HOW TO READ A CHAMPAGNE LABEL

Champagne labeling laws differ from other parts of France because the entire region falls under a single AOP, the protected term ‘Champagne’ and the wines are categorized according to styles rather than designations. Here the status of the producer is more important than the vineyard sites.

To distinguish between the numerous different styles, Champagne labels use a range of terms as described below.

* Level of sweetness:
o Ultra Brut – Bone dry or very dry
o Brut – Dry
o Sec – Literally dry but has higher sugar level than Brut
o Demi-sec – Medium dry
o Doux – Sweet

* Non-vintage: A Champagne made from a blend of wines from different years.

Some Champagne houses may use up to hundred reserve wines from previous years to produce a consistent house style.

* Vintage: A champagne made from a single year’s harvest. The label must show the year of the harvest.

* Blanc de Blancs: This term on the label means that the Champagne has been produced entirely from white grapes, in other words, Chardonnay.

* Blanc de Noirs: Refers to Champagne made from black grape varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

* Rosé: This is often made by blending a little red wine with whites.

* Grande Marque: Means ‘Great Brand’. A producer may use this term but according to AOP rules does not guarantee quality or any style.

* Cuvée de Prestige: These are the top-of-the-range releases from the Champagne houses and may come with a vintage on the label. Some examples include ‘Dom Pérignon’ from Moët et Chandon, ‘Cristal’ from Louis Roederer and ‘La Grande Dame’ from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

* Marque d’Acheteur: Means ‘Buyer’s Own Brand’. These are often seen on Champagnes sold within a retail or supermarket chain that sells them using their own brand name.

Apart from these there are other non-mandatory terms that may appear on the label that specify type of Champagne producers, maturation time etc.

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Louis Roederer creates Foundation for Contemporary Art

Champagne Louis Roederer, a prestigious, family-owned house has announced the creation of the Louise Roederer Foundation for Contemporary Art. The aim of the Foundation is to promote and develop new contemporary art projects.

Founded in Reims in 1776, Louis Roederer owns several wine portfolios including Champagne. Through the creation of the Louis Roederer Foundation for Contemporary Art, the company aims to draw attention to its patronage of the arts, a company policy since 2003, through supporting new projects. To this end, the Foundation has entered into a partnership with the Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Art Gallery in Paris.

The Louis Roederer Foundation will support artistic innovation and allow art to become more accessible to the public. In order to achieve this, the Foundation is developing partnerships with various artistic institutions, the commissioning and purchase of works by artists with whom the house has created links over the past ten years, through supporting artists at exhibitions, previews and festivals all over the world.

 

Liz Palmer
@Champagnehouses