Champagne Flashcards

1
Q

When did “sparkling” wine first appear in Champagne?
What was the reason?

A

Wines with slight effervesence/sparkling appeared in the 1600’s. Due to very cold periods wine was halted mid-ferment. Spring heat resuscitated it and this released carbon dioxide and caused some effervesence.

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2
Q

What was a “mosser” used for?

A

Not everyone liked the sparkle so some used whisks called mossers to release the trapped gas in the wine.

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3
Q

Which three developments in the 17th century helped advance the process of creating sparkling wine?

A

Whilst vignerons learned to improve the process:
1. The advent of stronger glass bottles;
2. Uniform bottle neck openings;
3. Mainstream use of cork to maintain an airtight seal.

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4
Q

When was the first intentionally created bottle of sparkling champagne made?
When was the first champagne house opened and by whom?
When was first champagne glass made?

A
  1. Between 1695 and 1698
  2. Ruinart in 1729
  3. A conical shaped glass in 1755
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5
Q

How did Louis Pasteur’s work on yeast influence the champagne process?

A

The discovery of the action and significance of yeast allowed producers to fine-tune the fermentation process.

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6
Q

What did the growing demand and development of “house style” and “ proprietary blends” have on grape growing and winemaking? How did this mitigate the climate risks?

A

Growing demand for sparkling wine necessitated the purchase of grapes from across the sub-regions. To maintain consistency (of house style) from year to year, producers blended grapes from different sub-regions. This had the advantage of overcoming the risk of crop loss from the challenges of frost or other adverse weather by diversifying.

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7
Q

Define a “ mono-parcelle wine. Give an example of one.

A

The champagne comes from grapes in a single parcel of vines in a single vineyard. In contrast to blended champagne the wine embraces vintage variations and signature flavours of a specific terroir.
Example : Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses.

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8
Q

Define a “mono-cru” wine. Give an example.

A

Champagne made from grapes from a single village or “cru”.
Example : Salon’s Cuvee”S” Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs. 100% Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.

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9
Q

Why are mono-parcelles and mono-cru on the rise among the large champagne houses?

A
  1. Growing public interest in terroir-driven bottlings;
  2. Climate change means that capitalising on the attributes of vineyard or village is not the risk it used to be.
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10
Q

How have small grower-producers turned their size into a point of difference?

A

They have embraced vintage variations and the signature flavours of a single cru and or single vineyard bottling rather than striving for consistency each year.

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11
Q

How has the role of the cooperatives in Champagne evolved?

A

Previously they supplied to the large champagne houses when their stocks ran short. Now they have grown larger and compete for the same customers.

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12
Q

What does “sur lattes” mean?

A

Literally “on the lattes” which are thin strips of wood used to separate rows of champagne bottles from each other in a stack.

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13
Q

What is selling wine sur lattes?

A

It is the selling of finished sparkling wine to another party who will put their own label on it. Legal but questionable practice.

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14
Q

How does Champagne manage price stability?

A

By factoring in global demand it will increase or decrease yields accordingly and may even not pick a crop.

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15
Q

What is the CIVC?

A

The Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. It can block or authorise the release of a producers reserve in accordance with demand.

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16
Q

When did vineyards become well-established in Champagne?

A

By the 4th and 5th century CE,under the Romans.

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17
Q

Which king united most of the future country of France?

A

Clovis who was baptised in Reims.

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18
Q

How were the original wines of Champagne known.

A

Vins de la montagne and vins de la riviere. Both still wines and mostly red.

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19
Q

How has Champagne become associated with royalty?

A

27 kings of France ( from 13th to 19th century), have been crowned in Reims. The wines of Champagne have since been associated with royalty, power, celebration, privilige, wealth, and position. This image has been maintained.

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20
Q

How did the trade fairs of the Middle Ages influence the sparkling wine industry?

A

Traders came and drank the local wines as they did business. Wealthy textile barons gifted their customers cases of sparkling wine. They then came back and ordered wine for themselves. Those textile business owners with foresight set up champagne houses.

