Je certifie avoir l'âge légal pour consommer de
l'alcool dans mon pays de résidence. / I am of
legal drinking age in my country of residence.
People in charge of pressing fulfill the traditional pressing machines due to 4,000 kg of grapes i.e. one marc. This marc flowes slowly and 25 hl 50 of juice are recovered in two steps. The first juices (20 hl 50) - the noblest ones - are called «cuvée» and the left 5 hl are called «la taille» (sharpening).
During the pressing the must (i.e the freshly pressed grape juice) drips into small vats called "belons". Then the juice is left to settle about 24 hours to separate skins and other impurities from juice. It occurs naturally by gravity. Then the clarified or clear grace juice gets pumped into large oak casks and barrels.
For about 10 days natural yeasts are going to transform sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This produces a basic wine called «vin clair» («still wine»).
From October to July our cuvées are ageing into large oak casks and barrels so that the combination of wood and wine can bring roundness and finesse to our Champagnes.
Every year, at the same period, in the spring, an immutable rite called «blending» is performed by the cellar master. Thanks to his amazing sensory memory, he tastes and blends still wines and reserve wines from different villages and vintages to create or to recreate the consistent house style.
The blended wine is bottled along with yeast and a small amount of sugar. It occurs in July.
Once again, natural yeasts are going to transform sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide but this time it takes place inside the bottle. Carbon dioxide is trapped inside the bottle. Thus still wine turns into sparkling wine. This second fermentation takes place very slowly (about 8 weeks) to get a persistent effervescence.
The aging on lees - which brings complexity and vitality to our wines - do not stop there. The bottles are then allowed to rest and mature in the deep chalky cellars : from 3 to 4 years for non-vintage wines and from to 5 to 7 years for vintage wines.
After a week allowing the sediments of dead yeasts to settle onto the glass, the bottles are placed on «pupitres» and turned twice a day in a unique way, slowly pushing the bottle up right to get the sediment to the bottle neck underneath the cork.
In order to get the sediment out from the bottle the necks are frozen in freezing brine. Turning the table up right and relaseasing the crown cork expels the "pellet" of sediment from the Champagne. After disgorgement a mixture of sugar and reserve wines called "liqueur de dosage" is added to give each wine its "brut", "dry" or "demi-sec" (semi-sweet) character. Each Champagne House has its own "recipe". Then the bottle is sealed with an oak cork tightly held in position with a muzzle.
This step is essential to the revelation and full development of wines. (It lasts from 6 months to 1 year).