Friday, July 28, 2023

LeDomduVin: Au Revoir Petit Frère...


Au Revoir Petit Frère...

July 28th is a special day for my family and me.  Filled with both joy and sadness. 

"Joy", happiness and love, because it is my mother's birthday. She is turning 73 years old today. Happy birthday Mum, and for many more years to come. 

"Sadness", pain and sorrow, because it is also the day we buried my little brother and his father, 1 year ago, on July 28th, 2022.  He was only 38 years old.  Way too young to die.  

I thought I wrote a post about this last year, but I realised I did not. It has been complicated for me to talk about this until now. Time eases the pain, I guess. 

Though, one year is still very recent for me, too recent, maybe. And yet, even if still painful, I feel the need to write this post to remember and commemorate my little brother. 

On July 17th 2022, my family was victim of a tragedy. My mother called me. She was in tears. It was so painfully emotional for her that she had difficulty talking. I listened carefully. I could not believe it. I was both devastated and in shock. 

That day we lost both my stepfather and little brother in a tragic and dramatic incident (he was actually my half-brother, but my brother to me). The sort you think can only happen to others, in movies or real life, but only to specific people or families living in certain conditions, with particular problems or with precedent history, until it happens to your family.  

It is the type of story you usually only read about in the "faits-divers", brief news stories, typically found in most French newspapers, that are sensational, lurid, morbid, etc. 

I was speechless, bewildered and mournful. Why? How? What triggered such a horrible and indescribable event? 

Few days later, I was on a plane from Hong Kong to my hometown of Bordeaux to support and help my mother and my family.      

The few weeks that followed, spent with my mum and family, were some of the most difficult of my life. 

This was the official announcement in the local newspaper "Sud-Ouest" 

To my brother, Mathieu Bertrand, who left too soon, too quickly, on July 17, 2022, a year ago. Your presence is still very much alive in me. A year has passed, and yet it feels like yesterday. 

Your memory will forever be engraved in my memory and that of the family and all those who knew and loved you and those who also accompanied you and travelled a long way with you. 

Next month, I'm coming with the kids to Bordeaux to see family and friends.  I will also come to visit you at the cemetery and take a moment to tell you that I am thinking of you and that you are always there for me, very close. We will never forget you. Peace to your soul, and rest in peace, little brother.

Last year, on December 22, your birthday, you would have turned 39. So, wherever you are, I wish you a Happy Birthday, little brother. I think of you, and I will never forget you. 

This picture of you was taken from your profile on Facebook. It was one of the last selfies you took of yourself. 

Last year, after your passing, I wanted to change it to black and white. I hesitated ... and then no, I left it as is, as I prefer you in colour. That's how I want to remember you. 

I just tweaked it a bit and added a frame, like those family photos we put on the furniture or the walls in the living room, so everyone can see and remember those who left. Because I want everyone to see you and remember you. To keep your memory as long as possible. 

Same for your Facebook page. I wanted to close it at one point, but on the advice of one of my best friends, I did not. I left it as is. And he was right! It is better to leave your Facebook page open so that everyone can still see you, remember you and write you a note if and when they feel like it.

I miss you, little brother. I often look at your picture, and look at the sky too. I hope you are well and that you continue your journey with your father, together, and that he takes good care of you up there. 

There is a church near my work. I went there to light a candle for you in your memory. 

And I invite all those who want to do the same to do it, so that, even from up there, Mathieu will see all of your candles and realise he has not been forgotten. That he is still very present in our minds and our hearts.  

At the same time, all these candles could be like the ones he could have had for his 39th birthday but did not.  It would be a nice gesture from all of you.  

This is a post for all the buddies, friends and other relatives and acquaintances of my little brother, Mathieu Bertrand, who may not yet be aware or may have not realised it yet.  

Sorry to tell you this way, but my little brother, Mathieu, and his father, Michel (my stepfather), died on July 17, 2022, in the village of Comps, following a tragic incident.  

The ceremony took place on July 28th,  2022. It occurred at the little church of Comps and the burial was done right after the ceremony, at the cemetery of Comps. 

There were about 300 people at the church. It was impressive, emotional and moving. My heartfelt thanks to all these people who came to accompany them on their last journey. 

And I also thank all those who could not be there physically but in thought with us that day.  

Words fail me. It's very sad. A year has passed, and I miss him so much already. Peace to your soul, little brother, and may you rest in peace.  

Out of respect for my brother, Mathieu, and his father, Michel, my mother, my family and I prefer not to give details about the circumstances of their deaths.  Thank you for your understanding. 

To everyone who wrote messages on Mathieu's Facebook page and other social media. Thank you all for your condolences, thoughts and support. 

Thank you to all those who could come for the ceremony on July 28th 2022, and those who were there with us, too, even if only in thought. 

As mentioned earlier, at least 300 people must have been at the church. It was impressive. 

Arnaud and Aurelie, Mathieu's half-brother and half-sister on his father's side, and myself, as well as their children, a few members of our family, and some of his colleagues and friends, made beautiful speeches. It was very emotional. Especially having to speak in front of such a crowd. 

It was a wonderful ceremony, full of emotions, with poignant and moving texts, which, without consulting each other first, complemented each other and allowed us to express ourselves, better understand the situation and our different perspectives, and, more importantly, "accept" it, so that life could go on. 

It was a message of peace that we wanted to transmit. A message of the love of a father for his son and of a son for his father. A message to say that our family has chosen love rather than anger. 

The music was very well chosen. Father Francis was brilliant, humble, simple, present and smiling. Despite the circumstances, he brought an enjoyable and light tone and energy to this ceremony, which, without his contribution, could have been long, heavy and laborious, given the circumstances. 

And even the singing of two people who knew Mathieu and who wanted to sing at the time of the funeral, while it was not planned, brought an even more unique atmosphere, softer and easier to live during this painful moment at the cemetery.  

Even the sky was beautiful that day. It was as if everything came together and was in place for my brother and my stepfather to leave in the best possible conditions. As if the sky and the angels had agreed to receive them in style and respect with great fanfare. 

For all that, thank you. I love you, little brother, and I will never forget you. Peace to your soul and rest so you can continue your journey with your father. 

NB: I apologise to those I did not see and/or recognize in the crowd and those I saw but could not greet or thank properly. Thank you to all of you. 🙏🙏🙏

To all the people who knew Mathieu and were his friend in real life and/or on Facebook, the family and I shared your pain. I wanted to, once again, thank you for all your messages of sympathy, condolences and thoughts. 

