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Travel to the heart
of Champagne

 Hearing —  Hearing —  Hearing —  Hearing —  Hearing —  Hearing —  Hearing —

Step 1 — Opening

A wine that stimulates all five senses

Hearing isn’t the first sense that springs to mind when we imagine a wine-tasting session. Nonetheless, Champagne delights the ear in a good many ways! From the noise made by the cork when you open the bottle to the fizz of the fine bubbles, tasting is just as interesting for the ears as for the other senses.

A legendary sound

The “pop” of the Champagne cork as it’s withdrawn from the bottle is an iconic noise instantly reminiscent of celebration. A noise full of promise of enjoyment to come.

On to the next act, in which an attentive ear will be able to detect the bubbles rising in the glass.

The words of hearing

" After the “pop” of the opening comes the pouring of the Champagne. You can hear its effervescence, a murmur, a rustling, a frisson... It sizzles, it crunches, it crackles. The bubbles burst, reverberate, giggle, babble, whisper and then die away All words that may well inspire you during tasting sessions. "

 Sight —  Sight —  Sight —  Sight —  Sight —  Sight —  Sight —

Step 2 — Effervescence

The ballet of bubbles

Now look closely. Fine bubbles are dancing in your glass, their movement an endless ballet. They form the collerette or “pearl necklace” on the surface. Look at the fine droplets they leave on the sides of the glass when they burst. You’ll be surprised to see that the wine’s effervescence is expressed in different fashions depending on its personality and age.

What colour is your Champagne?

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

The wine in your glass has a mostly yellow robe with more or less evident green highlights? That’s often synonymous with a majority presence of chardonnay or the youth of the wine.

 Green yellow —  Green yellow —  Green yellow —  Green yellow —  Green yellow —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

This is the most usual colour. If you look closely at the robe, you’ll see that it’s “pure”, “complete” yellow with no highlights of any other colour. It’s the result of choices made in terms of grape varieties, vinification and/or ageing.

 Lemon yellow —  Lemon yellow —  Lemon yellow —  Lemon yellow —  Lemon yellow —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

Look closely at the wine in your glass. There are faint orange highlights in the yellow. This usually means that the wine is mostly composed of black grape varieties and/or with longer vinification time and/or a greater proportion of reserve wines.

 Golden yellow —  Golden yellow —  Golden yellow —  Golden yellow —  Golden yellow —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

The nuances here are closer to amber. This colour is first of all connected with vinification choices at the start of the process, as well as with the wine’s development. It’s usually a sign of complex wines of great maturity.

 Old gold —  Old gold —  Old gold —  Old gold —  Old gold —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

The wine in your glass has a pale pink robe? Then it’s certainly a blended rosé with a low percentage of red wine or saignée /macerated rosé with short maceration.

 Soft pink —  Soft pink —  Soft pink —  Soft pink —  Soft pink —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

The wine’s pinkness is accentuated by faint orange highlights Whatever the production method (blending or short maceration), this suggests that the Champagne has been aged over a longer period.

 Salmon pink —  Salmon pink —  Salmon pink —  Salmon pink —  Salmon pink —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

The wine is darker in colour with red nuances. This is usually the colour of a Champagne wine produced by maceration.

 Strawberry pink —  Strawberry pink —  Strawberry pink —  Strawberry pink —  Strawberry pink —

Look deep into the liquid in your glass: what do you see? Champagne can come in an infinite number of hues, from the palest of yellows to old gold. Subtle red highlights signal the dominance of black grape varieties.

Here, the robe has purple highlights, usually the result of longer maceration with the skins of pinot noir and/or meunier varieties.

 Raspberry pink —  Raspberry pink —  Raspberry pink —  Raspberry pink —  Raspberry pink —
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The words of sight

" Before our eyes, the newly poured liquid seethes, lives, stirs. Bubbles, fine and medium, regular, in columns, grouped together, delicate, are like a rain of shooting stars, twirling by... The mousse, a collerette of fine pearls, is creamy, white, resilient, vibrant, elegant... "

 Touch -  Touch -  Touch -  Touch -  Touch -
 Effervescence • Freshness • Effervescence • Freshness • Effervescence • Freshness •

Step 3 — Handling

A glass suited to Champagne

The glass itself awakens the sense of touch. Ideally, it’s tulip-shaped and of the greatest possible finesse. A fine mist forms on its sides, a result of the chilled wine it contains...

Holding the glass

Of all our senses, it’s touch that will be the most sensitive to the Champagne’s temperature. When you hold the glass, the chill is immediately evident. On the palate, it’s a much appreciated sensation. Champagne displays the best of its qualities and character between 8°C and 10°C. So leave the bottle in a cool place or in an ice bucket for half an hour before serving.

The words of touch

" Beneath our fingers, the light mists that forms on the sides of the glass captures and brings out the Champagne’s freshness. When it’s tasted, its fine bubbles invade the mouth and then explode, awakening the palate with their commotion. The taste buds are no less stimulated by the burst of flavours that is set free. "

 Smell and taste -  Smell and taste -  Smell and taste -

Step 4 — The tasting experience

Why the bubbles are so important

The bubbles act as amplifiers of Champagne’s fragrances. As they burst, you can smell the Champagne gradually liberating its aromas.

Sensations that develop over time

To make the utmost of Champagne’s organoleptic properties, you must wait for the wine to open up. First of all, you may detect the fragrance of white flowers, for example. But soon other fragrances round out the experience: orange peel, wild berries... Its aromas depend on the Champagne’s profile and age. They develop over time, from youth to plenitude.

Champagne’s aromas

An explosion of flavours

White grapes

Chardonnay

It produces wines with notes of white flowers (hawthorn, honeysuckle, linden, acacia, jasmine and orange blossom), citrus fruits (lemon, grapefruit) and exotic fruits (litchi, pineapple) as well as apples, pears and spices (anise, ginger) and even mint.

On the palate

Such wines usually have a light, aerial structure on the palate along with a measure of liveliness. They are the expression of chalky terroirs described by a term that’s hard to define: “minerality”. It manifests itself in a combination of two sensations: acidity and salinity.

 Minerality • Liveliness • Minerality • Liveliness • Minerality • Liveliness •
Tilleul Fleurs blanches Citron Pamplemousse Craie Pommes Fruits exotiques Brioche Caramel Pain_grille

Black grapes

Pinot noir

It produces notes of white and yellow fruits (peaches, apricots, plums and mirabelles), as well as red fruits (strawberries, raspberries and cherries) and even black fruits (blackberries and blueberries), citrus fruits (mandarins and oranges), exotic fruits (mangos and passion fruit), floral touches (roses, peonies and violets) and sometimes spices (cinnamon and cloves).

On the palate

Pinot noir wines provide Champagne with body and punch

 Body • Punch • Body • Punch • Body • Punch •
Cerises Fraise Roses Mangues Cannelle Figues Noisettes Dattes Cafe Raisins secs

Black grapes

Meunier

It produces notes of white and yellow fruits (peaches, apricots, plums and mirabelles), as well as red fruits (strawberries, raspberries and cherries) and even black fruits (blackberries and blueberries), citrus fruits (mandarins and oranges), exotic fruits (mangos and passion fruit), floral touches (roses, peonies and violets) and sometimes spices (cinnamon and cloves).

On the palate

Wines produced from meunier provide Champagne with roundness, an indulgent, unctuous texture.

 Roundness • Unctuousness • Roundness • Unctuousness • Roundness • Unctuousness •
Poires Fraises des bois Peche Abricots Miel Fruits confits Noix Amandes Sous-bois Cacao