Selection of the Best Champagne - Discover and Buy Online!
Champagne is a French sparkling wine protected by a Controlled Appellation of Origin (AOC), famous all over the world, produced with a classic method, and commonly associated with luxury and elegance. Champagne is one of the few wines to which an inventor, the Benedictine abbot Dom Pierre Pérignon, has been attributed, although there are different versions of the history of its origin. The main grape varieties authorized for the production of Champagne are lo Chardonnay, the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Meunier. We have selected among the best Champagnes, from the most famous and renowned to the less sought after but still of great depth. Discover them on Bottle of Italy ed Buy them online!
Champagne is produced solely through the so called method Champagne method, which is a set of procedures that make use of the practice of refermentation in the bottle. The Métode Champenoise provides for a process of double fermentation alcoholic: the first vinification leads to the production of a still, dry and low alcoholic wine and is carried out in steel or wood. Subsequently, thanks to the addition of sugars and yeasts, a second fermentation is obtained, in the bottle, generating the famous fine bubbles.
The starting wine comes mainly from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. The grapes can come from the same vintage, giving life to a Millesimato Champagne, or from the use of grapes from different vintages. In this case, we will then speak of Cuvée and is generally referred to as without year, that is, "yearless" wine. This idea is the fruit of the mind of Dom Pierre Pérignon, to ensure, year after year, a constant quality of the Champagne produced.
The base product is then bottled (decanted into the bottle) with the addition of the so-called draft liquor, that is a mix of sugars, yeasts and wine which have the main task of triggering the refermentation. The bottle is then closed with a crown cap equipped with a bidule, that is a "support" aimed at collecting the residues present in the wine. The second alcoholic fermentation lasts on average 5/6 months and during this process, the previously added yeasts transform the sugars into alcohol, raising the alcohol content and releasing carbon dioxide, which, not being able to disperse in the environment, causes an increase of pressure and makes the wine effervescent, that is, it will give the wine its own perlage, the typical bubbles.
The Refinement Phase
In the cellar, the bottles are placed horizontally remaining in contact with the yeasts for a period of at least 18 months, up to several years. Throughout the refinement period, the yeasts give the wine a great quality aromatic richness and the typical scent of bread crust, through the release of substances in the wine. Some of the best Champagnes also possess a great sapidity to the taste, a trait that is given to them thanks to the chalky composition of the soils on which the grapes were grown, formed thanks to the retreat of oceanic waters millions and millions of years ago.
With the end of the aging period, the bottles are placed in wooden racks in the shape of an inverted V called desk, which support the bottles with the neck facing down to allow the residues to settle towards the bottle cap. During the downward orientation of the bottles, which can last up to 6 weeks, the bottles are rotated approximately 90 degrees with a sharp movement; this technique is called riddling.
Finally, we proceed to top up and add the liqueur d'expedition, a mixture of sugar and reserve wine considered as the signature of the maison. It determines the dosage, that is the residual sugar.
Champagnes produced without added sugar are called nature O not dosed and generally they are distinguished by their dry and dry taste. Finally, the bottle is closed with the typical mushroom cap and with a wire cage called Musel.
Type of Champagne: Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Millesimato
In Champagnes, the first substantial difference consists in the distinction between Champagnes Without Year ed i Vintage.
The Cuvée dei No Year arises from the use of young wines called clear wines combined with wines from previous vintages, called reserve.
For the Champagne Millesimati French legislation provides that the base of grapes used comes 100% from a single harvest and requires aging on the lees in the bottle for at least 36 months.
The three characteristic vines that give life to Champagne are two black berried, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and one white berried, Chardonnay. In the event that a Chardonnay-based Champagne is produced, it will take the name of White of whites. On the contrary, the Champagnes produced only from black berried grapes, will take the name of White and black.
Widespread throughout the world in recent years and very popular with all palates are also the Champagne Rosé, characterized by a notable complexity and aromatic richness, both on the nose and on the palate.
Dosage of Champagne: Pas Dosé, Brut and Extra Brut
The sugar dosage in Champagne is fundamental, in fact it determines the degree of dryness or sweetness.
Based on the amount of added sugars, we will have the following different types:
Plain or Dosed: no added sugars
Raw: between 0 and 6 grams of sugar per liter
Extra Brut: up to 12 grams of sugar per liter
The History and Origins of Champagne
The origins of viticulture in the French region date back to the Roman conquest of northern Gaul, but the first noteworthy productions took place only hundreds of years later, starting from the eighth century, thanks to the presence and activity of the monks. The unfavorable climatic conditions have meant that the fermented wines produced in the region throughout the Middle Ages (up to 1520) and the early Modern Age (from the 16th century to the end of the 18th century) were all still wines, distinguishable in two macro categories: vins gris, white wines made from red berried grapes, and light red wines with a very pale color, almost tending towards rosé. Later, in the seventeenth century, the English influence on the territory, through the introduction of the use of glass bottles, corks and new wine making techniques, allowed the French to raise the quality of their products. The British also introduced the bottling technique, which, for the first period of implementation, was a total failure as the too cold temperatures of the territory caused the reactivation of the fermentation in the bottle with the consequent effect of effervescence in the wine and the bursting of bottles (in addition to the bursting of corks).
The greatest contribution to the evolution of wine production is to be attributed to Dom Pierre Perignon (1638-1715), abbot of Hautvillers, who is commonly recognized as the Father of bubbles. Dom Pèrignon was the first ever to understand the great potential of the second fermentation in the bottle and to introduce all the techniques that today give life to Champagne method.
Pierre had the intuition according to which, to guarantee a certain constant quality to the product year after year, it was essential to use reserve grapes from previous vintages, thus opening the way to the practice ofAssembly of different vintages and the creation of the cuvée.
Subsequently, in the seventeenth century, the first historic Champagne houses were born thanks to the spread of the first Champagnes in the area.
During the eighteenth century, however, the production process was improved: the Cliquot maison devised a method to eliminate the slime deposit inside the bottles, inventing the desks and introducing the practices of remuage he was born in disgorging.
In-depth studies on the relationship between sugar dosage and the pressure inside the bottle generated by the yeasts, the production of more robust glass bottles and the introduction of the mushroom cork, were crucial for the reduction of bottle bursting. However, still today the incidence of bottle bursting is around 1 bottle in 1000.
Champagne achieved great fame and prestige during Napoleon's empire. In fact, the general's successes were celebrated through the distribution of whole cases of Champagne among the soldiers and thus the technique of sabrage, which consists in uncorking the bottle with a saber or sword.
On Bottle of Italy, you can find hundreds of Champagne on offer at unbeatable prices. You also find the history of the best Champagne houses, so that when you sip the Champagne of your choice, you will also know its history and origins. Take advantage of Bottle of Italy discounts and receive i Best Champagne.