Mathieu's Facebook page is still open. I invite those who will want to do so to write a message for Mathieu, to show him your love and affection and tell him that you won't forget him.  

Remember that those who left continue to live with us as long as we continue to think and speak about them and remember them. They will only vanish the day we stop. So, please continue.  

On this day of July 28th 2023, all my thoughts go to my mother, who lost her son and her compagnon on July 17th 2022 and buried them on her birthday, July 28th 2022. A day that will forever be marked by thoughts and memories. 

All my thoughts also go to Arnaud and Aurelie, their respective children, and the rest of the family and friends. I'm with you.      

Despite certain issues, Mathieu had a life. A full life. And he was loved. He had a family. He had friends. A lot of them judging by the amount of messages of thoughts and condolences he received on his social media pages, and the amount of followers he had. He had a job. He loved music, cinema, theater, traveling and even dancing. He was caring for others and had his way of making friends wherever he went. 

Things could get complicated at times for him for diverse reasons. And yet, as difficult as it was depending on the day, he was still enjoying his life and he had a life. That life was taken away from him...

Wherever he is now, I hope that he is happy and free to be himself. 

I love you and miss you little brother. Peace to your soul and may you rest in peace. 

Thank you for reading this very personal post. It was important for me to write it. 

For the past few years, I have been creating music tracks under my other alias DOMELGABOR. And, last night, I could not sleep. So I composed a little song with my brother, his father and my mother in mind. I dedicated it to them. 

I wrote this post while listening to the music  track I made (over and over again) until I finished writing. It was very emotional and spiritual at the same time. Mathieu was also with me in spirit. 

If interested to listen to it, click on the links below: 

PRELUDE by @domelgabor 2003 (YouTube)

PRELUDE by @domelgabor 2023 (Spotify)

Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. It is essential. As, in this increasingly fake and individualistic world, family and friends are what's real and what matters the most. The rest is superficial and often unnecessary.   

Thank you, and spread some love around you.  


@ledomduvin #ledomduvin #aurevoirpetitfrere #tomylittlebrother #remembering #commemorating #rip #petitfrere #littlebrother #passing #death #pain #memories #tribute #neverforget 

Unless stated otherwise, all right reserved ©LeDomduVin 2023, on all the contents above including, but not limited to, photos, pictures, drawings, illustrations, collages, visuals, maps, memes, posts, texts, writings, quotes, notes, tasting notes, descriptions, wine descriptions, definitions, recipes, graphs, tables, and even music and video (when and where applicable).

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

LeDomduVin: Interpreting the engravings and markings located in the punt or at the bottom of a wine bottle.


Do you like my punt by @ledomduvin 2023 (v2)

Interpreting the engravings and markings 
located in the punt or at the bottom
of a wine bottle.

In my previous job as a Wine Quality Control Director for nine years, I frequently received requests from people seeking my professional opinion, suggestions, or advice on specific aspects of the label or engravings on a particular bottle, often old and rare. 

Even though I left that position two years ago, I still receive occasional inquiries from people who may doubt the authenticity of some of their bottles and are seeking answers.  

When someone asks me a question, I prefer to respond privately. Yet, as I don't always have all the answers, I may need to research online, ask a specialist or consult books to find the information. Once I have the answer, I like to share it on my blog so others can benefit from my findings, particularly on obscure topics that are hard to find online.

I previously wrote a few posts on counterfeit and fake wine bottles, where I discussed the importance of bottle inspection and authentication, trying to answer as many of the questions most people may have (if interested, read them here, also here and here)  

In these posts, I highlighted the significance of codes, bottle numbers, dates, and other markings engraved in the punt or at the bottom of a wine bottle. However, I never wrote a complete post about these topics, and it would be beneficial to do so.

I am writing this post in response to some questions I received about the markings found on 1960s bottles of Petrus. In the posts mentioned above (the 3 links), I have written quite extensively about Petrus. However, in this post, I will summarize what I already wrote about Petrus and delve deeper into the topic of the engravings and markings in the punt and at the bottom of the bottle.  

The questions are regarding 2 separate case scenarios:  

  • A 1966 Petrus bottle with a bottle maker of "SG" at the "kick" that has a box around it. 
    • Has the label "SG" ever been present on a Petrus bottle from the 1960s or newer vintages?
  • A 1969 Petrus bottle with a barely legible mark on the punt and a strange marking on the bottom right-hand corner of the label that appears to be a speck of red at first glance but looks like a heart shape under a microscope. 
    • Is there a specific marking on the bottle of 1969 Petrus? 
    • Is there a heart shape red spot at the bottom right-hand corner of the label?  

Reminder: What is the "Punt"? 

You may have noticed that the person who asked the question used the word "kick", which I prefer to call "the punt". Both words can be used to designate "the indentation" at the bottom of the wine bottle (as seen in the illustration below). 

Wine Bottle Details by @ledomduvin 2023

"The punt" was initially created by glassblowers by pushing up the bottle's seam to enhance its stability, strength and integrity, preventing it from wobbling when placed upright.

Then throughout history, "the Punt" has been given other meanings and usages, like:

  • To ease the service of the wine, a spot to place your thumb while the rest of your fingers grab the base of the bottle while pouring it into a glass. 

  • To indicate the quality of the wine, the deeper, the better. Yet, it has never been proven. And nowadays, the depth of the punt does not seem to correlate with the quality of the wine whatsoever. It is just a bottle shape style, either standard from the manufacturer or at the client's request.  

  • To create an optical illusion that the wine bottle is bigger than it actually is. There again, difficult to tell when the bottle is full. And, when it is empty, well... no one cares about the punt, right?.  
  • To catch the falling sediment and allow them to easily gather at the bottom of the bottle. That may be true to a certain extent.  
  • To make the bottle sturdier and more pressure-resistant, especially for sparkling wines. That is true.  
  • To better organize and stack the bottle more efficiently, which is proven to be true when wineries stack their bottles on the ground, on shelves, on racks or in cages.   

Reading the "Punt" 

As you know, I like to draw and create images, collages and illustrations (and prefer doing things myself rather than taking someone else's work). So, as an image is worth a thousand words, here is an illustration to help you understand how to read the "punt" of the bottle.  

Reading the Punt by @ledomduvin 2023


Before attempting to answer both cases, one thing must be said about Petrus: it is the most challenging and annoying wine to authenticate! Why? For decades, they have been inconsistent with their labels (colour, font, small details, etc...) and continue to be so (maybe a little less this past decade, but still...). 