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21
Q

Which developments in the late-17th/ early18th century helped advance the process of creating sparkling wine?

A

Whilst vignerons learned to improve the process:
1. The advent of stronger glass bottles;
2. Uniform bottle neck openings;
3. Mainstream use of cork to maintain an airtight seal.
In addition in 1728 it was decreed that the transport and trade of champagne could take place in bottles rather than casks. This allowed for the sparkle to be retained and marketed.

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22
Q

What was the declaration of the Court of Appeal in Angers in 1887?

A

The Champenois sought to protect the word “champagne” and the court ruled that it could only be used in conjunction with wines produced from that region.

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23
Q

How did phylloxera impact Champagne?

A

In 1890 it arrived and reduced the vineyards to 1/5th their size.

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24
Q

When was the Champagne zone first delineated? What happened as a result?

A

In 1908. However it excluded Aube which led to riots. They were subsequently included which caused further riots from growers in Marne. It was settled by including Aube as a second zone of production. This was changed in 1927 when it was officially included in the official Champagne region.

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25
Q

Where is historic capital of Champagne?

A

Troyes which was also the home of the Counts of Champagne.

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26
Q

Within France, how can sparkling wines be described?

A

Cremant, petillant or mousseux. They can use the term “ methode traditionnelle” to describe they have used the champagne method of production. This can also be used by other sparkling wines outside France.

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27
Q

What was champagne volumes in 2019?

A

€5 billion/300 million bottles. It is the largest AOC in France by value.

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28
Q

Where does Champagne lie in France?

A

Between 48 & 49.5deg N. and 1.5 hour drive from Paris. It is just below the northerly limit for grapegrowing. (50 deg N)

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29
Q

What is the climate of Champagne? Describe it.

A

Continental with maritime influences. It barely receives enough sunshine to ripen grapes.( on average 1680 hrs p.a.). It has harsh winters with warm but not hot summers. It can have heavy frosts in spring and autumn. Rain falls throughout the year with cloud cover ( maritime influence).

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30
Q

What are the climate threats to the vine in Champagne?

A

Low temperatures
Frost
Hail
Fog
Rain
Humidity (which increases disease pressure)

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31
Q

How does Champagne’s topography help mitigate the climate risks?

A

The topography creates mesoclimates that provide the vine with shelter, warmth and adequate air circulation. The folded hills create suntraps, the rivers and canals plus maritime influence (cloud cover) help moderate temperatures and mitigate frost damage.

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32
Q

What is the Paris Basin?

A

A large downward depression of sedimentary rock strata.

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33
Q

What are the three main soil groupings in Champagne?

A

Chalk
Limestone rich marls
Composites of sand and clay

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34
Q

Describe chalk?

A

It is a type of porous limestone, a sedimentary rock composed of calcium carbonate. Because of its porosity it can store large amounts of water(80 galls per cubic yard/3-400 litres per cubic metre). Drains topsoil like a sponge. This cannot support higher plant life.

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35
Q

What are crayeres and why are they used in Champagne?

A

Crayeres are ancient underground quarries. They are used as cellars due to their cool temperatures and ample humidity. Perfect for wine storage.

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36
Q

What is the characteristic of wine grown on chalk?

A

Quite high in acid, lean with closed aromatics.

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37
Q

Name the two types of chalk?

A

Belemnite and Micraster.

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38
Q

What is Belemnite composed of?

A

Fossilised remains of arrow- or dart-like relatives of todays squid.

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39
Q

What is Micraster composed of?

A

Fossilised sea urchins.

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40
Q

Which type of chalk is preferred? Why?

A

Whist there is no significant difference in physical properties, Belemnite was deposited on the upper to mid-slopes which is ideal for optimal sun exposure, drainage and air circulation for growing vines. Micraster is found where slopes begin to flatten.

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41
Q

Which areas of champagne have mainly or only chalk soils?

