are then shaken for 21 days. They are left at the same angle for the first two weeks, but rotated by a tenth of a turn every day. An experienced jogger can handle around 40,000 to 50,000 bottles every day. In the last week they are then turned upside down day by day.

Shaking hands is very rare these days, at Moet & Chandon, for example, only 9 million bottles out of a total of around 35 million bottles a year. Rather, robots usually take over the machine-controlled shaking. Several dozen bottles are pushed head-butt into large, cube-shaped wire cages (gyropalettes) that are electrically driven and electronically controlled. The process is called "remuage mécanique" designated. The results are identical for manual work and mechanical vibration. If the bottles are upright, the yeast has collected in the neck of the bottle.


In order to get the settled yeast out of the bottle, the bottle neck is nowadays passed through a cooling brine (ice bath) so that the yeast freezes as a plug. Then the crown cap is opened and the ice plug shoots out of the bottle due to the overpressure. In the past, the settled yeast plug was removed from the bottle without freezing (dégorgement à la volée = Dégorgieren in flight). This method is rarely used today because it requires specially trained staff and causes higher losses than the modern method. The transvassing process is only permitted for formats below half (0.375 l), such as airline and minibar miniatures, and above the jéroboam bottle (3.0 l).


Before the bottles are closed with a champagne cork, the loss of liquid must be compensated for by filling them up. Here the Shipping dosage fed. The dosage is a secret of the champagne houses. It gives the champagne a distinctive note and above all determines the taste direction from extremely dry to sweet. The dosage can be, for. B. consist of sweet wines or sweet reserve of the champagne base wine. As a rule, sugar solution is also added. In some houses it is still common today to have one Esprit de Cognac in this way, especially with very sweet champagnes, the otherwise occurring loss of alcohol is compensated for. Liquid must be removed from the bottle to dose sweet champagne. The following gradations are common in the flavors:

  • Ultra Brut, Brut Nature or Brut integral, non dosé or zero dosage: no dosage, 0 to 3 g / l residual sugar
  • Extra brood: Dosage with 0 to 6 g / l residual sugar
  • Brood: Dosage with 0 to 15 g / l residual sugar
  • Extra Sec, also: Extra Dry: Dosage with 12 to 20 g / l residual sugar
  • Sec: Dosage with 17 to 35 g / l residual sugar
  • Demi Sec: Dosage with 35 to 50 g / l residual sugar
  • Doux: Dosage with more than 50 g / l residual sugar (rarely with champagnes)

This article is based on the article "Champagne" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is available under the GNU Free Documentation License. A list of the authors is available on Wikipedia.