The differences between the Petrus labels of the same vintage on 2 different bottles can sometimes be bewildering. Even for a guy with years of experience, like me, it can be very challenging to authenticate them and know whether they are real or fake or if only one is real and the other is fake. And if so, which one? How to differentiate them? (check the links above in the introduction to have the answer)

Like this example of "Petrus 1995 or Petrus 1995?" (picture below) that I described in a previous post (if interested, read it here). 

Petrus 1995 or Petrus 1995 by @ledomduvin 2022


And the most annoying thing is that Petrus will never answer questions. I have tried countless times, in vain. In the past 12 years, I have sent them emails with questions about the label (and even the bottle) variations for the same vintage, and I'm still waiting for an answer. 

Although I imagine details like these have probably been recorded somewhere, this may be due to their lack of knowledge or recollection (meaning they may not even know themselves or don't remember), especially for the older vintages that may have been released at different periods using slightly different labels printed using other printers, and maybe even printed for different markets.  

For example, let's take 1961 Petrus. Part of the stock was first released about 2 years after harvest (in 1963) with a specific label. The leftover was kept in reserve at the Chateau for later release. Depending on the release time, they may have changed the printer and some details on the label. 

Chateaux typically do not hold onto unused labels. Labels are ordered as needed and in specific quantities based on the number of bottles the chateau plan to release at a specific time. The remaining bottles are stored in the cellars without labels until an order is placed, which helps to prevent temptation and eventual theft both from within and outside of the chateaux. 

If labelled in the 70s or the 80s, the label will definitely present variations compared to the original. Even more, if printed later on, in the 1990s and 2000s, as the paper used was slightly different and the printing techniques too. Same if it was relabelled later due to lousy label conditions, etc...       

Like for example, these 3 bottles of Petrus 1961 present lots of differences on the labels (see picture below).  

Petrus 1961 label differences by @ledomduvin 2019 (v2)

Looking at these 2 pictures above, you better understand why Petrus is the most challenging and annoying wine to authenticate! 

If you do not have the correct references, as well as the know-how and necessary knowledge and experience, and unless you open the bottle to taste it, it can be challenging to differentiate a counterfeit from a real one sometimes or to even know which one is the real one if you end up mixing them.  

And, although annoying and inconvenient, Petrus (and other highly-coveted brands like DRC, etc..) do not answer questions about the details of their labels and bottles for security reasons. It is perfectly understandable when you know that, depending on the vintage, the average market price for a bottle of Petrus is between 3,000 and 6,000 Euros. Petrus is among the world's top 10 most coveted and most counterfeited wines, with DRC, Lafite Rothschild, Penfolds, etc... 

Therefore, better be discreet, not give any answers and refrain from divulging any information to anyone to prevent the leaking of valuable data and prevent counterfeiters from gaining access to these details. Caution is necessary.   

However, now that I have set the "ambience" and put things into perspective with Petrus, let's try to answer these questions. 😁👍🍷 


Petrus 1966 with a broken cork inside the neck by @ledomduvin 2019

1966 Petrus

The person wrote: A 1966 Petrus bottle with an "SG" bottle maker at the kick with a box around it. Has the label "SG" ever been present on a Petrus bottle from the 1960s or newer vintages?

Although I have bought, opened, tasted, prepared and served (and occasionally drunk) and inspected many bottles of Petrus in my 32 years career as Sommelier / Wine Buyer, including 1966 (and older), I did not necessarily take close pictures of the details on the labels and/or the bottles and therefore lack pieces of evidence to correctly answer this question.  

Searching online, I could not find any specific details about the punt of Petrus 1966. 

However, a quick search on French glass and bottle manufacturers providing Bordeaux bottles to the chateaux during the 1960s resulted in a short list of some significant wine bottle makers in France, including the following: 

1. Saverglass: Founded in 1897, Saverglass is a leading French glass manufacturer that produces high-quality bottles for various industries, including wine. 

2. O-I (Owens-Illinois): Originally an American company, O-I has been in France for many years. They are one of the largest glass container manufacturers globally and have supplied wine bottles to French winemakers during the 1960s. 

3. Saint-Gobain/Verallia: In 2010, the Packaging Sector of Saint-Gobain launched Verallia, a new international brand dedicated to manufacturing glass bottles and jars. However, Saint-Gobain has also produced glass bottles for the wine industry for over 3 centuries, besides providing materials distribution and services for construction companies. (***) 

4. Verreries Brosse: Founded in 1875, Verreries Brosse is a well-known French glass manufacturer specializing in creating glass containers for wine, spirits, and other beverages. 

5. BSN Glasspack: BSN Glasspack, now part of the Ardagh Group, was a significant player in the French glass packaging industry during the 1960s. They supplied wine bottles to wineries across France. 

These are a few examples of France's significant wine bottle makers during the 1960s. There were likely other smaller manufacturers and regional suppliers as well.

As mentioned, I don't currently possess a bottle of 1966 Petrus, and my online search yielded little information. However, I did come across an article that confirms that the initials "SG" embossed either on the side or inside the punt of the bottle refer to "Saint-Gobain." (*)

Therefore, the answer is yes regarding the presence of the "SG" label on Petrus bottles in the 1960s. Petrus used bottles manufactured by Saint-Gobain, which featured the letters "SG" embossed within the punt of the bottle during that time period.

I am unsure if the initials "SG" were embossed in a box or square shape on bottles of 1966 Petrus, as I do not have one to verify. Even though more recent vintages of Petrus do not feature a box around the "SG" initials, it is possible that older vintages may have had initials or logos embossed within a circle or square shape.

Saint-Gobain's website (**) states they have produced glass since 1665. In 1692, a factory was established in the village of Saint-Gobain in Picardy, a region north of Paris. This factory eventually became part of Saint-Gobain and gave its name to the company. 

Saint-Gobain is a significant company that operates in more than 60 countries. They are a global leader in light and eco-friendly construction and offer materials and services for both the construction and industrial markets, including glass for wine bottles. One of their essential business components is manufacturing glass containers such as bottles and jars. They are the second-largest producer of glass containers globally after Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I).

Talking about old markings embossed on bottles of Petrus, in a video about "Potentially Fake Petrus" bottles that I posted on YouTube about 3 years ago (see below), the bottle maker marking "CX" can clearly be seen at the bottom of the punt of the bottles from the late 1950s and early 1960s.  


I couldn't find any information online about "CX" being embossed on old bottles of Petrus or Bordeaux. Perhaps I should start taking pictures and create a library of Petrus bottle details for future reference.

