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Comtes de Champagne
Reims, France, 1995
brut Champagne, NM, 750ml, 12%vol.
Reading the Label
The label on a champagne bottle contains a wealth of information about the quality of the product.
Sweet or Dry
- Extra Brut: driest possible.
- Brut: very dry.
- Extra Dry: fairly dry, but with a touch of sweetness.
- Sec or Dry: medium sweet.
- Demi Sec: quite sweet.
If the vintage is marked on the label the champagne has been made exclusively with wines from that year. Vintage also indicates that the champagne came from a particularly good harvest. It is aged for at least three years.
If wines from several different harvests are used to produce champagne, it's called a non vintage. 95% of all champagnes on the market are non vintage.
Two small letters on the bottom left corner tell you who the producer of the champagne is.
- NM (négociant-manipulant): the champagne house.
- RM (récoltant-manipulant): a wine-grower who makes his own champagne and distributes it under his name.
- SR (societé de récoltants): a community of several wine-makers who produce champagne together.
- RC (récoltant coopérateur): a wine-maker who has the champagne made for him by a wine-maker cooperative.
- CM (coopérative de manipulation): a cooperative producing champagne.
- MA (marque d'acheteurs): restaurants and supermarkets buy champagne and put their own name on the labels.
Grand Cru and Premier Cru
Some provinces in the Champagne region produce extreme precious grapes. Therefore they are awarded with the title Grand Cru or Premier Cru.
God only made water, but man made wine.
Did you ever wonder why champagne bottles have such unusual names? Most champagne bottles' descriptions derive directly from the Bible.
- Piccolo (200ml)
- Half-Bottle (375ml)
- Bottle (750ml)
- Magnum (2 bottles)
- Jeroboam (4 bottles)
According to the Old Testament, the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, reigned 922-901 BC
- Rehoboam (6 bottles)
King of ancient Judah and the son of King Solomon
- Methuselah (8 bottles)
In the Old Testament, the son of the patriarch Enoch and grandfather of the patriarch Noah
- Salmanazar (12 bottles)
King of Assyria: 859-824 BC
- Balthazar (16 bottles)
King of Babylon: 539 BC
- Nebuchadnezzar II (20 bottles)
Reigned ca. 630-562 BC, greatest king of the neo-Babylonian, or Chaldean, dynasty, who conquered much of southwestern Asia; known also for his extensive building in the major cities of Babylonia.
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