With the holiday season just around the corner, it is that time when you need to pull out all stops and ensure that you manage to satiate your guests’ appetite and taste buds. And when it comes to delighting your guests, nothing beats an excellent bottle of champagne. But, with so many kinds of champagne to choose from, it can become quite difficult if you’re not a wine enthusiast. Vine Vera helps you to demystify the cryptic phases on wine labels and learn how to pick and choose a bottle of champagne.
Zero Dosage or Brut nature
The terms “Zero Dosage” or “Brut Nature” are often mentioned below the name or label of the winemaker. This term basically indicates the amount of sugar which has been added during the last phase of the vitrification process. Thus, the champagne may be Doux (Sweet), Demi-Sec (semi-sweet) or Brut (dry). Champagnes that have less than 3gms of sugar per liter are labeled as “Brut Nature”. Such champagnes are likely to offer you with extremely pronounced flavors.
Blanc de Blancs
The term “Blanc de Blancs” basically indicates that the champagne in question has been made using Chardonnay grapes. Chardonnay grapes are white grapes that have a white juice. These grapes are famous for offering elegant and crisp wines and they are a perfect match when you’re serving refined dishes. Chardonnay grapes are also known to be a feminine wine, because of their sophisticated tastes. Thus, the Blanc de Blancs champagne is the one to go for if you’re serving delicate flavors of fish or oysters at the party.
Vintage or Millesime
Apart from blending different varieties of grapes, Champagne makers also blend different types of wines that are made from different years’ harvests. This practice sets such champagne makers apart from the French producers. Champagne makers often have a reserve of wine in their cellars so as to carry over the aromas of one year to the next. However, there are times when the present harvest is of exceptional quality. In such cases, the champagne makers are made from the grapes of a single year. All such wines are labeled as “Vintage” or “Millesime”. This champagne has much more character than all other champagnes and it should only be used during momentous occasions when you’re serving refined delicacies.
Blanc de Noirs
If you find the phase Blanc de Noirs on your champagne bottle, you should understand that this phrase means that the champagne has been made from Pinot Noir grapes or Pinot Meunier grapes. Both of these grapes are basically red grapes that have a white juice. You might find this to be a bit surprising, but champagne can also be made from red grapes. A Blanc de Noirs might also combine the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Meunier to offer you with a heady and powerful wine. If you plan to serve caviar or cured meats during the party, this is the champagne to choose.
Decrypting Champagne Label Abbreviations
If you have an eye for detail, you might have noticed that champagne bottles have all sorts of abbreviations on them. Most of these abbreviations are two letter designs like NM, RM, MA, SR, ND, CM and RC which might seem to be useless, until you realize what they stand for. These abbreviations simply showcase the professional profile of the producer. In other words, there are champagnes that are produced by one brand using grapes that are grown by individual winemakers or other growers. Thus, the abbreviations offer you with an idea of the overall character offered by the champagne. For example, RM stands for “Recoltant Manipulant” and it basically means that the champagne is most probably made using grapes from one or two harvests.