What is Zero Dosage Champagne?

Known by many names, such as Zero Dosage, Brut Nature or Brut Sauvage, this is a category that has become increasingly popular the last couple of years, however zero dosage champagne is not a new thing.

After the juice has been pressed from the grapes it is placed in tanks where the first fermentation takes place. The natural grape sugars will be consumed by the yeast and the outcome is a still wine that has been fermented completely dry. Generally 1st fermentation takes place in steel tanks, although certain producers choose to ferment in barrels, a technique that is more challenging to master.

Once all the natural sugars present in the wine has been consumed, assemblage, or blending, takes place. It is at this stage when the Chef de Cave will decide on the amount of reserve wines to add to create the blend for a specific cuvee and a mixture of yeast, yeast nutrients and sugar is added to the wine for the 2nd fermentation. Bottles are sealed with bottles caps and then cellared to ferment slowly.

As this fermentation continues, the yeast cells will be consumed and after several months the fermentation process is complete, the champagne will then spend a number of years in the cellar to age. During the ageing process, bottles are placed in riddling racks or on gyropalates and riddled each day in order to force the dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle.

Finally disgorgement will take place where the neck is frozen in an ice-salt bath which results in the formation of a frozen plug in the neck of the bottle. The cap is removed and the pressure in the bottle forces the frozen plug out. A little bit of wine is lots in the process.

It is then that the final dosage will be added, a mixture of wine and sugar and the amount of sugar added at this stage will determine the sweetness level of the champagne, creating either a Brut, Extra Brut, Sec, Demi-sec or Doux. With Brut Nature no sugar is added with the top-off wine.

Sweetness levels in champagne vary considerably with set classification parameters:
Brut Nature 0-3gr of sugar p/lt
Extra Brut 0-6gr of sugar p/lt
Brut 6-12gr of sugar p/lt
Sec 17-32gr of sugar p/lt
Demi-sec 32-50gr of sugar p/lt
Doux 50+gr of sugar p/lt

Brut Nature zero dosage champagne accounts for a very small percentage of the champagne market, however, it is gaining in popularity with a number of Houses producing highly regarded Brut Nature champagnes.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon‘s Brut Nature is a blend of 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, aged in cellar for 4 years. Billecart-Salmon CEO, Mathieu Roland-Billecart says there is definitely a trend towards lower dosage and the House has been lowering theirs in many of their cuvees over the years. In 2010 Billecart-Salmon released an Extra Brut and it has evolved over the last 10 years to become the house’s newest expression Brut Nature.

Champagne Pommery‘s Cuvee Louise Brut Nature is a vintage wine composed of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, it is the flagship cuvee of the Maison and is only produced in the best vintage years. It rests on yeast for at least 10 years in the Pommery cellars. The term nature can be found on Pommery’s labels dating back to the 19th century and the house had its first success with a Brut Nature in 1874.

Chamnpagne Besserat de Bellefon‘s Triple B Brut Nature is 100% organic and biodynamic, without malolactic fermentation. Besserat de Belefon’s co-owner Godefroy Baijot states that the House launched Brut Nature to offer the consumer something more natural and authentic. “You cannot hide any faults in a wine that is completely naked” says Baijot. Triple B is composed of 10% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier has been a pioneer of the Brut Nature category since 1981. Laurent-Perrier’s Brut Nature is a Blanc de blancs with Chardonnay sourced from the Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Blancs.

Zero Dosage is a category that is definitely on the rise. It is particularly suitable for champagne lovers who wish to eliminate sugar from their diet because of health or medical conditions. More and more Houses are releasing Zero Dosage champagnes, options are increasing and you are sure to find a cuvee that pleases the palate.

Pop, Fizz, Clink
The Champagne Chick
xo

‘Tis the season to give … and these are a few of my favorite things

We all deserve a little cheer after the year that’s been 2020, and I’ve rounded up some of my favorite champagne-themed gifting ideas for a friend, a lover, a hostess gift, or simply because you feel like spoiling yourself.

DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

If you’re a lover of all things sparkly and champagne, then you are simply going to fall in love with this exquisite diamond ring. It is an incredible 2.73carat GIA certified Round Brilliant Diamond set in 18K White Gold in a champagne coupe setting with smaller diamonds on the outside to represent rising champagne bubbles.

Designed and crafted by Riki of Origin SA, this is a one-of-a-kind beauty and it can be all yours. Riki is able to ship worldwide and if like me you are drooling over this ring, drop Riki a mail on sales@southafricandiamonds.co.za. More exquisite pieces to view on his Instagram.

ART IS FOREVER

By now you guys know I have a love affair with Cape Town artist Kurt Pio’s champagne bottle paintings. His large champagne bottles are complete showstoppers and he is currently running a special on his new champagne bottle paintings and is also including free shipping to Australia, Europe, the UK as well as locally in South Africa.

Kurt’s paintings come in 2 sizes; Medium (1220h x 600w) and XLarge (1800h x 700w), they are acrylic on canvas and will be shipped rolled in a tube. Commission your own favorite champagne or choose one that is already completed.

For a catalogue and availability and pricing, send Kurt a mail to kurt@kurtpio.co.za and also have a look at his Instagram for all his other amazing works.

Not all art has to be original and art prints are an affordable way to change up the look and feel of any room. As far as champagne prints go, you will not find a better selection than from We Love Prints. They have a fabulous range of champagne bottles, champagne glasses and typographic quotes.

There are many more to choose from on their website, have a look here. And also some great framing and placement ideas on their Instagram.

READ A BOOK

I am forever reading champagne books in an effort to learn more and expand my knowledge and if there is one author whose new releases I always look forward to, it’s Tyson Stelzer.