A

Cotes des Blancs, Montgeux, Cote de Sezanne, Monts de Berru, Vitry-le-Francais

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42
Q

Describe limestone-marl.

A

It is a porous sedimentary soil. Unlike chalk, it does not have the water-retention capacity and does not pull the water down from the topsoil.
It is the preferred soil for Pinot Noir and delivers a deeply aromatic earthy expression of PN.

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43
Q

Where in Champagne is limestone-rich marl concentrated?

A

In Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Bars. The latter uniquely has Kimmeridgian Marl.

44
Q

What is Kimmeridgean Marl?

A

It is a soil composed of fossilised marine deposits from the Jurassic period. It is also known as Virgulien Marl because of its origin as Oysters named Exogyra Virgula.
It is named after the village of Kimmeridge in Dorset where it was first classified.

45
Q

Where in Champagne is Kimmerigian Marl found?

A

Uniquely in the the Cote des Bars. It is part of the Kimmeridgian Ring which is a ring of limestone-rich marl outcroppings in England and France.

46
Q

In which areas of Champagne can sand and clay be found?

A

Vallee de la Marne, Val de Reims, Coteaux Sud d’Epernay and Val de Petit Morin are a mix of sand, clay and marl. The vineyards of Cote de Sezanne are a mix of clay and chalk.

47
Q

Which wines are suited to the soils and what are the characteristics of wines produced by:
Chalk;
Clay;
Sand;
Limestone-rich marl?

A

Chalk - CHARDONNAY -lean with reserved aromatics;
Clay - MEUNIER -tight and taut - they need age to express their true flavours and aromas;
Sand - MEUNIER - fruity, open and easy drinking;
Limestone-rich marl - PINOT NOIR - earthy aromatic expression

48
Q

Name the four principal regions in Champagne.

A

The Montagne and Val de Reims;
Vallee de la Marne;
Cote des Blancs and surroundings;
Cote des Bar.

49
Q

Name the four terroirs of Montagne and Val de Reims.

A

Massif de Saint Thierry
Vesle and Ardre Valleys (Val de Reims)
Grand Montagne de Reims
Monts de Berru

50
Q

What is the soil of each terroir in Montagne and Val de Reims?

A

Massif de Saint Thierry - sand, clay and marl;
Vesle and Ardre Valleys (Val de Reims) - sand, clay and marl;
Grand Montagne de Reims - limestone-rich marls with some pockets of chalk;
Monts de Berru - chalk.

51
Q

What are the grapes grown in each of the terroir in Montagne and Val de Reims?

A

Massif de Saint Thierry - 85% red with Meunier dominant;
Vesle and Ardre Valleys (Val de Reims) - Meunier dominant;
Grand Montagne de Reims - Pinot Noir
Monts de Berru - Chardonnay

52
Q

Name the six terroirs and soils in Vallee de la Marne.

A

From East to West towards Paris:
Grande Vallee de la Marne - SAND,CLAY, MARL;
Valle de la Marne Rive Gauche, Rive Droite and Ouest - SAND, CLAY, MARL
Conde - LIMESTONE;
Coteaux de Sud Epernay - SAND, CLAY, MARL mixed with CHALK from Cotes des Blancs.

53
Q

What grapes are grown in each terroir in Vallee de la Marne.

A

Grande Vallee de la Marne - PINOT NOIR;
Valle de la Marne Rive Gauche, Rive Droite and Ouest - MEUNIER;
Conde - MEUNIER
Coteaux de Sud Epernay - 50/50 CHARDONNAY and MEUNIER (due to mix of soils)

54
Q

Name the five terroirs and soil types in Cotes des Blancs and Surrounds.

A

Cotes des Blancs- CHALK;
Val du Petit Morin - mix of SAND, CLAY AND MARL WITH CHALK;
Cote de Sezanne - CHALK;
Montgeux - CHALK;
Vitryat - CHALK;

55
Q

What grapes are grown in each terroir in Cotes des Blancs and Surrounds.