To address the second part of the 1st inquiry regarding the continued usage of "SG" on recent vintages and to ensure accuracy in my response, I visited the wine cellar of one of the restaurants belonging to the company I am employed with. I took several photographs of different Petrus vintages for verification purposes: 1982, 1989 and 1990.

Let's start with the 1982 vintage.

I was very cautious when examining the Petrus 1982 bottle as it tends to sell for around 5,000 euros on average in the market, which is more than my wallet can afford. 😁👍🍷 

As you can see in the picture above and below, besides the ones from the mould, this particular bottle of 1982 Petrus has no specific markings on the punt of the bottle. 

Yet, it does have markings on the bottom side of the bottom. Not sure if you can clearly see it in the picture above, but the markings engraved on the bottle are the followings: 

  • The bottle maker marker: VOA (VOA- Verrerie d'Albi - France) (****)
  • Volume - 75cl
  • 55 mm (up to 63 mm) Gap length between the top of the bottle and the top of the wine fill level after filling exactly 75cl of wine in the bottle.
  • And the number 03 (to the right of 55 mm) (numbers on the punt usually correspond to various identification numbers, like the "year manufactured" or "mould identification number". As this is a bottle from the vintage 1982, the number "03" cannot be the year manufactured, so I'm assuming it is the "mould identification number" in that specific case.  

The Braille-like bumps on the heel and/or rings on the bottom are the bottle or the mould identification, readable by the inspection equipment for traceability (lot number, year of manufacture, code, etc...). Allowing for the defective lots and/or mould to be easily retrieved.  

Each bottle manufacturer has its own way of coding the bottle, and it would be too long to develop all the different codes, numbers and letters. Moreover, this post was just to give you an idea of how to read the punt. For more details, please refer to the website links in the "Sources & References" paragraph at the bottom of this post.   

Now let's answer the second batch of questions about Petrus 1969. 

Petrus 1969 (edited)

Petrus 1969

The person wrote: A 1969 Petrus bottle with a barely legible mark on the punt and a strange marking on the bottom right-hand corner of the label that appears to be a speck of red at first glance but looks like a heart shape under a microscope. 

    • Is there a specific marking on the bottle of 1969 Petrus? 
As far as I know, there is no specific marking on the punt of the 1969 Petrus bottle.  

    • Is there a heart shape red spot at the bottom right-hand corner of the label?  

There is no heart shape at the bottom right-hand corner of the 1969 Petrus label. One of the owners probably put it there as a joke due to the vintage connotation.    

Voila! That's All, Folks! Stay tuned for more posts coming soon. In the meantime, as always, take good care of yourself and your loved ones, stay safe and enjoy life as much as you can while you can! 

Cheers! Santé!


@ledomduvin #ledomduvin #punt #bottom #bottle #engravings #winebottle #bottleengravings #embosse #wine #vin #vino #wein #wineknowledge #wineeduction #sharing #knowledge #passion #education

Sources & References: 

(*) Article mentioning the "SG" engraved/marked on bottles:

(**) Saint-Gobain history:

(***) Verallia:

(****) If you are looking for specific "Glass bottle marks", the first link is the Emhart database of worldwide punt marks (sorted by alphabetical order), which is probably the best reference you can find online:

Other interesting websites:

Unless stated otherwise, all right reserved ©LeDomduVin 2023, on all the contents above including, but not limited to, photos, pictures, drawings, illustrations, collages, visuals, maps, memes, posts, texts, writings, quotes, notes, tasting notes, descriptions, wine descriptions, definitions, recipes, graphs, tables, and even music and video (when and where applicable).

Thursday, July 13, 2023

LeDomduVin: Azienda Agricola COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG 2017

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG 2017

For the past 2 decades, this Sicilian gem has been on my list of favorite everyday wines. 

I discovered it in the mid-2000s while working as a wine consultant and buyer for one of New York's most prominent wine & spirits retailers. It was love at first taste. And I never ceased to go back to it ever since. 

Cerasuolo di Vittoria is currently the only DOCG in Sicily, and the wines are worth discovering. 

Azienda Agricola "COS" is an acronym for the 3 friends who founded the winery back in 1980: Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano. 

This is a red wine from the region of Vittoria, south-eastern Sicily. Made from a blend of 40% Frappato and 60% Nero D’Avola, from 25 years old vines, grown organically on sandy red soil of limestone-siliceous nature perched at an altitude of 230 meters above sea level. After fermentation on the skins with indigenous yeasts, the wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels and bottled in their distinctive squat bottle. (*)

The resulting wine is always delightful, fresh, and easy to drink, and this 2017 is no exception to the rule. Last tested a few months ago (but forgot to post it), it was smooth, silky, and fresh. 

Despite growing under the scorching sun of Sicily, this wine is surprisingly low in alcohol (13%) and light to medium-bodied, with Frapato delivering vibrant acidity, freshness, juiciness, and intense aromatics, while Nero d'Avola bringing color, texture, structure, and depth. 

Not the most complex wine, yet greatly satisfying, friendly, delicious with Mediterranean food, and even on its own. 

Served slightly chilled, it will be perfect for this summer to drink in good company on a terrace facing the sea. 

And at less than 25 Euros (220 HKD), this wine is a steal. 😉😁👍🍷

Cheers! Santé! 


@ledomduvin #ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #wine #vin #vino #wein @aziendaagricolacos #aziendaagricolacos #sicilia #sicily #cerasuolo #vittoria #redwine #frapato #nerodavola #summer #sommelier #sommelierlife #sommlife #ilovemyjob #tastingnotes #ilovethiswine

Unless stated otherwise, all right reserved ©LeDomduVin 2023, on all the contents above including, but not limited to, photos, pictures, drawings, illustrations, collages, visuals, maps, memes, posts, texts, writings, quotes, notes, tasting notes, descriptions, wine descriptions, definitions, recipes, graphs, tables, and even music and video (when and where applicable).

Thursday, July 6, 2023

LeDomduVin: Champagne(s)

Champagne(s) by @ledomduvin 2023


In a restaurant, the story usually goes…

The sommelier arrived with some elegant Champagne flutes, placing one in front of each of us. He retrieved the bottle we had ordered earlier from the ice bucket, wiping it meticulously before presenting it to us. With his left hand, he firmly grasped the bottle's neck. Meanwhile, with his right hand, he removed the wrapping foil, loosened the wire of the muselet and then placed his right hand at the bottom of the bottle. He tilted the bottle at a 45-degree angle and, with a gentle turn of the bottle, eased the cork out while retaining it with his left hand, producing a faint "PSSSSHHHH" as the air pressure released. He poured up to a third of each glass, creating the signature fizzy crackling sound of the Champagne as the bubbles collapsed at the liquid surface. We raised and clinked our flutes for a convivial toast, looking at each other respectively before taking the first sip, as tradition commands. The sommelier placed the bottle back in the ice bucket, and with a smile and sparkles in his eyes, he said, "Enjoy!" It was a night to remember.” – Dom  

Created in the 17th century, Champagne has become the quintessential classic drink that adds a delightful touch to every party, reception, and celebration. It symbolises joy and memorable moments such as friendships, promotions, success, victories, birthdays, and weddings. 

