Methode Champagnoise

This is a copy of an email from a man I know in the SCA as Eadric the Potter. I think the information worth sharing.  The region of Champagne has been making wine since Roman times, but Sotheby’s wine catalogue says the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, which was apparently invented by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire near Carcassonne in 1531.  

Eadric has an MA in History and a nicely detailed, well researched fount of knowledge about brewing.  I cannot take credit for any of the rest of this post, it’s all Eadric from here.

eadric@scabrewer. com

Here is the history of Methode Champagnoise. It means bottle  fermented, to trap the Co2 > > http://www.wineperspective.com/making_champagne.htm

Ya the link does a fairly good job of explaining Méthode Champagnoise. The important things to remember are:

  • that there is a secondary in bottle fermentation to produce the gas
  •  that it is allowed to age in the bottle on the yeast sediment for a while to develop that bready character (some like Bollinger R.D.  are aged for a long while on the yeast)
  •  that when the bottle is disgorged and the yeast removed the bottle  is topped off and the sweetness of the wine adjusted via dosage
  • that by law in France nexium 40mg something can not be called a Champagne  unless it comes from the Champagne region, uses the and uses this method.

If you see a wine that says it was produced via the “traditional method”  that means Méthode Champagnoise but made somewhere outside Champagne. “Cremant” wines are examples of other French wines that would otherwise be classified as Champagnes if they were from the Champagne region. Also by law “Champagne” wines can only be made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier.

There are plenty of other good sparkling wines from all over the world  made with this method and while they are often labeled as Champagnes they  can not be sold in France (and now much of the EU) labelled that way. There are many other wines, like for instance Spanish Cava wines, some Italian Spumante wines, that use Méthode Champagnoise but are not called  Champagnes.  The other primary process used to produce sparkling wines ins the  “Charmat” process, also called the “bulk process” or closed tank method. In  this process there is no secondary in bottle fermentation as that step is > carried out in in large bulk containers.

Regards,

-EA

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