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Méthode traditionnelle

The méthode traditionnelle is the process by which Champagne is made. The method is also used outside of Champagne to make sparkling wine that however may not be called ‘Champagne’. To avoid confusion, the earlier name ‘Méthode champenoise’ has been replaced by ‘Méthode traditionnelle’. The process starts with adding the liqueur de tirage to a bottle of still base wine. This starts a second fermentation within the bottle that creates CO2. The bottles are stored lying down (sur lattes) until the fermentation is over and the wine has aged (for multiple months or even years) on the lees – the dead yeast cells – inside the bottle. This process is called the ‘prize de mousse’. Subsequently, the lees are collected in the neck of the bottle during the ‘remuage’ by slowly turning the bottle upside down. During the ‘dégorgement’ the lees are disgorged from the bottle by freezing the neck and ‘shooting’ the ice out of the bottle. The loss of volume is replaced by a mixture of sugar and wine called the ‘liqueur d’expedition’ that determines the sweetness of the wine.

 

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