There is always a good excuse to pop up a bottle and enjoy its delicious taste. And when it comes to “taste”, we should refer to "Champagnes" in the plural form rather than as a singular entity. There are so many types and styles of champagnes that it can be challenging to determine which will best suit your palate.

Yet, before getting into Champagnes' different types and styles, let’s briefly go back in time to its origins. 

Champagne's Origins (*)

Did you know that the first sparkling wine ever recorded was the "Blanquette de Limoux"? This wine was invented by Benedictine monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire near Carcassonne back in 1531. The method consisted of bottling the wine before the initial fermentation had fully completed. This technique was later known as the "Méthode Rural".

Wine production in the Champagne region predates the origin of "Champagne" as we know it today. The initial sparkling wine that later on brought fame to this French region resulted from an accident. 

Champagne is notorious for its cold winter, reaching freezing temperatures, eventually halting the fermentation. The wine was then bottled and stored. Yet, a few months later, with the return of the warm weather and higher temperatures, a secondary fermentation would occur inside the bottle, producing carbon dioxide bubbles to form within the bottle creating the iconic fizziness associated with Champagne. 

As corks popped and bottles exploded due to the pressure in the bottle, the resulting sparkling wine was dubbed "the devil's wine" or "le vin du diable". And interestingly, bubbles were considered a fault during that time.

In 1662, six years before Dom Pérignon arrived at the Abbey of Hautvillers, Christopher Merret, an English scientist and physician, first documented the process of adding sugar to a finished wine to obtain a second fermentation. Merret presented his findings on what is known today as the “Methode Traditionnelle” ("Traditional Method" aka “Méthode Champenoise”) at the Royal Society. 

In the 17th century, English glassmakers utilized coal ovens to manufacture glass bottles that were more robust and long-lasting compared to those produced by French glassmakers who used wood-fired ovens. At the same time, Merret's discoveries coincided with the progress made by English glassmakers, who could produce bottles able to withstand the internal pressure produced by secondary fermentation. Meanwhile, French glassmakers were not yet equipped to create bottles that met the required quality and strength standards. So, until the French adopted the same technique, the Champagne produced at the time was bottled in English bottles.  

Dom Perignon, who is often credited for it, did not invent Champagne. Still, his research and inventions greatly enhanced certain techniques that led to the elaboration of Champagne as we know it today. He was the first to make Champagne out of black grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which are part of the 3 main grape varieties still in use for its production today. He used the traditional second fermentation process, called "Méthode champenoise". He was also the first to use cork maintained by hemp ropes and sealed by wax to prevent wine bottles from exploding.

Securing the stopper only became a concern after the shipment of sparkling wines in bottles began in 1728. Initially, the stopper was fastened to the bottle only using string. However, in 1844, Adolphe Jacquesson developed a patent for a technique that involved placing a piece of tinplate between the cork and its ties to counterbalance the forces. This invention was the creation of the first capsule, which with the ropes tightened around the head of the bottle, consisted of what is known as the "muselet" to prevent corks from blowing out. 

The Muselet (*)

Champagne Muselet by @ledomduvin 2023

The word "muselet" originates from the French verb "museler", which translates to "to muzzle". This is because the wire cage securely holds the cork in place on the bottle's head (consisting of the collar or annulus and the lip, see details in the illustration above). 

Originally made with rope, the "muselet" evolved into wire versions, which proved inconvenient to remove and difficult to apply. 

In 1855, Nicaise Petitjean invented a string-tying machine (also known as a "Cheval de bois") that revolutionized the closure force of bottle stoppers. By incorporating a lever action, the machine increased the force tenfold, enabling the use of reinforced ties and ensuring more secure stoppers. 

Although many households favoured metal wires over the string at that time, the wire option was eventually abandoned due to the inconvenience of cutting it with metal cutters while holding the cork down.

The idea of pre-forming the binding wire to form a wire cage played a crucial and innovative role in developing muselets and led to the creation of the first wire muselets, resembling the one we know today. Wire cages were manufactured around the 1880s, replacing the traditional string that was used to secure the capsule and cork. 

The House of Pommery was among the first to use the wire cage, albeit a three-strand version instead of the more efficient and more contemporary four-strand design. Other Champagne houses soon followed suit, adopting the four-strand design for better stopper security.

The twisted ring came shortly after, in 1884, when René Lebegue, who was employed by Moët & Chandon, introduced the simple yet ingenious idea of the twisted ring to ease the opening of the wire cage. Instead of being cut or otherwise painfully removed, it now just needed to be untwisted to uncork the bottle. All it took was six quick twists of the wrist to pop open the bottle.

Champagne Popping by @ledomduvin 2022

The becoming of Champagne (suite of "Champagne's origins")

In the past, Champagne was seen as defective by winemakers. However, the surviving sparkling wine bottles caught French royalty's attention and became a trendy novelty. The French King, Hugh Capet, famously included Champagne wine in official Royal dinners at the palace. By the beginning of the 18th century, the Duke of Orléans had popularized it as the preferred drink among the French upper class.

As the popularity of sparkling wine grew, new Champagne houses emerged to satisfy the demand. Ruinart was the first to open its cellar doors in 1729, followed by Taittinger (previously known as Forrest Fourneaux) in 1734. Moet was established soon after in 1743, followed by Lanson (previously Delemotte) in 1760 and Louis Roederer (formerly Dubois Père & Fils) in 1770. Veuve Clicquot was founded in 1772, and Heidsieck in 1785.

In the early 19th century, despite the existence of the "Méthode Traditionelle", the "Méthode Rurale" was still commonly used to produce sparkling wine in the Champagne region.

In fact, it took about 200 years after Merret documented the process for Champagne to use the “Méthode Traditionnelle” (“Méthode Champenoise”) in the 19th century. This century also saw significant growth in champagne production. The “Champagne” as we know it today has been developed over the last 180 years or so.