A

Cotes des Blancs- CHARDONNAY;
Val du Petit Morin - CHARDONNAY AND MEUNIER ( due to soil mix);
Cote de Sezanne - CHARDONNAY;
Montgeux - CHARDONNAY;
Vitryat - CHARDONNAY;

56
Q

Name the two terroirs and soil types in Cote des Bars.

A

Bar-sur-Aube - KIMMERIDGIAN MARL;
Barsequanais- KIMMERIDGIAN MARL;

57
Q

What grapes are grown in each terroir in Cote des Bars?

A

Both PINOT NOIR.

58
Q

What is the name of the system for grading villages and vineyards in Champagne?

A

It is the Echelle des Crus (scale of growths).

59
Q

How does the Echelle des Crus work?

A

It ranks the 300+ villages and vineyards in a hierarchy. It was created in an effort to recognise different terroirs in the large Champagne AOC in 1911.
Villages and their vineyards are ranked between 80 - 100%. The best have 100% - Grand Cru.
Next is villages with a 90-99% rating - Premier Cru.
Then the rest (Autres) are 80-89%.
Any village rated less than 80% cannot use the grapes in champagne production.

60
Q

How many Grand Cru villages are there in total? By sub-region?

A

SEVENTEEN in total:
Vallee de la Marne has TWO;
Montagne de Reims has NINE;
Cotes des Blancs has SIX.
(Note - Tours-sur-Marne is officially included in VdM but the producers consider themselves MdR)

61
Q

What is an anomaly in the grading system?

A

A village may be designated Premier Cru but an individual vineyard may be Grand Cru-worthy. It may be undervalued and underrated. The reverse can also occur.

62
Q

Does a Grand Cru/ Premier Cru label signify grapes from a single vineyard?

A

No- a producer with several GC vineyards can blend the fruit from these and label it GC. Similar with PC vineyards.

63
Q

How was the Echelle des Cru used historically for grape pricing?

A

In order to differentiate between quality of grapes from each vineyard the price was based on the EdC ratings.
The price was announced by CIVC for fruit from GC vineyards. Lesser rated vineyards then got their price prorata to the top rate based on their own EdC rating.
E.G - 80% rating got 80% of top rated price.

64
Q

What were the main grapevines from 9th to16th century?

A

Gouais (blanc and noir) and Fromenteau.

65
Q

What were the wines made from these ancient grapes of Champagne called?

A

Fromenteau - vins de la riviere
Gouais - vins de la montagne

66
Q

What are the three main grape varieties (%) used in modern champagne? Why is this?

A

Pinot Noir, (38%), Meunier (32%), and Chardonnay (30%).
The base wine for champagne needs to be neutral in aromatics and flavour and these wines do that. They carry the autolytic character of the process.

67
Q

What does Chardonnay contribute to champagne blend?

A

Notes of apple and citrus, high acidity and high alcohol.

68
Q

What does Pinot Noir contribute to champagne blend?

A

Lower acidity, moderate alcohol, red fruit notes of strawberry, cherry.

69
Q

What does Meunier contribute to champagne blend?

A

Bright red fruit, earthiness and rye bread flavour. Least alcohol and moderate acidity. It softens a blend and makes it more approachable.

70
Q

What are the permitted training methods in Champagne?

A

Chablis
Cordon
Guyot (single/double)
Vallee de la Marne

71
Q

How are the training methods restricted in implementation?

A

Grand Cru and Premier Cru must use the Chablis or Cordon method.
Vallee de la Marne is permitted for Meunier only.

72
Q

What is the rootstock of choice in Champagne? Why is that?

A

Rootstock 41B is the majority choice as it has an affinity to chalky soils which are prevalent in Champagne region.

73
Q

What attributes are sought after in the clones used in Champagne?

A

They are selected to deliver high-acid berries which are resistant to botrytis and gray rot.
Pinot Noir clones are chosen to produce larger berries and therefore more juice.
Meunier clones are chosen to have a later bud break so as to avoid frost in spring.

74
Q

How has climate change affected grapegrowing?

