We give you the ultimate dictionary with all the useful words related to champagne and its making-process
Blanc de Blancs: Champagne blended exclusively from white Chardonnay grapes.
Crayères (Chalk-Cellars): A network of old chalk quarries dating back to the Gallo-Roman era and used for storing champagne by a select few houses.
Cuvée: term used both to designate a specific wine (i.e. cuvée de prestige) within a House’s range, blended from wines of particular delicacy and the first press.
Gelée (frost): The Champagne vineyards are very sensitive to frosts, which regularly occurs as late as mid-May, during the ‘Icy Saints’ dates.
Grèle (hail): It regularly strikes the Champagne vineayrdsin July/August.
Remuage (riddling): Once the wine is bottled, a mix of sugar, water or wine, and yeast is added to each bottle in order to start secondary fermentation. This secondary fermentation produces some sediment, which needs to be removed. The aim of riddling is to move the bottle in various positions -whether manually or through the use of a gyropalette-so that all the sediment is collected.
Dégorgement (disgorging): The process of removing the yeast sediments after second fermentation and aging in bottle. Typically, the bottle of the neck is then frozen to collect the sediment into a solid mass, which is then ejected thanks to the pressure when the capsule is removed.
Cochelet: Harvest party taking place at the very end of the harvest, after the final press. The tradition in Champagne is to celebrate the harvest by having a meal all together before the leaving of the harvesters.
Millésime: A vintage champagne is blended from the wines of a single ‘millésime’, i.e. a single outstanding year and harvest, that the Cellar Master chooses to declare as a vintage.
Moût de raisin: Grape must
Muselet: Piece of wire or string wrapped around the neck of the bottle used to keep it corked.
Oenothèque: Where the oldest and most precious wines of the House are kept.
Flowering and harvest date: Traditionally a 100 day period, nowadays more often around 90 days.
Vendange: Grape harvest
Reserve wines (Vins de réserve):every year, a fraction of the harvest showing a good ageing potential is kept. These ‘reserve wines’balance the younger wines from the newest harvest, and ensure the consistency and perpetuation in the House style
Yield (rendement): from 4,000 kg of grapes, 25,5 hl of juice can be extracted (20,5 of first press and 5 of second press -tailles). It used to be 26,6 hl until the middle of the 90’s. in the old times –corresponded to 10 champagne traditional size barrels (2,05hl) worth of first press, 2 barrels of 1st tailles, and 1 barrel of 2nd tailles.