prosecco or champagne for mimosa

prosecco or champagne for mimosa

Champagne is a separate country. Everything is different there.

Champagne press

Output per hectare is the most important indicator in winemaking. Among wine lovers there is a commonplace, but perhaps a naive belief that high yields are bad and low ones are good. The idea, as it were, is that the smaller the berries you collect from a hectare, the more concentrated their taste is, and this is a definite plus for any wine. But if you look, it’s not so simple.

In the majority of truly successful vintages of Bordeaux and Burgundy, in practice there are quite good harvests. What, in general, is not surprising: good weather brings a lot of ripe berries. And do not forget about planting density: the number of vines per hectare seriously affects the gross yield. If you have 10,000 vines per hectare, then the crop you collect from it is much larger than with 5,000 vines.

Champagne Tasting

Age of the vines is also a serious factor. Older vines produce more concentrated berries, but this is because they have less juice. And there is no escape from such unpleasant moments as disease, bad weather, frost, and in some “lucky” regions and forest fires, floods and volcanic eruptions.

prosecco or champagne for mimosa

prosecco or champagne for mimosa

For champagne (or rather, for the grape juice from which it is produced), the optimum yield is higher than for most ordinary (still) wines.

The not so fertile soils of Champagne led to the practice of fairly dense plantings: approximately 8,000 vines per hectare. And the trend is towards its even greater increase.

Champagne winemakers explain: champagne must must have a calmer (neutral) taste compared to quiet wines, for which the goal is a rich, fruity bouquet. So appreciated the complexity of champagne is acquired by him during the aging in the cellar of a mixture of very mineral wines, and not fruit “goodies.”

And yet, if you look at the maximum level of per hectare (15.5 tons) set for Champagne by law, it will become obvious that for still wines this figure would be incredibly high. For example, for Bordeaux, the legislative maximum is twice as low.

prosecco or champagne for mimosa

Key moment number 1

Each year, the special body Comite Champagne sets the base output maximum per hectare specifically for this year. This is the maximum amount of grapes that can be harvested and immediately processed into champagne wine. It is installed as late as possible – as a rule, in July. And this level is always lower than the absolute maximum set by the European Union at 15.5 tons per hectare.

This basic maximum is the subject of a conflict of interest between winegrowers owning most of the vineyards and champagne houses forced to buy the most expensive grapes in the world. Obviously, in any year the grower wants to collect and sell as many grapes as possible, and the producer is interested in buying exactly as much as he needs, and nothing more.

Due to the economic crisis, this annual limit has caused heated political debate. Since 2010, for more objective evaluation, the practice of statistical observation has been introduced – ‘observatoire economique’. The target yield level began to be determined on the basis of cross-analysis of sales for the past 12 months, the level of reserves of reserve wines and bottles for aging in the cellars, as well as future sales forecasts.

Why such a tight binding of the harvest in Champagne to economic, market highs? Champagne is not unique in this: in the Porto region and in Jerez they do the same.

Champagne aged in the cellar of the manufacturer on average 2-4 years before going on sale. What is collected and bottled in year X, does not enter the market earlier than in the year somewhere X + 3. The definition of supply to meet demand after 3 years involves the coordination of the level of current production with expected future demand and the spending of stocks of previous years. That is why the harvest of this year should be based on the clearest idea of ??how much wine will be sold in the next three years.

Champagne is a price elastic product. In difficult times, the demand for it falls. The adjustment of production volumes to the level of demand actually requires the ability to predict the economic cycle.

Comite Champagne unveiled July 2014 harvest levels set at July 16: 10.5 tons per hectare. The average level for the period 2001-2010 was 12285 kg / ha, with a base maximum in 2013 at the level of 10000 kg / ha. A cautious increase to the level of the previous year can be regarded as a reflection of the slow recovery of the global economy, given the continuing stagnation of the French market, which is native to champagne.

But a level of 10.5 tons / ha is the maximum base level of output. It can be exceeded by manufacturers by the amount of the so-called upper limit (rendement butoir). The difference between the base and upper limit is grapes, going to the Reserve, assigned to the name of the grower who sells the harvest to a large house (or cooperative), or taken into account by the grower himself, if he is a producer of champagne.

Such a reserve, whose rules are changing all the time, has been practiced in Champagne for many years. This is a buffer that allows you to smooth out the shortage or excess of wine materials in this northern region, exposed to climatic risks and with very uneven yields from year to year.

It is this reserve that is the reserve reserve of previous vintages wines, from which the annual blending is made, which allows to obtain the traditional and valued complexity of champagne blends.

The balance of 2014

In brief, the figures for Comite Champagne for 2014:

Base production limit of 10,500 kg / ha – for immediate production of champagne

Of these, 400 kg \ ha – from the current reserves of the Reserve. (500, if 2014 sales exceed 307 million bottles). Those. in the end, you can collect only 10,100 kg per hectare to start the current production of champagne.

