In September, it is harvest time. In Champagne, the grapes are hand-picked to avoid damaging the bunches of grapes.
The wine press contains 4000 kg of grapes. The pressing is very slow and we get different juices from this pressing : the « cuvée » is the first pressing, the « taille » is the second. These juices called must are put into different vats. It's important to say that the grape varieties are kept seperated for the alcholic fermentation.
The blending is a very important stage. For a non vintage, for example, we'll mix differents plots. Then the wine can be bottled. In the blend we add a « liqueur de tirage » whish consists of sugar and yeast and the bottles are closed with a « bidule » and a crown cap.
There's an ageing period of minimum 15 months for a non vintage and 36 months for a vintage. But that really is a minimum and most champagnes are kept in cellars longer. This long ageing on lees will give more complex aromas, a creamy mouthfeel and breadlie aromas. The next stage is the riddling : the bottles are placed horizontally at first and then progressively tipped up. We also turn them a little bit every day to collect the deposit in the neck of the bottle.
The disgorging consists in removing the sediment left in the bottle. The bottle neck is plunged into a freezing liquid to freeze the deposit. When the crown cap is removed, the deposit is expelled. At this moment, we add the dosage : it's a mixture of sugar and reserve wine. It determines the type of champagne (brut or demi-sec).
After the labelling the bottles are ready to be sold
Now, you can appreciate the fineness of the champagne with your family