Champagne has been a beloved drink since the early days of Champagne houses, and its popularity has only grown over time. It is now a highly sought-after drink worldwide, associated with royalty, high society, and celebrations. Even today, Champagne is still considered a luxurious and opulent drink. Many well-known brands of Champagne sponsor prestigious international events such as Wimbledon, Formula 1, the BAFTAs, and Royal Ascot, bringing a touch of class and luxury to these occasions.

During the 19th century, champagne was known for its sweetness which differed from the current champagne. However, a shift towards drier champagne occurred when Perrier-Jouët chose not to sweeten his 1846 vintage before exporting it to London.

As a result, the term "Brut Champagne" was coined specifically for the British in 1876. And “Thanks to the British”, Champagne started to get produced in various “styles” and “types” afterwards and therefore got pretty complicated.

Yet, before talking about Champagne's Types and Styles, let's briefly talk about the 3 main grape varieties and how Champagne is made.

Champagne's 3 main grape varieties

Three main grape varieties are used in the production of Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. 

There are four additional varieties authorised in the production of Champagne, yet they are rarely used or only in very small amounts: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier, and Arbane.

As the still wine used to make Champagne is fermented bone dry (with no residual sugar), the intrinsic qualities and respective components of these 3 main grape varieties provide the most ideal balance of freshness (acidity) and tension to complement the effervescence and the rich, subtle taste of Champagne.


Chardonnay is a white grape bringing freshness, elegance and finesse. It is mainly grown in the Côte des Blancs region and is a key component in most champagne blends. It is also used to produce Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a black grape contributing to Champagne's body, structure, complexity and flavours. It is the region's most commonly used grape variety and is especially prevalent in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Bar. It is also used to produce Blanc de Noirs Champagne.

Pinot Meunier

Pinot Meunier is a black grape with a distinct fruity and floral aroma. It is a popular choice in the Marne Valley.

Apart from the unique flavours and tastes contributed by the three main grapes, the remaining flavours and taste of Champagne are a consequence of...
  • The liqueur de tirage (the addition of sugar and yeast to obtain the 2nd fermentation in the bottle)
  • The ageing with the dying yeasts (giving the distinctive toasty, yeasty character to champagne)
  • The "Dosage" (or "liqueur d'expedition", which is a mixture of white wine, brandy and sugar, added after disgorgement before final corking)

Now let's talk about the making of Champagne.

Champagne Making Process - Traditional Method by @ledomduvin 2023

Champagne's making 

First and foremost, "Champagne" can only be elaborated in the Champagne region, in the designated areas comprised within the AOC Champagne, located in France, and made only with the "traditional method" or "Méthode Chamapenoise". If not, then it is not "Champagne", just sparkling wine.   

The complex process of making Champagne takes about 12 steps: 

1. Hand-picking the grapes

The Champagne grapes are carefully picked at their ideal ripeness level, ensuring that only the finest grapes are selected. The harvesting process is done by hand to preserve the skin of the berries, which is crucial before crushing.

2. Crushing the grapes

The hand-picked grapes are collected and gently pressed in traditional, hydraulic, or pneumatic presses to keep the juice as clear as possible. The initial juice extracted from the press is distinguished and kept apart from the darker (supposedly less pure) juice extracted later. This clear juice is to be used for what is known as “the cuvée”. The extracted “Cuvée” juice flows into an opened vat or tank (called "belon") to be fermented. At this point, a small amount of sulphur dioxide (SO2) is added, known as sulphuring. Any remaining impurities are removed by “debourbage”, which encourages solid particles to sink to the bottom of the vat while clear juice is siphoned off the top.

This clarification stage is called "débourbage" and corresponds to "settling" the freshly pressed grape juice, during which skin fragments, pips, and other sediment settle at the bottom of the vat. The purpose is to send only clear juice to the fermentation stage to obtain wines with the purest fruit expression.

After 12 to 24 hours, the clear juice is drawn off and transferred to the "cuverie" (the room containing the fermenting vats) to commence the first fermentation.

3. First fermentation

After the débourbage filtration process, the grape juice undergoes the first fermentation. Typically, the juice is stored in a stainless-steel tank, although some Champagne makers choose to ferment the wine entirely or partially in oak casks. While using a wooden cask is a more intricate and costly process, it can result in a richer flavour profile. During fermentation, all the natural sugars in the grape juice are converted into alcohol until the wine is entirely dry.

4. Assemblage (or blending)

After the first fermentation, approximately five months after the harvest, the process of blending, or “assemblage”, begins. This is crucial in maintaining Champagne's consistent style and flavour from year to year.

The percentage of grape varieties varies depending on the “type” (White, Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, etc.) and the “style” (Brut Nature, Brut, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, etc..) the champagne house wants to achieve.

Wines from different grape varieties, vintages and vineyards are combined to obtain different “types” and “styles” of Champagne.

  • Regular Champagne (white or rosé, Brut, and non-vintage, Cru or not) is usually a blend of the three main grape varieties, for example, 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier.
  • Special or Prestige Cuvée (white or rosé, Brut, or other, vintage or non-vintage, Cru or not) is usually richer and more complex than a regular Champagne and thus might have a higher percentage of one dominant grape. Pinot Noir-based Champagnes are usually more opulent and substantial, while Chardonnay-based is lighter, brighter, refined, and chiselled. 
  • Vintage Champagne (white or rosé, Brut, or other, cru or not) made uniquely with the wine of a particular vintage might tend to have a relatively balanced blend of the two main grape varieties, for example, 50% pinot noir and 50% Chardonnay (60/40).
  • Blanc de Blancs Champagne (Brut or other, vintage or not, cru or not) is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and are usually lighter and more refined.
  • Blanc de Noirs Champagne (Brut or other, vintage or not, cru or not) is made with 100% black grapes, usually Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier grapes.
  • Rosé Champagne (brut or other, vintage or non-vintage, cru or not) usually tends to be blended with a higher percentage of pinot noir and less of the other two grape varieties.  When producing rosé champagne, there are two methods commonly used: blending red and white wines together in a process called 'rosé d'assemblage' or macerating the grapes in a process called 'rosé de saignée.' The pinkish hue comes from the crushed grape skins in the latter method.

5. Second fermentation (Liqueur de Tirage et Prise de Mousse)

Once blended, the wines are bottled to undergo the second fermentation, a stage called "la prise de mousse" in French. This critical step involves adding a mixture of still wine, yeast, and sugar (known as the "liqueur de tirage") to the base still wine and sealing the bottle with a sturdy crown cap to obtain a second fermentation in the bottle. 

