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WSET Level 3 > Champagne / Sparkling > Flashcards

Flashcards in Champagne / Sparkling Deck (94):

This monk, who was the cellar master at Hautvillers in 1668, is widely (but falsely) credited with inventing sparkling Champagne.

Dom Pérignon


What is the alternate French term to méthode champenoise that indicates a wine has undergone secondary fermentation in the bottle?

Méthode traditionelle


Besides true Champagne, name at least 2 other sparkling wines that are bottle fermented.

  • Franciacorta (Italy)
  • Cava (Spain)
  • Cap Classique (South Africa)
  • Crémant d'Alsace (France)
  • Crémant de Bourgogne (France)
  • Crémant de Bordeaux (France)
  • Crémant de Jura (France)
  • Crémant de Savoie (France)
  • Crémant de Loire (France)
  • Crémant de Limoux (France)
  • Vouvray Mousseux (France)


For any sparkling French wine labeled 'Crémant', how many months does it have to spend sur lie?

9 months


Sparkling wine can be produced under what generic AOP in the Loire Valley?

Crémant de la Loire

  • can be either white or rosé, and the majority of production takes place in Saumur;
  • méthode traditionelle;
  • grapes include Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a few others.


Besides Crémant de Loire, name 2 other sparkling wine appellations in the Loire Valley and their permissible varietals.

1. Vouvray

  • Chenin Blanc

2. Saumur

  • Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc

Both are made using méthode traditionelle and must spend a minimum of 9 months sur lie.


List the overarching steps to making méthode traditionelle wines.

  1. Primary Fermentation
  2. Blending
  3. Bottling
  4. Liqueur de Tirage
  5. Secondary Fermentation
  6. Aging
  7. Riddling
  8. Disgorgement
  9. Dosage/Liqueur d'Expédition
  10. Packaging


What are the first steps of making Champagne up through Primary Fermentation?

Grapes are picked and pressed, and the resulting wine after the first fermentation is a still, low alcohol (~11% abv), high acid, base wine called vin clair.


What is the French term for blending?



Are Champagne houses allowed to reserve a portion of their annual production in bulk to use for future blending?


Using reserve bulk wine helps the house achieve a consistent style for their non-vintage wines.  Reserve wines also help add flavor and depth to non-vintage wines.


If a bottle of Champagne is vintage dated, how much of the wine has to come from that vintage?

100% of the wine must be from that vintage.


How is rosé Champagne made?

Rosé Champagne is made in one of two ways:

  1. Blending still red wine (Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier) with the base white wine (vin clair);
  2. Saignée method where the wine gains color from skin contact.

Blending is allowed at any stage of the méthode traditionelle process up to and including the addition of liqueur de tirage.


Describe the Blending process when making Champagne.

Blending is when the base wines are blended together to make the cuvée. In Champagne, different grape varieties are usually blended together, as well villages, terroir, and vintages.

The finished dry wine is bottled, and liqueur de tirage is added. The wine will then go through secondary fermentation in the bottle.


What is the liqueur de tirage?

The liqueur de tirage is a combination of yeast and sugar that is added to bottles after the wine is blended.

The liquer de tirage ignites the secondary fermentation.



Secondary fermentation:
Describe what it is and what happens because of it.

Secondary fermentation is a fermentation that occurs inside the bottle after the liqueur de tirage is added and the bottle is corked. 

Yeasts consume the sugar to create CO2, which dissolves in the wine, and the alcohol is raised approximately 1%. 

Once the yeasts consume all the sugar, they die and fall to the bottom of the bottle. They stay trapped inside the bottle, allowing the wine to rest sur lie, until disgorgement. 


Discuss the Aging step in the process of méthode traditionelle.

After secondary fermentation has completed in the bottle, the dead yeast cells (lees) break down and help with flavor development and texture in a process known as autolysis.   

A méthode traditionelle wine can age for as few as 9 months and up to/more than 30 months.


What is riddling?

Riddling is the process of giving a swift turn to bottles by hand during the Aging process to manipulate and encourage dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle. The bottles are turned from their sides until they are fully upside down on their crown cap (known as sur pointe).  

Today many sparkling wine houses use gyropalettes, which hold 504 bottles, to riddle their wines instead of hand ridddling.


Describe disgorgement.

Disgorgement happens after the riddling process.

Disgorgement is the removal of the yeast "plug" that collected in the neck of the bottle from the riddling process.  

The necks of the bottles are placed upside down into a freezing liquid which causes the yeast "plug" to freeze.  The crown cap is quickly removed and the CO2 pressure from inside the bottle forces out the "plug" leaving a clear wine inside the bottle.


