Tasting & Appreciation
The designation ‘Appellation d’origine contrôlée’ (AOC) Champagne is exclusively reserved for sparkling wines produced in France, in the Champagne viticultural area, using methods strictly defined by law.
One of the responsibilities of the Comité Champagne is to enforce the restricted use of that name.
Thus, to say of Champagne that it is French is a plenohm and to use the mention Champagne to qualify sparkling wines of foreign origin would be an abusive use of the AOC.
Always check the label to make sure that your Champagne is the real thing. It should state the origin of the wine and how it was made together with the following mandatory information:
Name of the producer or company name, followed by the name of the commune where that producer is registered (plus the trading address, if different) and the country of origin (France),
The registration and code number issued by the CIVC, preceded by two initials that indicate the category of producer*
Batch code (sometimes stamped on the bottle itself),
Allergen content (eg sulphur dioxide, sulphites, etc – sometimes mentioned on the back label),
The warning ‘Drinking even small amounts of alcohol when pregnant can harm your unborn child’ *
The Green Dot symbol indicating that the collection and sorting of packaging waste is financed by producers and retailers. ,
Where appropriate, the vintage and specific details relating to the type of cuvee (whether Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, Blanc de Noirs, etc.),
The producer may also display other optional information, such as the varietals used, date of disgorgement, sensory characteristics, suggested food-and-wine pairings, etc.
* The symbol must be displayed on the label in certain countries.
NM : Négociant manipulant. Individual or company who buys grapes, grape must or wine to make Champagne on their own premises and market it under their own label. All of the big Champagne Houses belong in this category.
RM : Récoltant manipulant. Grower who makes and markets own-label Champagne, from grapes exclusively sourced from their own vineyards and processed on their own premises.
RC : Récoltant-coopérateur. Co-op grower who markets co-op-produced Champagne under their own label
CM : Coopérative de manipulation. Wine co-op that markets Champagne made on co-op premises from members grapes.
ND : Négociant distributeur. Distributor who buys in finished bottles of Champagne and labels them in their own name, on their own premises prior to release.
MA : Marque d'acheteur. Brand of Champagne owned by a third party who is not the producer, for instance supermarket own-brand Champagne (finished Champagne sourced from various producers then sold under the supermarket’s own label).
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