The upper output limit (butoir) is another 3,100 kg to the base (i.e. just 13,200 kg / ha), which, if collected, must necessarily go to the Reserve. However, the overall level of the Reserve should not exceed 8000 kg per hectare.

Thus, if my harvest was 12,000 kg per hectare, 400 kg out of these 12,000 will immediately go to the base wine and be counted as vins clairs (base wines) from my Reserve. It remains 11600kg \ ha. But this is 1,100 kg / ha more than the base maximum (10,500 kg / ha), so they must go to my reserve. 5000kg \ ha remained in my Reserve, after the mentioned 400kg \ ha was used. So I can send another 1100 kg / ha to the reserve, bringing it to the level of 6100 kg / ha, which does not exceed the limit set for the reserve of 8000 kg / ha.

In practice, of course, the grapes in the Reserve are stored in the form of basic wines (vin clair), until they are used in future blends according to the limits issued by Comite Champagne.

So, the volume of production in Champagne – a tricky business, and you can get confused in it.

But we will continue.

The question may arise: why the yield per hectare for champagne is measured by the weight of the grapes, and not by the amount of wine produced?

The fact is that until recently Champagne was the only wine region on the planet where the yield of the product was controlled twice: the first time by the weight of the grapes, the second by the amount of juice and its type as it was squeezed. Now this practice has also become applied in Italy in the production of sparkling Franciacorta.

Key moment number 2

The yield of the product in Champagne is only partially determined by the crop. The next stage of control is the press.

Champagne wort should produce wine with a very delicate structure. High acidity and sparkling “mousse” are two sides of this quality. The champagne will then aspire to the ideal cream mousse, being aged in the cellar on the lees from the second fermentation at an ideal 10-14 degrees. But before that, it is necessary to take care of the preservation of fresh acidity and the ingress of the smallest amount of microscopic solid particles from the pulp of the berries.

The grapes for champagne do not ripen as much as the grapes of the more southern regions, therefore, from its skin and pulp, when pressing, astringent compounds get into the juice, if you do not spin it really delicately.

Therefore, the amount of juice that can be squeezed out of fresh berries is the second most important point in controlling output in the production of champagne. The rule is very simple: no more than 102 liters of juice from 160 kg of grapes.

The standard volume of champagne press is 4000 kg, i.e. 2550 permitted juice. The best part of it is the first 2050 l, which are called cuvee, the rest – taille – goes to champagne blends lower level – not so bright, faster than ripening (due to the content of more easily oxidizable compounds), with more rough texture. If the manufacturer wants to use only cuvee for his champagne, he can sell the taille.

102 liters of 160 kg is about 63.75% of the weight of clusters in the form of juice. The champagne obtained from the actual allowed maximum for 2014 – 10100 kg / ha (remember that 400 kg taken into account from reserves) – in the form of the finished product will be approximately 67 hectoliters.

The total amount in liters will always be slightly more than the estimated 63.75%, since a small amount will add shaptalization (adding sugar to increase the total strength of the wine), some crumbs will add yeast and sugar introduced for secondary fermentation, and finally play the role that a heavier juice will be partially converted into lighter alcohol, due to which liters will be slightly more than it was at the beginning of a kilogram.

Over the past 15 years or so, production in Champagne with the above amendments averaged 65-75 hectoliters per hectare. And this is not so bad for such a density of landings. Such an indicator may well be the answer to those who believe that Champagne has too much yield for the quality for which it claims.

In fact, about the same as in Bordeaux.

Champagne and Caviar: Love in French

When Europeans recognized black caviar as a delicacy (and it happened at the beginning of the last century, of course, Champagne became the “legitimate” companion of black caviar. Since then, champagne and black caviar are perceived as a classic wine-gastronomic union and a symbol of luxury. Speaking of ideal compatibility wines with food in general, two most successful options can be noted: a) champagne and food are ideally combined in their characteristics and seem to melt into each other; b) everything works in contrast, i.e. characteristics are opposite, but complement each other perfectly. Again, a classic example is black caviar. For its fatty and brackish taste, champagne adds acid and freshness. A spoon of caviar – a sip of Krug, another of caviar – more champagne … Endless pleasure: you take one sip with bubbles – and your palate is again ready to accept the caviar. To achieve the perfect balance of balance between champagne and caviar, full-bodied wine should be served, which maintains its salty taste. Only the best wines will be an ideal partner of caviar: Cuvee Dom Perignon (Moet & Chandon), La Grande Dame (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin), Krug Grande Cuvee, Cristal (Louis Roederer), Sir Winston Churchill (Pol Roger), Grand Siecle (Laurent- Perrier), Clos de Goisses (Philopponnat) and other special cuves and millezyme.

prosecco or champagne for mimosa

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