What is dosage or liqueur d'expédition?

Dosage/liqueur d'expédition is a liquid composed of wine and sugar syrup that is added after disgorgement.  

The dosage determines the final dryness or sweetness level of wine made by méthode traditionelle.


What is the French term for riddling?



How many grams of residual sugar in Brut Nature/Brut Zero?

0-3 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Extra Brut?

0-6 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Brut?

0-12 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Extra Dry?

12-17 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Sec?

17-32 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Demi-Sec?

32-50 grams per liter


How many grams of residual sugar in Doux?

50+ grams per liter


What is the name of the wire muzzle, or wire cage, on a bottle of Champagne?



What is the name of the plastic insert in the neck of a sparkling wine bottle to catch the sediment during riddling?



What are the three main grape varieites used in making Champagne?

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir
  • Pinot Meunier


Is Champagne or Alsace the northernmost winemaking region in France?

Champagne is the most northern winemaking region in France.


There are 5 regions of Champagne.  Which are the three most important?

The three most important regions in Champagne are:

  • Montagne de Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne
  • Côte des Blancs

The other two regions are the Aube and Côte de Sézanne.


In which Champagne region is Chardonnay the dominant grape?

Côte des Blancs


What is the main type of sub-soil in Champagne?  Where does it differ?

The main sub-soil in Champagne is chalk, which retains water well.

In the Aube the sub-soil is Kimmeridgean marl, which has a higher clay content.


What is the echelle des crus?

The echelle des crus (literally, 'ladder of growths') is a system that ranks the villages of Champagne on a percentage scale.

There are 17 Grand Cru villages each with a score of 100%.

There are 44 Premier Cru villages with scores between 90-99%.


What is the climate of Champagne?



Of the three main grape varieties used in Champagne, which one buds late and ripens early?

Pinot Noir

This makes it better suited to avoid spring frosts.


Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne are planted mostly to which grape varietal?

Pinot Noir


The training methods most often used in Champagne are ___ and ___.

The training methods most often used in Champagne are Taille Chablis (Chardonnay) and Cordon de Royat (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier).


In both vine training methods used in Champagne, vines are always ___-pruned.



Must all vineyards in Champagne be hand harvested?

Yes, Champagne vineyards must be hand harvested.

Mechanical harvesting is prohibitted.


Right after grapes are harvested in Champagne, are they left to concentrate their sugars or are the pressed immediately?

Grapes are pressed immediately after they are harvested in Champagne.

This lowers the possiblity for oxidation.


The first press limit of 2,050 liters is called ___.

Vin de cuvée

The very best Champagnes will use only the juice from this pressing.


The second press limit of 500 liters in Champagne is called ___.

Vin de taille

Usually higher in pigment and tannin, some winemakers will use vin de taille in small amounts as a structural component.


The third press in Champagne, which is required by law, is called ___.


The rebêche has to amount to 1-10% of the total liters pressed. It is used for distillate.


What are the 6 key styles of Champagne?

  • Non-vintage (NV, MV)
  • Vintage
  • Prestige Cuvée
  • Rosé
  • Blanc de Noirs
  • Blanc de Blancs


What is the meaning of Blanc de Blancs on a bottle of Champagne?

Blanc de Blancs ('white from white') means the wine was made using only white grapes.  

In the case of Champagne, that grape is almost always Chardonnay.


What is the meaning of Blanc de Noirs on a bottle of Champagne?

Blanc de Noirs ('white from black') on a bottle of sparkling wine means the wine was made using only black-skinned grapes.

In Champange, Blanc de Noirs means that the wine was made using only Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier.


What is the other name used for Prestige Cuvée?

Tête de Cuvée

Most Prestige or Tête de Cuvées are vintage dated.


Describe some of the differences between non-vintage (NV) and vintage Champagne.

Vintage Champagnes must come from one single vintage; NV Champagnes are a blend of several vintages.

Vintage Champagnes are fuller and richer than NV Champagnes thanks to extended autolysis and bottle aging.

Vintage Champagnes also express more precision and intensity than NV Champagnes, reflecting the singularity of the vintage.


There are over 3,500 grape growers in Champagne, but not as many labels.  

Where do all these grapes go?

Most grape growers will sell their grapes to a co-operative cellar or to a Champagne-producing house.

If the grapes to go a co-op, the co-op will process the grapes and then the co-op will sell the juice to négociants or BOBs ("Buyers' Own Brands") for supermarkets or other large outlets.


List the most commonly seen types of Champagne producers.

