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Understanding champagne labels

Non-Vintage the champagne is non vintage (NV) and usually a blend of two or more vintages.

Vintage At least 85% of the grapes from the stated vintage.

Blanc de Blanc is on the label indicates that only Chardonnay and no black grapes have been used and the wine may be slightly austere.In very rare occacions Pinot Blanc, Arbane, Pinot Gris, and Petit Meslier are authorized for Champagne AOP production.

Blanc de Noirs means that only black grapes have been used and the wine may be quite full-bodied.

Prestige Cuvée/Tête de Cuvée  Highest quality bottling of the house.   Two-letter code which accompanies the code number of the producer. These codes are;

  • NM négociant-manipulant, one of the big houses/maisons/négociants
  • RM récoltant-manipulant, a grower who makes his or her own wine
  • CM coopérative de manipulation, one of the co-operatives
  • RC récoltant-coopérateur, grower selling wine made by a co-op
  • MA marque d’acheteur, buyer’s own brand, usually a made-up label

 

Sweetness levels

extra brut or brut nature or non dosé, bone dry (less than 6 grams of residual sugar per liter)

brut, dry (less than 12 grams of residual sugar per liter) extra dry (between 12 and 17 grams of residual sugar per liter)

sec, dryish (between 17 and 32 grams of residual sugar per liter)

demi-sec, medium sweet (between 32 and 50 grams of residual sugar per liter)

doux, relatively sweet

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