|Don't you just love this gown?|
The classic blend for a golden Champagne is Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. (Sparkling wine made in the United States is - generally - Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with very little Pinot Meunier ever seeing the inside of America's wineries.) The juice is gently pressed from the grapes, then a regular fermentation process is performed. After fermentation, the wine is blended - sometimes with up to 80 different cuvées (base wines), then bottled with what the French refer to as liqueur de tirages, a bit of sugar and yeast. The wine is capped with a closure similar to a beer or soda cap then laid to rest, and age, in cool, dark caves. Slowly the wine is upturned, or riddled, to move the lees (yeast and sediment) towards the neck of the bottle. When the time is right, the bottle is immersed in a briny solution that causes quick freezing of the sediment, the caps are dislodged and the frozen plug shoots from the bottle. Before the bottle is corked, it's topped off with dosage, a small amount of the original base wine and a bit of sugar.
|A recently disgorged ice-plug.|
Nicky F (Nicolas Feuillatte)