A

Due to temp increases over the last 30 years of 2deg F, flowering and harvest are now 10-14 days earlier. Bud break is also earlier. In frost-affected sites this is a higher risk.

75
Q

What positive effects has the rise in temp had on the red wines of Champagne?

A

Red grapes of Pinot Noir and Meunier now ripen more fully producing higher quality red wines. (Coteaux Champenois)
It has also enabled more biodynamic and organic practices to take place.

76
Q

Why is uptake of biodynamic and organic practices slower in Champagne?

A

There are 300+ champagne houses and over 15,000 growers. The majority of champagne is made from purchased grapes from multiple vineyards, villages and sub-regions making it almost impossible to label a wine as bio-dynamic or organic.

77
Q

Why is chaptalisation less required in champagne now?

A

Due to increased ripeness, acid levels are lower and alcohol levels have risen. Less sugar is required to balance lower levels of acidity.
However Champagne has maintained its diurnal temperature range which helps maintain the freshness and vitality of both fruit and finished wine.

78
Q

What are requirements to label champagne as “Vintage”?

A

It is only crafted in good vintages;
Must show vintage year on label AND cork;
Must be crafted 100% from the vintage grapes ( except liqueur de dosage)
Must spend at least 12 months on its lees and a minimum of three years in the cellar from tirage, (bottling), to release.
NOTE:
It can include GC and/or PC fruit. However to be labelled GC/PC it must meet their rules.

79
Q

What are requirements to label champagne as”Non-Vintage” (NV)?

A

It reflects the ongoing vision of the house style. It could easily be called multi-vintage. It must spend a minimum of 12 months on its lees and a further three months in the cellar before release.
NOTE:
It can include GC and/or PC fruit. However to be labelled GC/PC it must meet their rules.

80
Q

Which is the most popular champagne export?

A

NV Brut with 78.5% export volume.

81
Q

What is the requirement for labelling Grand Cru champagne?

A

The fruit must be sourced exclusively from the 17 Grand Cru villages.

82
Q

What is the requirement for labellingPremier Cru champagne?

A

The fruit must be sourced from the 42 Premier Cru villages and can also include fruit from GC villages.

83
Q

What is “Blanc de Blancs”?

A

White sparkling wine made from authorised white grapes, mainly Chardonnay.

84
Q

What is “Blanc de Noirs”?

A

White sparkling wine made from authorised black grapes, PN and/or Meunier. It can carry a bit of tannin.

85
Q

How is Rose champagne made?

A

Most are made by blending 8-20% top quality red wine (PN) to the base wine. Some houses make it using the saignee method.

86
Q

Define “Prestige Cuvee”.

A

They are a champagne house’s highest quality bottlings. They can be from special parcels, old vines, GC sites or with prolonged lees contact, oak treatment or extensive cellar ageing.

87
Q

What is “Late-disgorged” champagne?

A

It is champagne that has spent many years on the lees before disgorgement. It will have had a crown cap which protects against oxidation but tastes like an aged wine. It will have retained its effervesence and seem youthful. May be labelled LD or Late-disgorged.

88
Q

What is Single-Vineyard champagne? How is it different from traditional champagne.

A

SV comes from a SINGLE PARCEL ( MONO-PARCELLE) of grapes. It embraces vintage variations and signature flavours of a single terroir unlike traditional blended wines.

89
Q

What is Single-Cru champagne?

A

It focuses on fruit from a single village or “Cru”.

90
Q

What is “Special Club” champagne? What are the rules to be classed as Special Club?

A

It is a peer-reviewed prestige cuvee from members of the Club Tresors de Champagne.
To be labelled as such it must be made only from the member’s own grapes, entirely on his premises and only in outstanding vintages.
The wine must undergo two blind tastings and be sold in the club’s signature bottle.

91
Q

What is Solera or Perpetual Reserve champagne?

