We have hosted a number of events this week and even before this weekend’s amazing parties we have already opened hundreds of bottles of Champagne! Champagne is by far the most popular of our aperitifs; delicious served chilled, as a bellini or a bubbly cocktail.
Champagne is the most northerly wine region in France and only sparkling wine produced in the region can be called Champagne. Most Champagnes are a blend of three grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Nior and Pinot Meunier.
The secret of Champagne is the precise production process, developed in the 17th Century, which gives it its sought-after fizz. The grape harvests take place between mid-September and the beginning of October.
Once the grapes are picked, mostly by hand, the pressing process starts.
During fermentation, the grape juice is placed into vats, for around two weeks. The juice is kept at a constant temperature of 18-20ºC, and it is during this first process of fermentation, which activates the natural yeasts present in the grape juice, and transforms the sugars into a mix of alcohol and carbon gas.
The clarification process rids the wine of yeasts and other solid particles that affect flavour.
The blending process will then take place, often by mixing together “still” wines (i.e. non-sparkling) from different harvests, for a final flavour.
The wine is then bottled, and sugar and yeasts added to it, for the second fermentation process turning the wine into sparkling wine.
The wine will rest for 15 months to make a Brut Champagne, and 36 months for a Millésime (a vintage).
The riddling process can be done by hand or machine, and consists of turning the bottle from left to right, then placing it upside-down, to encourage the accumulation of natural deposits. Once these deposits have been removed the bottle is then ready to receive its cork stopper, capsule, wire-cap, label and collar!
For further details of our Champagne Receptions, please call one of our amazing Event Managers on 020 7793 1877