Once sealed, the bottles are stacked and/or laid down on racks or cages in cellars at cool temperatures (chalk underground cellars, also known as "crayères", have a constant temperature of about 12-15°C). Over 1-3 weeks, yeasts gradually convert the sugar into alcohol, which produces carbon dioxide inside the bottle. Unable to escape, the carbon dioxide dissolves in the wine, creating the classic Champagne effervescence.

6. Ageing (or maturation)

During fermentation, yeast cells die and split open, forming "lees" (dead yeast particles). These particles are responsible for Champagne's distinct toasty, yeasty flavour. After the second fermentation, the wine is left to age in cool cellars on its lees for a certain period, which varies depending on the type of Champagne. Non-vintage Champagne is aged for at least 15 months, while vintage Champagne is aged for at least 3 years. Premium Champagne, on the other hand, can be aged 5-8 years. It is a common belief that the longer wine ages on its lees, the better it becomes in terms of texture, flavour, richness, and complexity.

7. Riddling (or remuage)

Following the “ageing” process, "riddling" (or remuage) consists of loosening the sediments and lees (dead yeast cells) remaining in the bottle from the second fermentation by moving them towards the neck of the bottle. This makes it easier to remove them afterwards through the disgorgement process.

There are two ways to do it:  

  • The traditional method, also known as "Manual Riddling”, involves transferring the ageing bottles onto wooden racks with angled holes called "Pupitres." The bottles are loaded horizontally with sediment resting on the side. To riddle the bottles, they are given a sharp quarter-turn daily by a "bottle turner" who rotates the bottles 1/8 or 1/4 turn at a time, with a chalk mark on the bottom for reference. The bottles are gradually tilted “neck-down” (“sur pointe”) so that the sediment moves down to the bottleneck. Manual remuage takes about 4-6 weeks and involves an average of 25 turns per bottle. A professional "remueur" can handle up to 40,000 bottles daily.

  • The modern method, “Mechanical riddling” (or “automated remuage”), consists of putting the ageing bottles into racks or cages that can hold up to 500 bottles, depending on their size and brand. The bottles are then riddled using a machine called a “Gyropalette which means "turning palette" in Greek (from the Greek word "Gyros" meaning "turn").  This machine operates 24/7 and takes only one week instead of the 4-6 weeks it normally takes for the manual method, without compromising the quality of the product.

At the end of this process (either manual or mechanical), all the sediments will have moved to the bottleneck, and the bottles are now “neck-down” (“sur pointe”), ready for the next stage: disgorgement.

8. Disgorging (Disgorgement)

Disgorgement is the process of removing the sediments (accumulated in the bottleneck) from the Champagne. It is done in 2 steps:

1. Plunging the bottleneck in a cold solution at approximately -27°C, causing all the sediments gathered there to form a frozen plug.

2. Put the bottle back in an up position and swiftly remove the crown cap, which expels the frozen plug thanks to the pressure built up inside the bottle.

This is a crucial stage for the wine since it is also the first time in months (even years) that it will again be in contact with the outside air. The oxygen penetrating the bottle at this stage will help to enhance the wine’s aromatic personality further.

Although disgorgement is done mostly mechanically nowadays, for most regular bottles, especially in the most renowned Champagne Houses producing large volumes, large format bottles and some premium cuvées are still disgorged by hand ("à la volée"), especially for the small, independent producers.

A small amount of wine is forced out when the frozen sediment plug is expelled. And this is where the next stage begins when the “liqueur of dosage” is used to top up the bottle before corking it.

9. Dosage (Liqueur d'Expedition / Liqueur de Dosage)

"Dosage" is the final step before the “corking”. The “liqueur de dosage” (also known as "liqueur d'expedition") is a mixture of cane sugar dissolved in wine, added to top up the bottle and thus replace the small amount of Champagne expelled during disgorgement. It corresponds to approximately 1cl for a regular 75cl bottle of Champagne Brut.

The choice of liqueur (and the amount of sugar contained) plays a vital role as it directly impacts the style of the final product. If the goal is to maintain the unique character and purity of the wine, a neutral liqueur will be selected. However, if the aim is to enhance the wine with additional aromas, a liqueur-containing “reserve wine” - a high-quality Champagne wine that has been aged for a long time - may be used.

The amount of sugar contained in the “liqueur de dosage” will depend on the “style” of Champagne to be achieved.

The "styles" are classified and named as follows:

  • Brut Nature contains <3 g/l of residual sugar
  • Extra Brut < 6 g/l
  • Brut <12 g/l
  • Extra-Dry 12-17 g/l
  • Dry (Sec) 17-32 g/l
  • Demi-Sec 32-50 g/l
  • Doux 50 g/l

NB: refer to the paragraph on Champagne’s “types” and “styles” below for more details.

10. Corking and Inspection

Once the liqueur de dosage is added, the wine is sealed with a cork topped with a capsule and secured with a wire cage called a "muselet" (refer to the paragraph above). Despite being tightly sealed, the cork allows air exchange, explaining that the champagne continues to age in the bottle. Hence, the importance of the cork's quality plays a crucial role in this process. When applicable, the cork should also bear the name "Champagne" and the vintage.

Once corked, the bottle is vigorously shaken to ensure proper mixing of the liqueur in the champagne, a process called "poignettage".

The final step involves thoroughly inspecting each bottle to ensure clarity before storing them in a cellar for several more months until release, a period referred to as "mirage".

11. Labelling (or Habillage)

Lastly, the bottles are packaged and labelled as the last step before leaving the Champagne cellars. A foil cap is put over the cork, and a label is affixed on the bottle's front (and back usually).

They must state the compulsory information, like Brand, company and/or producer name, Champagne designation and type (Grand Cru, 1er Cru, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, etc..), “style” (or sugar content level: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, etc.), percentage of alcohol by volume (e.g. 13.5%), bottle capacity (750ml, 1.5L, etc.), name of the village where that company or producer is registered and the country of origin (obviously "France"). Optional information may also feature on the back label: description, tasting notes, etc…

Once fully dressed, the bottles are usually stacked for a short while, waiting to be boxed or immediately boxed to fulfil preorders and orders worldwide. 


Now that you have a clearer idea about the various grape varieties and how Champagne is made, let's talk about Champagne's Types and Styles,

Champagne(s) by @ledomduvin 2023 (v2)

Champagne's Types and Styles

I differentiate Champagnes by “Types” and “Styles”. We can separate them by their literal definition to quickly understand their differences. 

