Champagne lovers will have a reason to celebrate with a bottle of bubbly with news from the French agriculture ministry that Champagne will see a 56 per cent rise in production this year.
The report, which was released last Thursday 8 August, came alongside the less celebratory news that the Bordeaux region will see an eight per cent drop in production, compared to 2012.
The cause of this fall in Bordeaux’s wine production is said to be due to the violent storms swept through the Bordeaux region earlier this month, leaving behind a trail of destruction and severely damaging much of Bordeaux’s famed vineyards. From Friday to Saturday around 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of vineyards in the souwestern region of Bordeaux suffered 80 to 100 per cent loss.
Expressing his sadness for the loss in Bordeaux Bernard Farges, head of the Bordeaux Wine Interprofessional Council said “The affected area is very big and entire properties are devastated and have lost almost everything.”
1. All Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagnes. For wine to be a true Champagne, it must come from a certain area of France, the mere 70,000 acres called Champagne.
2. The primary types of Champagne include Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs and Rosé
3. Blanc de blanc means “white from white” — or white Champagne from a white grape. By law, blanc de blancs can only be made from a single grape variety, Chardonnay
4. Blanc de noirs are white Champagnes made only from the black grape varieties of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Typically, these are full-bodied and deep yellow-gold in colour.
5. Pink or rosé Champagnes can be produced in two ways. The first and more traditional method involves adding a small amount of Pinot Noir still wine to the base wine or cuvee, prior to the second fermentation. The second method involves the pressing of the grape skins, allowing them to soak with the juice of the grapes prior to fermentation.
6. Non-Vintage (or sans Année Champagne) accounts for 85 to 90 per cent of all Champagne produced and it is less expensive than those produced in a Vintage year. It is designated as non-Vintage because it is composed of several different vintages, rather than from a single harvest.
7. A Vintage Champagne is one in which all grapes used have been harvested from a single year. In a good year, no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the total Champagne made is Vintage Champagne. According to regulations, Vintage Champagne must be aged for at least 3 years.
8. Champagne is more sensitive to temperature and light than most other wines. For that reason, it is typically bottled in a light-resistant, dark green glass. Champagne should be stored between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Champagne should be chilled to a temperature between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can be attained by placing the bottle in a refrigerator for a couple of hours or a freezer for 15 minutes. Finally, the classic way to chill a bottle of Champagne is to place it in an ice-bucket, half filled with ice, half with water, for 20 minutes.
10. The trick to opening a bottle of Champagne while maintaining its integrity is to avoid “popping” the cork. Begin by scoring the foil around the base of the wire cage. Then, carefully untwist and loosen the bottom of the cage, but do not remove it. In one hand, enclose the cage and cork while holding the base of the Champagne bottle with your other hand. Twist both ends in the opposite direction. As soon as you feel pressure forcing the cork out, try to push it back in while continuing to twist gently until the cork is released with a sigh.