Glossary of Champagne Terms

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Acidity

Champagne Terminology

The sour or tart taste in wine and other food. The primary natural acid in grapes and wine is Tartaric acid; the second most abundant is Malic acid. Sometimes referred to as the “backbone” of a wine, acidity contributes to a wine’s aging ability. The sour taste of acidity in wine is often pleasantly counterbalanced by sweetness (from sugar or alcohol). Sparkling wines usually contain higher acidities than white still wines, which themselves usually contain higher acidities than red still wines. It is the acidity which gives fine sparkling wines their crispness

Aperitif

Champagne Terminology

A predinner drink

Assemblage

Champagne Terminology

The blending of the various base wines to create a new cuvee

Autolysis

Champagne Terminology

The breaking down of yeast creating biscuity, bready aromas and flavours

Biodynamic

Champagne Terminology

Stirring the lees during fermentation or maturation

Blanc de Blanc

Champagne Terminology

A wine made with white grapes only (Chardonnay mainly for Champagne)

Blanc de Blanc

Champagne Styles

A wine made with white grapes only (Chardonnay mainly for Champagne)

Blanc de Noir

Champagne Styles

Wine made with black grapes only (Pinot Noir and or Meunier for Champagne)

Blanc de Noirs

Champagne Terminology

A wine made with black grapes only (Pinot Noir and or Meunier for Champagne)

Brettanomyces

Champagne Terminology

A yeast infection formed in the barrel that taints the wine with animalistic aromas/farm, leather, sweat or metallic and antiseptic aromas

Brut

Champagne Terminology

Dry (less than 12g/L of sugar)

Brut

Champagne Styles

Dry (less than 12g/L of sugar)

Brut Nature

Champagne Terminology

No added sugar (less than 3g/L)

Brut Nature

Champagne Styles

No added sugar (less than 3g/L)

Brut Zero

Champagne Terminology

No added sugar (less than 3g/L)

Brut Zero

Champagne Styles

No added sugar (less than 3g/L)

CIVC - Comite Champagne

Champagne Terminology

The over arching organisation linked to the French government that monitor production and distribution of Champagne

CM

Producer Terms

Cooprative Manipulant is a growers co-op that pools resources and produces wine under a single brand.

Cave

Champagne Terminology

A wine cellar, normally underground in Champagne

Cepage

Champagne Terminology

The grape variety or blend of varieties used (like a recipe)

Chaptalisation

Champagne Terminology

Adding of sugar or concentrated grape juice to increase ABV

Clos

Champagne Terminology

A walled vineyard

Cooperatives

Producer Terms

Coops are located in specific villages in Champagne and make a cuvee with multiple growers in the same region (Nicolas Feuillatte, etc.).

Corked

Champagne Terminology

A slang term for the wine fault where TCA (trichloroanisole) is present in the wine (traditionally from the natural cork), giving off a wet cardboard/ wet dog smell and dampening fruity aromas.

Coteaux Champenois

Champagne Terminology

Still wine from Champagne, mostly red made from Pinot Noir

Crayers

Champagne Terminology

Huge underground pits made out of chalk by the Romans now used as wine cellars

Cru

Champagne Terminology

A village or commune

Cuvee

Champagne Terminology

The first pressing of the grapes. Also a term used to describe an individual blend or style of Champagne

Degorgment

Champagne Terminology

Disgorgment (removal of frozen yeast/sediment plug before bottling)

Demi Sec

Champagne Terminology

Medium dry (3250g/L of sugar)

Demi Sec

Champagne Styles

Medium dry (32-50g/L of sugar)

Diam

Champagne Terminology

A closure brand made of fragments of cork that have been treated to extract cork taint

Dosage

Champagne Terminology

A mixture of sugar and wine (liqueur d'expedition) that's added to the bottle before the cork is inserted

Echelle Des Crus

Champagne Terminology

Champagne classification system of quality villages. Grand cru, premier cru for example

Extra Brut

Champagne Terminology

Extra dry (Less than 6g/L of sugar)

Extra Brut

Champagne Styles

Extra dry (Less than 6g/L of sugar)

Extra Dry

Champagne Terminology

Off dry (1217g/L of sugar)

Extra Dry

Champagne Styles

Off dry (12-17g/L of sugar)

Extra Sec

Champagne Terminology

Off dry (1217g/L of sugar)

Extra Sec

Champagne Styles

Off dry (12-17g/L of sugar)

Fermentation

Champagne Terminology

The process of creating alcohol, CO2 and heat by yeast converting sugar

Grand Cru

Champagne Terminology

The highest ranking vineyard within the Echelle Dec Crus system. There are 17 in total with this rank and all plots within the village are ranked at the same level

Grandes Marques

Champagne Terminology

A made up term for the famous larger Champagne houses. No factual specification and a widely used term

Grower Champagne

Champagne Terminology

A producer who produces Champagne form their own land and are only permitted to outsource 5% of grapes

Gyropalette

Champagne Terminology

A large machine that mechanically riddles bottles

Inoculate

Champagne Terminology

Adding yeast to a ferment

Lees

Champagne Terminology

Dead yeast cells and other sediment that settles at the bottom of the barrel/bottle

Lightstruck

Champagne Terminology

A negative effect/fault in a wine when contact with UV light has taken place

Liqeuer de Dosage

Champagne Terminology

Wine and sugar added to the bottle before closing with a cork

Liqeuer de Tirage

Champagne Terminology

Wine and sugar/ concentrated grape juice added to encourage a second fermentation on bottle

Liqueur de Expedition

Champagne Terminology

Wine and sugar added to the bottle before closing with a cork

MA

Producer Terms

Marque d'Acheteur aka Buyer's Own Brand. A large retail or restaurant that buys a finished wine and sells it under their own private label.

