Free Flashcards for DipWSET D4: Sparkling Wines   

DECK Number 3

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[h] DipWSET D4 SET 3 Champagne


[i] DipWSET D4 – Sparkling WInes Flashcards

SET 3 Champagne


– Read the Term on the Card and give your answer
– Click on “Check the Answer” button to check your knowledge
– Click on “Got It!” if your answer was correct
– Click on “Need more practice” to review the card at the end of the deck and try answering another time
– Click on “Shuffle” button to change cards order


[q] 2 methods for making Champagne rosé?

[a] Rosé d’Assemblage

Rosé de Saignée

[q] Cite 3 recent Champagne vintages that were almost universally declared?

[a] 1996



[q] When was the Champagne vineyard area defined?

[a] 1927

[q] What is the effect of fermentation on rosé wines?

[a] Yeast absorbs color

Achieving a desired final color requires expertise and experience

[q] Which wine was originally produced in Champagne?

[a] Pink, still wine from Pinot Noir

[q] Describe the most common type of soil in the Champagne region

[a] 1/ Chalk

2/ Chalky with limestone sub-soil


[q] What are the key characterictics of Chalky soils?

[a] 1/ highly porous

2/good water retention
(Planting on slopes to avoid water logging)

3/ White color, reflects sunlights back to the lower part of the canopy

[q] Cite the 9 most common styles of Champagne

[a] Non Vintage – blended from a number of vintages to follow a given house style

Vintage – all fruits must come from a single year.


Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Noirs

Grand Cru – all grapes come from grand cru villages

Premier Cru – all grapes from 1er cru vineyards and/or grand cru vineyards

Prestige Cuvee – Usually the top wine in a producers range
(No legal requirements)

Late Released, Recently Disgorged – Extended lees ageing
(disgorged just before release)

[q] Blanc de Blancs & Blanc de Noirs, what is the difference?

[a] Blanc de Blancs = leaner and more austere in youth, higher acidity and better aging potential

Blanc de Noirs = fuller body, age more rapidly

[q] Veuve Clicquot contribution to Champagne

[a] Remuage using pupitres

[q] Describe the Montagne de Reims

[a] Best known for black grapes (especially Pinot Noir)

Soil = Vary, but grand crus = chalk

Style = High acid, austere in youth

Grand Crus = Mailly, Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay, Bouzy

Other = north facing cool climate for some top sites,
more of a plateau than a mountain 

[q] Describe the Cote des Blancs

[a] Grapes = Chardonnay (95%)
almost exclusively white grapes

Soil = Chalk
(purest form of chalk)

Style = high acidity, great intensity and longevity

Grand Crus = Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Musnil-sur-Oger

[q] Former grapes quality ladder

[a] Echelle des crus

[q] What does “Echelles des crus” define?

[a] Marks that area of premier and Grand Cru vineyard sites

[q] The 2 still wine appellations in Champagne

[a] Rose des Riceys
(rosé from Pinot Noir)

Coteaux Champenois
(white, red, rosé) 

[q] 5 major sub-regions of Champagne

[a] Montagne de Reims

Cotes des Blanc

Cotes des Bar

Vallee de la Marne

Cotes de Sezanne

[q] positive and negatives of Late Disgorged (Recently Disgorged) wines

[a] Positive =
– offer a different flavour profile from the same wines
(than those released earlier)

– initially seem more youthful

Negative =
– Age more rapidly after disgorgement
(disgorgement is more damaging to the stability of older wines)

[q] 2 examples of Late Disgorged Champagnes

[a] Bollinger = “Récemment Dégorgé”

Dom Perignon = P2 

[q] Most common style of Champagne

[a] Non Vintage Brut
white, fully sparkling, made from Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Meunier

[q] Classic Champagne Non Vintage Brut characteristics

[a] Medium intensity of aromas = apple, lemon, biscuit

High acidity

Medium alcohol

Good-outstanding quality 

[q] Main characteristics of Meunier

[a] 1/ Early budding
(but later than PN and Chard)
= less frost prone

2/ Does well on heavier soils

3/ Early ripening – good in cool years

4/ Style – fruity, softer, rounder
Good for NV to add softness to young blends

5/ Negative = prone to botrytis & less age worthy

[q] Advantages and risks of the climate in Champagne

[a] Advantage =
– Perfect for base wine of sparkling (high acid, low alcohol)
– less variability than England

– risk of rain during flowering risk of poor fruit set, frost, fungal disease

– Climate change is arisk
(right now we are in the sweet spot – fewer poor vintages, riper fruit)
(harvest moved forward on average by 18 days over the last 30 years) 


[q] QWhy is Champagne region able to produce wines with more intense toasty/brioche flavours?