Champagne's Types 

A "type" is a particular group of people or things that share similar characteristics and form a minor division of a more extensive set. Meaning that "Champagne" comprises different types of Champagnes (also see table below), which can broadly be classified based on 3 different main factors: Vintage or Non-vintage
      • Brut NV (Non-Vintage)
      • Brut Vintage
      • Multi-Vintage (Special or Prestige Cuvée, etc..) 
    • Colour
      • White (made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier)
      • Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay)
      • Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir)
      • Rosé (made from Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier, may include Chardonnay too)
    •  Vineyard Classification/Location
      • Grand Cru
      • Premier Cru
      • Autre Cru
      • Village
      • Lieux-Dits 
      • Parcel

Elaborated with three main grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Champagne comes in many types, including (but not limited to) the following.

A small amount of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (also called "Fromenteau" in Champagne), Arbane, and Petit Meslier is also vinified and permitted in the blend of champagne, yet rarely used.

Champagne Types by @ledomduvin 2023

Champagne's Styles (or Sweetness Level)

Understanding Champagne's various "types" can be pretty challenging, yet it gets even more complicated when you consider the 7 different "styles" in which each type can be crafted.

Champagne "Styles" are classified based on their sweetness level, meaning the amount of residual sugar in grams per litre (or “dosage”) upon bottling. As mentioned in "Champagne's making" above, “Dosage” consists of a “Liqueur d’Expedition" (a mix of sugar and wine) added to top up the Champagne after disgorgement and before the final closing of the bottle with the cork and muselet.   

Some people prefer a visual as it might be easier to understand, and, as you know, I love making visuals/drawings/illustrations to add more appeal to my posts.  So, here is one.  

CHAMPAGNE STYLES by @ledomduvin 2023

As you can see on this "Champagne Styles" scale (based on their sweetness level) in the illustration above, it is a real conundrum and cannot get more confusing than that! Thanks to the British for it, as "Brut" means "Dry" (or "Sec" in French) and, yet, "Dry" means "Sweet" (for the British)... Well, what??? I'm confused!

“Brut”, which is the most well-known and popular style of Champagne, is, therefore, "dry" in "taste" but not in "style". Get it? 😁👍

Once again, the term "Brut," which means "raw" or "unrefined" in French, is used to denote "Dry” (or “Sec” in French). This means that "Brut" is a "Dry" style of Champagne (or sparkling wine in general). And, yet, when a Champagne label says "Dry," the Champagne is actually "Sweet." Quite confusing, isn't it?

And it gets even worst when the word “Extra” (meaning “more”) is added, which means that “Extra Brut” is dryer than “Brut” and thus much dryer than “Dry”. While “Extra Dry” is “Sweeter” than “Brut” but not as “Sweet” as “Dry”. Now I’m definitely confused…😉

But that’s not all. As there are a few more “Styles”. For instance, “Brut Nature” is the driest of them all, as it has “Zero dosage” and therefore is drier than “Extra Brut” and “Brut.”

In any case, I hope this illustration will help you better understand Champagne's different "styles". Yet, if you have difficulty reading it, here it is again as a table, which might be easier.

CHAMPAGNE STYLES by @ledomduvin 2023 (v2)

Reading the label

Champagne is a combination of several "Types" (i.e. Vintage or NV, Colour, Classification, Cuvée, Location, etc...) made in one particular "Style" (Brut, Extra Brut, Extra Dry, etc...), which could be decomposed and written as follows.

NB: There is no right or wrong nor a specific order on how to write the full name of a Champagne. The best way remains to write it in the same order as you read the indications on the label from top to bottom and left to right, as in the example below.

Let's take some examples of Champagne labels which are slightly difficult to read.

Jacques Selosse Lieux-dits 'Sous le Mont' Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ Grand Cru Champagne Extra Brut - NV

Champagne Reading the label by @ledomduvin 2023 (v2)

Another example,  

Pascal Agrapart "Vénus" Fossé aux Pourceaux Blanc de Blancs Avize Grand Cru Champagne Brut-Nature - 2015

Champagne Reading the label by @ledomduvin 2023 (Agrapart)

One last label, and I stop there. 😁👍 

Egly-Ouriet "Les Vignes de Vrigny" Premier Cru Brut, Champagne, France - 2017

Champagne Reading the label by @ledomduvin 2023 (v3) Egly Ouriet

I could speak about Champagnes for hours and write many more paragraphs and pages about it. Yet, maybe in another post, as I will conclude this already lengthy post here.    

In conclusion

Champagne is not just any ordinary sparkling wine. It combined century-old traditions and culture with innovation and techniques. It symbolises the exceptional quality standards and skilled craftsmanship of the Champagne Houses. 

It takes years of patience and meticulous nurturing from the winemaker and team to achieve perfection. It slowly built its richness and complexity in the silence of the "Crayères", kilometres of galleries carved underground into the renowned Champagne region's chalky limestone bedrock. And it is only released at the most ideal time when it is ready to fully express its flavours, rewarding the most patient of us with its elegant, sophisticated and unique taste. 

Besides the intrinsic qualities of the chalky soil enabling the production of the king of sparkling wines, the essential components of Champagne are the blend of the grapes used (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), the quality of the vineyard (Grand Cru, Premier Cru, autre Cru or other designations), the amount of sugar in the dosage defining the "style" (based of the sweetness level) and the "type" to be achieved (non-vintage, vintage, white, rosé, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, etc..). 

All these crucial factors combined shape Champagne's unique personality, character, and taste.

That's All, Folks! 

Thank you for reading my post. Hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hope you've learned something from it. And if not, hope, at least, it refreshed your memory about things you knew already.   

Cheers! Santé! 

Stay tuned for more educational and enjoyable posts and shared wine passion and knowledge coming soon. 


@ledomduvin #ledomduvin #lesdessinsadom #lesillustrationsadom #lescartoonsadom #wine #vin #vino #wein #champagne #champagnes #brut #dry #sommelier #wineknowledge #wineeducation

(*) Infos for "Champagne's Origins", "The Muselet", "The Becoming of Champagne", and "Champagne's Making" sourced and/or entirely or partially taken and/or edited for this post, courtesy of 

You can also read more interesting details about the history of the Muselet at 

Unless stated otherwise, all right reserved ©LeDomduVin 2023, on all the contents above including, but not limited to, photos, pictures, drawings, illustrations, collages, visuals, maps, memes, posts, texts, writings, quotes, notes, tasting notes, descriptions, wine descriptions, definitions, recipes, graphs, tables, and even music and video (when and where applicable).