A

It is wine that is made from a single stainless steel tank or foudre that is kept perpetually. It is mainly used as the reserve wine for blending a house NV wine.
Producers add to the vessel based on specific harvest parameters such as best vintages or high-acid vintages. Some may be bottled while the rest is kept to assimilate new wine when added thus creating a perpetual reserve.

92
Q

What does NM on a bottle describe?

A

Negociant-Manipulant - a producer who incorporates grapes purchased from others in the vinification process. They may use their own grapes also.
ALL THE LARGE CHAMPAGNE HOUSES ARE NMs

93
Q

What does RM on a bottle describe?

A

Recoltant-Manipulant - a producer vinifying only his own estate-grown grapes. RM does not purchase other’s grapes.

94
Q

What does RC on a bottle describe?

A

Recoltant-Cooperateur - a grape grower affiliated with a cooperative. An RC brings their grapes to the coop which vinifies them. The RC then retrieves the finished wine and sells it under their own private label.

95
Q

What does SR on a bottle describe?

A

Societe de Recoltants - Term referring to a group of grape growers who jointly vinify and sell a communal or several communal brands.

96
Q

What does CM on a bottle describe?

A

Cooperative de Manipulation - term referring to a coop cellar which vinifies the grapes of its member growers.

97
Q

What does MA on a bottle describe?

A

Marque Auxilaire, Marque d’Acheteur or Marque Autorisee - a term referring to aprivate label for wine registered by any individual, group or society( restaurant, supermarket, wine store etc) with the purpose of selling to their own members, customers. The source could be any of the producers.

98
Q

What does ND on a bottle describe?

A

Negociant-Distributeur - refers to a wine buyer who purchases finished wines, gives them his or her private label and sells through numerous channels.

99
Q

How many appellations in Champagne?

A

Three
Rose de Riceys AOC - 1947
Coteaux Champenois - 1947
Champagne AOC - 1936

100
Q

Rosé des Riceys AOC was established when? What is the wine style and permitted grapes? Where is the AOC?

A

It was established in 1947. It can produce Rosé only from Pinot Noir grapes.
The AOC is in the three villages of Les Riceys in the Aube. Prodn is approximately 60,000 bottles per year.

101
Q

When was Coteaux Champenois AOC estalished? What wine styles are permitted? What grape varieties are permitted?

A

The AOC was awarded in 1974.
Wine styles - Still only - Dry White, Rosé, Red.
Grape varieties:
White - (P)Chardonnay (S) Arbane, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier;
Rosé/Gris - Pinot Gris
Red - (P) Pinot Noir, Meunier.
Mostly non-vintage white with small quantity of red and rosé. 120,000 bottles p.a.

102
Q

When was Champagne AOC awarded? What are the wine styles? What are the permitted grape varieties?

A

Awarded in 1936 it wine styles are Sparkling White and Sparkling Rosé.
Grapes permitted:
White - (P) Chardonnay, (S) Arbane, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier;
Rosé/Gris - Pinot Gris;
Red- Pinot Noir, Meunier

103
Q

What are the blend regulations for Champagne?

A

There are no set blend formula regulations except that Blanc de Blancs must be made from white grapes only and Blanc de Noirs must be made from red grapes.

104
Q

What does the absence of set blending formulas allow producers to do in Champagne?

A

It allows the producers the freedom to create their own proprietary blends and finish them within a range of prescribed sweetness levels and/or styles.

105
Q

Which EU rule is waived in Champagne?

A

In the EU mixing red and white wine is forbidden. However the rule is waived for making rosé champagne ( although some is produced using the saignée method).

106
Q

How many Grand Cru/Premier Cru villages in Champagne?

A

There are 17 GC and 42 PC.
There are 10 GC in Montagne de Reims, 5 in Cote des Blancs and 2 in Vallee de la Marne.

107
Q

How has blending contributed to the success of Champagne?

A

Key points to consider:
Marginal climate with risks to crops;
Each grape contributes differently - Meunier brings stability also;
Regional offset in poor harvests;
Reserve Wines eliminate vintage variations - consistency of quality;
House styles created strong brands