RM (Récoltant Manipulant) - a grower producer; someone who makes wine from their estate fruit;

CM (Coopérative Manipulant)- co-operative cellar;

NM (Négociant Manipulant) - a house that buys grapes or juice and blends it with their own, if they own any land, and makes the Champagne, e.g. Moët et Chandon;

MA (Marque d’Acheteur) - Buyers' Own Brand; they purchase Champagne that's been made and sell it under their own name, e.g. a supermarket brand.


What is the CIVC and what do they do?

The CIVC, whose full name is Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne, is the government organization responsible for overseeing the Champagne industry.

The CIVC does the following:

  • mediates discussions between big Champagne houses and smaller growers;
  • sets grape prices;
  • regulates production methods;
  • manages the marketing and promotion of Champagne.


Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG must be made from what percentage of Pinot Noir?

Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG must be made from at least 70% Pinot Noir.


For all styles of Franciacorta, the required time spent aging on the lees may not begin until what date?

February 1st of the year following harvest.


How long must non-vintage Franciacorta spend aging on its lees?

18 months

Franciacorta has the longest minimum aging requirement of any non-vintage sparkling wine. Keep in mind that many producers of all styles of sparkling wines greatly exceed the legal minimum aging requirements.


What style of wine is Satèn Franciacorta DOCG?

Satèn is a Brut Blanc de Blancs with only 5 atmospheres of pressure.

This is significant as most traditional method sparkling wines are closer to 6 atmospheres of pressure.


Excluding non-vintage Franciacorta, how long must all other styles of Franciacorta be aged on their lees?

Satèn: 24 months

Rosé: 24 months

Vintage: 30 months

Riserva: 60 months


What is the Transfer method?


Transfer method, aka transversage, is just like méthode traditionelle up to a point: riddling.  Transfer method is for bottles smaller than 375mL and larger than 1.5L.

After the wine has gone through secondary fermentation and has aged sur lie for a bit, instead of being riddled and disgorged bottle by bottle all the bottles are emptied out, all at once, into a large, pressurized tank.  The lees are removed, the entire vat is filtered, and then the wine is put back into its original bottles under pressure so as not to lose any of its fizz.


What is Tank method?  Give an example of a tank method wine.

Tank method is when the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in a pressurized tank.

After the wine completes secondary fermentation it is filtered, a dosage is added (liqueur d'éxpedition), and the wine is bottled without aging.  Tank method wines are fresh and delicately fruity.

Tank method tends to produce larger bubbles that fizz at the surface when poured and then dissipate quickly.

Prosecco is an example of a Tank method wine.


What are some other names for Tank Method?

  • Charmat
  • Cuvée Close
  • autoclave


What are 2 advantages Tank Method have over méthode traditionelle?

Tank Method is a lot cheaper than traditional method in that there is no riddling individual bottles and it is produced in bulk, ensuring consistent quality.

Tank Method also preserves fresh fruit aromas, making it better suited for aromatic grape varieties.


Most German sparkling wine is made using which method?

Charmat, or Tank, method.


German Sekt is made mostly from which grapes?

  • Riesling
  • Müller-Thurgau


What is the difference between Sekt, Deutcher Sekt, and Deutcher Sekt bA?

Sekt is made of base wines blended from France and Italy with some German grapes using the Charmat, or Tank, method.

Deutcher Sekt is sparkling wine made in Germany from 100% German grapes.  Most are produced using Charmat method but there are a few producers who use traditional method.

Deutcher Sekt bA is sparkling wine that's made in Germany with grapes from a specific anbaugebiete (region), e.g. Mosel.


How is Asti made?

What grape is used?

Asti is made with Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (Moscato).

Asti is made by fermenting pressed juice to about 6% abv and then chilling and filtering the half-fermented juice to stop fermentation.

To create the carbonation, a liqueur de tirage is added to the wine in a sealed tank to re-ignite fermentation.  When the desired abv is achieved (roughly 7%), the wine is chilled again, filtered through a fine membrane to remove the yeast, and then bottled under pressure.


When is Asti bottled?

Asti is bottled when an importer places an order for it; all the juice collected at harvest isn't made into the delicately sparkling wine as the characteristics that made it so delightful - bright fruit and fresh floral characteristics - would develop vegetal and secondary flavors if it hangs out too long in bottle.

The unfermented must is stored in a chilled tank and is made in batches, only when required.


What is the cheapest way to make sparkling wine?

Force carbonation (like Soda Stream)

Disadvantages of force carbonation include big, aggressive bubbles that dissipate quickly.


How is sparkling Shiraz made?

The base red wine is fermented dry and bottled.  Made using méthode traditionelle, a small liqueur de tirage (sugar and yeast) is added to ignite the secondary fermentation.  It's bottled under crown cap and left to ferment and mature, anywhere from a few months up to 3 years.

