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History of Brut Champagne
Champagne has been produced in the region of Champagne for over 300 years, and champagne has been around for almost as long. The term brut was first used in the early 19th century to describe Champagne that was drier than the other popular styles of the time, which were known as doux (sweet) and demi-sec (semi-sweet). At the time, the French aristocracy preferred their Champagne to be sweet, so Brut was considered a radical departure from tradition.
How Brut Champagne is Made
After ageing, the bottles are riddled, or turned by hand, to move the lees to the neck of the bottle. The neck of the bottle is then frozen, and the sediment is expelled in a process known as disgorgement. The Champagne is then topped off with a mixture of wine and sugar known as the dosage, and the final cork is inserted.
Why Brut Champagne is So Highly Prized
Brut Champagne is prized for its balance of acidity, sweetness, and flavour. The dryness of Brut Champagne allows the flavours of the grapes to come through, while the bubbles add a refreshing effervescence to the wine. The ageing process gives Brut Champagne a complex and nuanced flavour profile that can include notes of brioche, almond, honey, and citrus.
Brut Champagne is also highly prized because of the labour-intensive and time-consuming process that is used to make it. From hand-harvesting the grapes to riddling the bottles, every step of the process is done by hand. The ageing process, which can take several years, allows the wine to develop its signature flavour and aroma, and the disgorgement process ensures that the wine is clear and free of sediment.
Finally, Champagne is highly prized because of its association with celebration and luxury. Brut Champagne is often served at weddings, New Year’s Eve celebrations, and other special occasions, and its high price tag reflects its status as a luxury item.
Buying and Serving Brut Champagne
When serving Brut Champagne, it is important to chill the bottle before opening it. Ideally, the Champagne should be chilled to around 45–50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cooler than a typical refrigerator temperature. This will help bring out the flavours of the wine and make it more refreshing to drink.
Brut champagne is typically served in tall, thin glasses known as flutes. The shape of the glass helps preserve the bubbles and allows the aromas of the wine to be more easily detected. When pouring the Champagne, it is important to tilt the glass slightly and pour the wine down the side of the glass to prevent excessive foaming.
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