4. aug. 2010

Champagne: The classic Tange-Gerard line

Our classic line of champagnes is made in cooperation with the oenologue at our cooperative (coop) and a small group of growers who work together.

The idea of this line of champagnes is to elaborate champagnes that are typical of our micro-region around Vertus. The common characteristics of these wines originates in a dominance of the Chardonnay which is here typically fresh and straight where flavours are harmonious in a fine and elegant way.

This is a shared idea of taste between the different champagnes of the line, even for those containing little or no Chardonnay.

The grapes
The grapes are grown in the villages of Vertus, Bergères-les-Vertus, Oger, Soulières and Loisy-en-Brie.

Our contribution is situated in Soulieres and Loisy-en-Brie with a bit more than half of Chardonnay and a bit less of both Pinots whereas Vertus is mainly Chardonnay.

The harvest
All grapes are pressed in Coquard horizontal presses at the coop in Vertus, less then 10 kilometers from the vineyards.

The pressing is followed by a passage of up to 12 hours in ceramic tanks that allow solid stuff in the fresh must to sediment.

Pinot grapes for red wine and for the Rosé de Saignée are further sorted and the berries are separated from the stems.

The vinification
The must is transferred to steel vats of different sizes that vary from 30 hl to 100 hl.

Industrial yeast is used for the fermentation in addition to natural ones in order to ensure a smooth procesS. The temperature and sugar levels are indicators of the fermentation and these are measured every day to act, should the fermentation weaken. This may happen when the condition of the grapes is not good (health or temperature) or when maturity isn't accurate. Thus the great importance to grow good grapes, harvested at the right time.

The first alcoholic fermentation is usually finished after 14 days. The new wine remains unstable the following months which means its taste will change.

Wines destined for non-vintage champagne go through the malolactic (malo) fermentation that changes some of the sharp acids into smoother ones. This procesS begins naturally when the temperature in the vat is above 15°C. Future vintage champagne wines do not go through the malo procedure as they are expected to have a longer life thus more time for the acidity to fade naturally.

The champagnification
The tastings of the new wines begin in January and continues until March. A small group of winegrowers, the cellar master and the enologist of the coop will taste together throughout the period.

This is where the wines destined for the different cuvées will be selected followed by the blending.

About 90% of the still wines will be sold to champagne houses and bigger cooperatives from the autumn and until spring.

Once agreement is reached within the group on each champagne, the bottling will be performed, typically in April, and the bottles will be stored in the caves for several years.

Before the disgorging, the dosage of the champagnes will be discussed. The current tendency is lower dosage year by year. However the target is a pleasant taste and not necessarily a low dosage.

The fun
A glass of champagne instantly transforms the moment into something nicer.

Whether you've got hold of a vintage or a brut sans année, a white champagne or a pink, a dry one or a sweeter demi-sec, a glass of champagne is a way, you may choose to appreciate a moment in your life differently.

This range of champagnes suggests a bit of everything: You may find your reception wine or a bottle that fits a dish, you particularly like. You may also want a glass with someone special before dinner during weekends.

The worst wrongdoing when it comes to champagne, is to limit possibilities to special events only.

Champagne main page