Bottles are riddled and disgorged, then sweetened with either a mixture of wine and syrup or with an Australian Tawny.  It is closed with a Champagne-style cork and wire cage.




How is Cava made?

Cava is made using méthode traditionelle, just like Champagne.


What are the grapes that can go into Cava?  What about rosé Cava?

The grapes allowed into Cava include:

  • Xarel-lo
  • Parellada
  • Macabeu
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir

Rosé Cava is made with Trépat, Garnacha and Monastrell.


What is the birthplace of Cava?

Cava originated in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia in Alt-Penedès, Catalunya.


What is the minimum number of months Cava must spend sur lie before it is disgorged?

9 months


What identifier do all Cava corks have?

A 4-pointed star on the base of the cork.


Name some well known Cava producers.

  • Juve y Camps
  • Freixenet
  • Cordoníu
  • Segura Viudas


What are the 2 DOCGs for Prosecco?

Which one is more commonly seen?

  1. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
  2. Asolo Prosecco DOCG


Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG and Asolo Prosecco DOCG must be a minimum ___% of this grape.

Minimum 85% Prosecco grape, which is referred to as Glera since 2009.


Prosecco can be made either frizzante or spumante.  What is the difference?

  • Frizzante is gently sparkling with 1.0-2.5 atmospheres of pressure;
  • Spumante is fully sparkling with a minimum of 3.5 atmospheres of pressure.


What is the most noteworthy cru for Prosecco?

Cartizze, a large, amphitheater-shaped vineyard that is 106 hecatres.

Cartizze bottlings are usually Sec in style and have anywhere between 17-35g/L of residual sugar.


What does the term 'Rive' mean on a bottle of Prosecco?

'Rive' means that the grapes came from one of 43 delimited vineyard sites.



Is Prosecco ever vintage dated?

Yes, Prosecco can be vintage dated if the wine is made up of 85% minimum of the stated year’s harvest.


How many DOCs are allowed to produce Lambrusco?

Which 2 are most widely seen?


  • Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
  • Lambrusco di Sorbara
  • Lambrusco Reggiano
  • Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
  • Lambrusco Mantovano


Crémant d'Alsace: which grape(s) are permitted and which are not permitted?

Permitted: Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Chardonnay

NOT permitted: Muscat and Gewurztraminer




In New Zealand, grapes for sparkling wine are grown in every wine region except ___.



In South Africa, if a producer is a member of the Cap Classique Producers Association, how many months must their sparkling wines spend sur lie?

12 months 

Producers not in the CCPA can age their Cap Classique for only 9 months.


Name 2 AVAs in the United States making premium sparkling wines.

  1. Los Carneros AVA
  2. Anderson Valley AVA

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the grapes generally used.


What are the three approved styles for Crémant de Bordeaux?

  1. Blanc de Blancs
  2. Blanc de Noirs
  3. Rosé


How long must Crémant de Bordeaux spend on its lees?

9 months


In which 3 Northern Rhône appellations can sparkling wines be made?

What method(s) are used?

1. Crémant de Die AOP

  • Méthod Traditionelle
    • based on Clairette grape

2. Clairette de Die AOP

  • Méthod Traditionelle
    • based on Clairette grape
  • Méthode Dioise Ancestrale
    • based on Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains

3. Saint-Péray AOP

  • Méthode Traditionnelle
    • based on Marsanne and Roussanne


The wines from Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale AOP are made from what grape variety?


By law this wine can only be made from Mauzac grapes.


What is unique about Blanquette de Limoux in terms of sparkling wines?

Blanquette de Limoux is the oldest sparkling wine in the world. Blanquette de Limoux can trace its history back to 1531.


Name 3 sparkling wines of Savoie.

Crémant de Savoie

  • méthod traditionelle
  • sparkling white only (no rosé)
  • 60% of the blend must be Jacquère and Altesse (min 40% Jacquère must be in the final blend)
  • Remainder can be made up of Chasselas, Aligoté and Chardonnay


  • méthod traditionelle
  • sparkling white only (no rosé)
  • min 10% Altesse
  • other grapes allowed are Molette and Chasselas


  • méthod ancestrale
  • sparkling, off-dry, rosé only (no white)
  • min 70% Gamay and Pinot Noir
  • other grapes allowed are Poulsard, Mondeuse, and Pinot Gris


Which grapes may go into Crémant du Jura AOP?

Permissible grapes:

  • White: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Savagnin
  • Red: Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir



What are the aging requirements of Crémant du Jura AOP?


  • Minimum 9 mos sur lie before disgorgement;
  • Earliest release is 12 mos after tirage.