How to choose you Champagne?
How to read a label of champagne?
The label of a Champagne bottle provides little information and must still well understood. We can read the Champagne appellation (the single appellation of the region), the brand, the dosage (in alcohol and in sugar), the vintage… At this moment, the things get complicated. Two points may seem complexed for a beginner. Indeed, a number that includes two letters are included in this label. This is the professional registration number of the winemaker. The letters represent the professional category which it belongs to.
Two professional groups can be distinguished: N.M, R.M, C.M and M.A.
- N.M. or trader handling: this are the traders that purchase their harvest, in part or in whole, at the harvesters.
- R.M. or collecting handling: the owner developing its Champagne from the grapes of his own property and he make all the process: the harvest, the vinification and the commercialization. The main costumers of this professional group is the internal costumer – buying stock directly in the property.
- C.M. or handling cooperative: a harvester’s cooperative provides the pressing and the vinification to the members.
- M.A. or purchaser trademark represents a secondary brand belonging to a trader handling or to a trader who commercialises a Champagne produced by others.
Do you understand the Champagne characteristics?
As regards the grape varieties, the Champagnes called « blancs de blancs » (white of white) and the Champagnes called « blancs de noirs » (white of black) can be distinguished. The Champagnes called « blancs de blancs » are made from a single white grape variety: the Chardonnay.
These wines represent a symbol of elegance, mostly of a great finesse and the female palate will not be indifferent. The Champagne « blanc de noir » is composed of the red grapes and exclusively using pinot noir or pinot meunier. Even if the color is white, the champagne « blanc de noir » has a beautiful notes of red fruits and dark fruits in the mouth. They are mainly powerful and with character wines.
You can choose between white and rose regarding the sparkling wines. There are champagnes in all of the white nuances: that means from pale gold to white gold color, through to the straw yellow and the intense yellow. Although the red grapes entry into the elaboration process, the champagne remains white.
The rosés Champagnes seduce more and more in the last few years and not just the women. The purists use the method applied to the bleeding – this consists in macerate the grape skin in the juice to obtain a more or less pronounced color. The aromas are more pronounced and powerful that the rosés champagnes made from an assemblage. Indeed, the assemblages are made between red wine from the Champagne region (10%) and the three grape varieties from Champagne.
There are two Champagne categories: the semi-dry champagnes and the brut champagnes. The difference is in the sugar content per litre of Champagne. Different levels may exist thus going dry or demi-sec, passing by brut and extra-brut. In absolute numbers, the brut champagne contains less than 15 grams sugar per litre, while the semi-dry champagne contains between 33 and 50 grams per litre.