Maceration

Champagne Terminology

Soaking red grape skins on the extracted juice (for rose Champagne or still red wine)

Maison

Champagne Terminology

House, or a slang term used for the producer/ brand of Champagne

Malic Acid

Champagne Terminology

Naturally occurring in fruit and grapes, and is responsible for acid/ freshness levels

Malolactic fermentation

Champagne Terminology

Malo for slang, is the process of converting malic acids to softer lacto acids which also impart diary aromas and flavours to the wine

Method Champenois

Champagne Terminology

The Champagne/ traditional method, referring to the way on which Champagne is made

Millesime

Champagne Terminology

Vintage

Minerality

Champagne Terminology

A descriptive term to describe aromas and flavours derived from soil

Muselet

Champagne Terminology

The wire cage which secures the cork in the bottle

ND

Producer Terms

Negociant Distributeur refers to a buyer who labels and distributes Champagne that they neither grew nor produced.

NM

Producer Terms

NM gociant Manipulant is a producer who buys all or some of their grapes from other growers. Anything less than 94% estate fruit must be labelled NM.

Non-vintage

Champagne Styles

NV is a wine made using base wines from more than one vintage (year)

NonVintage

Champagne Terminology

NV is a wine made using base wines from more than one vintage (year)

Oidium

Champagne Terminology

Also know as powdery mildew, and is a fungal disease which can ruin crops

Organic

Champagne Terminology

A practise that avoids any chemical intervention throughout the growing and wine making process such as pesticides or fungicides

Oxidisation/ oxidised

Champagne Terminology

Is a fault that occurs when the wine has come into contact with oxygen while or after bottling, and gives off a vinegar taste and aroma as well and dampening the fruit flavours sometimes even turning the wine brown

Poignettage

Champagne Terminology

A process that requires the bottle (after corking) to be vigorously shaken in order to disturb lees and help impart flavours associated with lees (bread) into the wine

Premier Cru

Champagne Terminology

The second highest tier of vineyard quality in the Echelle Des Crus ranking system of which there are 41

Prestife Cuvee

Champagne Terminology

The flagship Champagne from a brand which is normally also the most expensive and one that can age

Prestige Cuvee

Champagne Styles

The flagship Champagne from a brand which is normally also the most expensive and one that can age

Prise de Mousse

Champagne Terminology

The second fermentation that creates the bubbles inside the bottle

Pupitre

Champagne Terminology

The rack in which wines are stored to be riddled by hand

RC

Producer Terms

Recoltant Cooperateur refers to a grower-producer who has their own Champagne brand made at a co-op facility.

RM

Producer Terms

Recoltant Manipulantrefers to a grower-producer who uses a minimum of 95% estate fruit. This is classically considered the Champagne grower-producer type, although, it�s possible for a Maison to use this classification on a sub-label or brand.

RM

Producer Terms

Society de Recoltants is a union of growers who shares resources and collectively markets their own brands.

Reductive

Champagne Terminology

A wine made with very limited exposure to oxygen that as a style displays aromas of gunpowder or a burnt match and in extreme cases, rubber, cooked cabbage, garlic and onion

Remuage

Champagne Terminology

Refers to the riddling process

Reserve wines

Champagne Terminology

Withheld wines stored in the cellar (normally tank), from each vintage to blend into NV wines (or other styles of Champagne)

Riddling

Champagne Terminology

The process leading up the to disgorgement that moves the sediment to the neck of the bottle. Either by hand or gyropalette

Rose

Champagne Styles

A pink wine made by bleeding the colour from black grapes skins into the juice

Sabrage

Champagne Terminology

A way to open a Champagne bottle with traditionally a sabre, but now also all types of objects

Saignee

Champagne Terminology

A way to make a rose in which the juice has 'bled off' from crushed grape skins after a short cold maceration prior to fermentation

Sec

Champagne Terminology

Sec Semi sweet (1732g/L of sugar)

Sec

Champagne Styles

Semi sweet (17-32g/L of sugar)

Sur Pointe

Champagne Terminology

In between riddling and disgorgement, bottles are stored 'neck down' with the lees settled in the neck

Terrior

Champagne Terminology

A term used to describe a wine that has a 'sense of place', meaning you can taste where it came. The vineyard, soil, microclimate, altitude, aspect, drainage etc all contribute

Tirage

Champagne Terminology

Is the bottling of blended wines with the addition with sugar and yeast to bring on a second fermentation

Vendage

Champagne Terminology

Harvest or vintage

Vielles Vignes

Champagne Terminology

Old vines

Vigberon

Champagne Terminology

A vine grower

Vignerons

Producer Terms

Vigerons are grower-producers, or a single family/person who grows his own grapes in a specific place and makes his own wine.

Vin Clair

Champagne Terminology

A base wine that has gone through its primary, but not secondary fermentation

Vinage

Champagne Terminology

A wine made from a single year

Vintage

Champagne Styles

A wine made from a single year

Zero Dosage

Champagne Terminology

No sweetness is added

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