La Méthode Champenoise: How Champagne is Made
THE LIQUID GOLD OF FRANCE
First, the base wine is made from the juice by alcoholic fermentation. Some of the producers allow a natural fermentation. When this process is completed, the base wine for bottle fermentation can be put together.
To allow the second fermentation, cane or beet sugar and some yeast, called liqueur de tirage, are added. The bottles are then usually sealed with a crown cap which contains a plastic capsule (Bidule) inside, which is used to collect the deposit (the sediment that forms after prolonged storage in the bottle). The secondary fermentation usually takes place from March to May of the year and lasts for about three weeks. The alcohol content of Champagne then rises approximately 1.2% compared to the base wine. Only in the Champagne region can this process be referred to as “méthode champenoise”. Before shipping, the yeast must be removed from the bottle. For this purpose, the bottles are placed in pupitres de remuage. On the first day the bottles are almost horizontal, slightly inclined towards the bottle caps. Before the bottles are finally sealed with a champagne cork, the fluid loss by filling must be compensated. Here, the liqueur is supplied. This dosage is a mastery of champagne producers. It gives the champagne a formative note and determines the flavor of extremely dry to very sweet.
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