19 Oct Cheers to Champagne Day
We sat down with Nour’s expert sommelier Eleonore Wulf to talk all things Champagne ahead of Champagne Day, which is Friday 22nd October. If you are a lover of the bubbles and have always been interested to know more about the process of how Champagne is made, what you should look for when choosing a glass or bottle to share with friends, then read below for Eleonore’s top tips on how to pick the best fizz.
Let’s start from the beginning. Can you describe the process of making Champagne?
“The Champagne method, or Méthode Traditionnelle, is the process in which all Champagne must be made to achieve the Appellation status. First the grapes must be handpicked and delicately pressed. Sugar and yeast is then introduced to the blended grape juice for fermentation which occurs in bottle. The second fermentation is where the magic happens, CO2 is trapped creating the bubbles we adore, and the bottles are gradually inverted to trap any solids in the neck of the bottle. Once these solids are removed, or disgorged, the bottles are topped up and corked”.
Can you describe some of the varieties?
“Champagne is typically made up of a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier although Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane are used. These varieties only make up a tiny 3% of plantings in the region but can create beautifully nuanced Champagne wines”.
Why do you think it holds significance in society?
“Champagne is synonymous with celebration and great marketing strategies on behalf of the region of Champagne and powerhouse brands such as Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Perignon who have played an important role in establishing an identity of opulence and grandeur around Champagne. When we think of a special occasion, celebration or big events most look towards Champagne, and there is something truly special about enjoying a glass”.
What should you look for when picking out a Champagne?
“If you’re looking for something with more of a toasty, buttery characteristic look towards Vintage or Late Disgorged styles. Perhaps you’re after something refreshing or crisp? Why not try a Chardonnay driven Champagne, or Blanc de Blanc style. Or maybe you’re a bit of an acid freak like me, so why not give a Brut Nature style a whirl”.
Do you have a fun fact about Champagne?
“Champagne owes a lot to one revolutionary Female winemaker. Madame Clicquot Ponsardin or ‘Widow Clicquot’ is often hailed as the Grande Dame of Champagne having taken over the Clicquot winery at age 27 when her husband passed. Her incredible business prowess led to the development of the early Champagne method and her wine remains an International name to this day!”