Tyson Stelzer is a multi-award winning wine writer, television host and producer, author of 16 wine books, international keynote speaker and wine show chairman and judge.

He has been publishing his Champagne Guide for a few years now, and the latest one, the 2020/2021 Edition is his biggest project to date. Double the size of the past 5 editions with independent assessments and ratings of more than 800 cuvées.

Tyson ships worldwide and you can order his 2020/2021 Champagne Guide here.

For further tasting notes and some of Tyson’s beautiful photography of the Champagne region, follow him on Instagram.

ADD SOME THEATRICS WITH A SABRE

Sabrage truly adds a fun element to any champagne gathering, it’s easier than it looks and is the ultimate party trick.

Not all sabres are created equal, there are sabres and then there are sabres and then there is a blade from Eagle Blades, and trust me this will be the last sabre you will ever need to buy.

Eagle Blades sabres are completely hand formed and crafted by knife-maker extraordinaire Johan in Cape Town. It is manufactured from knife-grade stainless steel and then undergoes a period of hardening.

All Johan’s blade are individually crafted and they take about 6 weeks to manufacture. He is able to ship worldwide to most countries, except Australia because of Australian border force regulations around ‘weapons’.

The handle of my sabre was made from American Oak from a wine barrel and Johan is able to offer a whole bunch of extras and add-ons to make your commissioned sabre one-of-a-kind. You can choose a specific wood for your handle, you can have your logo or a special message laser engraved onto the blade (and you can even specify if you want it on the presentation side or the reverse, which is a particularly clever option for someone left-handed).

To enquire about a custom sabre, send an email to Johan at maker@eagleblades.co.za. Also have a look at his Instagram for more images.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH CHAMPAGNE SLOGAN CLOTHING

I have a total weak spot for any clothing item with a champagne slogan across it. I have more tees and sweaters than a person needs, and yet that doesn’t stop me from buying more when I find something new and different.

The biggest and best selection I have so far come across is from Bubbles Make Me Happy. When I say they have everything you can possibly think of, I mean it.

Champagne slogans on a variety of items; tees, sweaters, aprons, hats, magnets, tumblers, masks, phone cases, backpacks, tote bags …. you name it, they’ve probably got it. Plus each item comes in a large selection of colours to choose from.

Have a look below, it’s a small sampling of what you will find on their website. Also have a look at their Instagram feed.

A TOTE BAG THAT HOLDS EVERYTHING AND MORE

For me a tote bag needs to be multi-purpose, it needs to double up as a daily bag, a shopping bag, a beach bag and even an overnight bag. And the totes from Totellini do just that … and did I mention they come with a champagne quote? That does it for me.

Totellini totes are simply fabulous, they are big enough as an overnight bag, yet elegant enough to use as a daily bag.

Made from strong quality canvas with genuine Italian leather handles and a removable flat bottom, it’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a tote.

Online website orders are for US shipping only, for international orders, you can email info@totellini.com to enquire. Also check out their Instagram for more totes.

PUZZLED?

Most people love puzzles, right? And what better combination than a puzzle and champagne with a gorgeous 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of a map of the Champagne region.

These great puzzles are available from Bamboozled Games in the UK, and they have two options to choose from; puzzle only for worldwide shipping and puzzle in giftbox with a half bottle of Champagne Delamotte for shipping within the UK only.

To buy the puzzle only, shop here. And for the puzzle with champagne for UK shipping, shop here.

GIFT AN EXPERIENCE

If you’re one for gifting an experience rather than a present, then a voucher for 2 for a Sabering Experience in Champagne with Aÿ Champagne Experience will tick all the boxes.

The voucher for 2 from Aÿ Champagne Experience is for a Private Sabering Experience in the beautiful village of Aÿ. The champagne will be from one of the producers/growers from Aÿ, which you will be able to enjoy in the midst of the vineyards after an informative session and instruction by Isabelle. You will also get to enjoy the famous Rosé de Reims Biscuits with your tasting.

The Champagne Sabering Experience voucher is €95 for 2 people and vouchers are valid for 2 years, so whoever you gift this to will have more than enough time to plan that unforgettable trip to Champagne.
It is the perfect gift for just about any occasion; Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday or simply just because.

As an added extra to my followers, Isabelle will include an additional special tasting of 3 Champenois spirits;  Ratafia, Marc de Champagne and Fine de la Marne.  Make sure to reference The Champagne Chick when purchasing your voucher in order to qualify for this. To purchase a Champagne Sabering Experience voucher, visit www.aychampagneexperience.com or have a look at their Instagram for more info.

So, there you have it. Take the stress out of gift shopping for a champagne friend. Any of my picks will be sure to make a champagne lover very happy.

Pop, Fizz, Clink
The Champagne Chick
xo

Serenity Barge: A Different Way of Exploring the Champagne Region

If like me, you cannot wait to be able to travel again, there is no time like the present to start planning that trip of a lifetime to Champagne;  whether you are a first time visitor or re-planning a trip that had to be cancelled because of the covid travel restrictions this year.

Continue reading “Serenity Barge: A Different Way of Exploring the Champagne Region”

Art for your CLF (Champagne Loving Friend)

I normally post an annual Champagne Lovers Gift Guide for the most fabulous things to gift the Champagne Loving Friend in your life (CLF  for short) and this year is no exception, however, it’s time to think out the box and do something a little different.

Champagne themed art.

It is something that will last a lifetime and nothing beats sitting back and admiring a beautiful piece that brings you joy over a glass of champagne.

Continue reading “Art for your CLF (Champagne Loving Friend)”