[a] Champagne region cool climate limits strong primary fruit flavours

[q] Describe the Cote des Bar

[a] Grapes = Pinot Noir

Soil = Kimmeridgian calcareous marls
(same than Chablis)

Style = Full flavoured, ripe
Pinot Noir mostly for blending

No Grand Crus

Other – Larger area
(represents one quarter of the whole vineyard area)

[q] Sustainable viticulture promoted in Champagne

[a] Reduced pesticides (using sexual confusion for pests)

Soil management = cover crops, water management

Water management and water recycling in winery

Lighter weight bottle with lower carbon output for production (60g lighter)

(Promoted by the Comité Champagne)

[q] The 3 main grape varieties of Champagne?
(cite their respective percentage)

[a] Pinot Noir = 38%

Meunier = 32%

Chardonnay = 30%

[q] The 4 approved systems for training, pruning and trelissing in Champagne

[a] Taille Chablis = best for Chardonnay

Cordon du Royat = Pinot Noir & Meunier. Single cordon, spur pruned

Guyot = all varieties, lesser quality vineyards.
Replacement cane, single or double.

Vallee de la Marne = like Guyot but more buds per cordon

[q] Describe the Vallee de la Marne

[a] Grapes = mostly Meunier

Soil = Clay, marl, sandy

Style = Fruity, early drinking

Grand Crus = Ay

Other = Frost prone valley, well suited for Meunier because it’s late-budding and early-ripening

[q] Location and growing climate of Champagne

[a] Noth East France, east of Paris, just south of the 50th parallel
The Northern vineyard area in France

Cool continental climate, with some oceanic influence

Rain of 700mm per year spread throughout the year

low average annual temperature (11 C)

[q] 5 main climatic dangers in Champagne

[a] Occasional severe winter frost

Spring frost (damaging buds)

Cold rainy weather in June
(damaging flowering/fruit set)

Storms/Hail in Summer

Hot/humid weather in summer (botrytis)

[q] Storing options for Reserve Wines

[a] 1/ stainless steel to keep fresh

2/ Old oak for gentle oxidation

3/ Magnums

4/ Perpetual blends

[q] At which stage would wines be blend to make rosé Champagne?

[a] After primary fermentation

Before maturation/secondary fermentation

[q] Describe the Cote de Sezanne

[a] Grapes = mostly Chardonnay

Soil = clay, clay/silt, some chalk

Style – fruitier, riper, considered lower quality

No Grand Crus

Other =
– planted on south-east facing slopes
– warmer area

[q] Upper limit of yields set by EU law

[a] 15,500 kilos/hectare

[q] 2 main reasons why yields regulated by the Comite Champagne

[a] Protect quality by avoiding over cropping

Regulate supply and demand

[q] Advantages of reserve wines

[a] 1/ used to avoid over production

2/ provide security against poor vintages

3/ Increase blending options

4/ Offer a solution to increase complexity
(especially for non vintage champagnes)

5/ Improve consistency accross vintages, years, and brands
(especially important for Non Vintage Champagnes)

[q] What is the main inconvenient of reserve wines?

[a] They are costly to store

[q] What were reserve wines intitially called?

[a] Blocage

[q] Why was the “blocage system” first introduced? How did it evolve?

[a] First introduced as an insurance policy against bad vintages

Evolved into a way to improve quality through complexity and reduce vintage variation 

[q] Describe the harvest process in Champagne

[a] Usually takes three weeks

Needs up to 100,000 people each year

Grapes are collected in bins with max capacity of 50kg

Grapes are pressed as quickly as possible
(often in regional pressing centres) 

[q] Aside from yield and reserve wine limits, what other regulations are set by the Comite Champagne (related to harvest)?

[a] Hand picking

Whole bunch pressing

[q] What is the usual level of reserve wine in a Non Vintage blend? From what age?

[a] 10-15% from the last 2 vintages

It can be up to 30-40%
especially for more premium wines looking to add complexity

[q] Planting density requirements in Champagne

[a] Inter row spacing of 1.5 meters

Intra row spacing of 0.9-1.5 meters

Average planting density of 8000 vines per hectare

[q] Maximum number of fruiting buds per vine in Champagne

[a] 18
for all training and trellising systems

[q] What is the minimum aging requirement for a Non-Vintage Champagne?

[a] 12 months on lees, 15 months total

[q] What is the minimum aging requirement for a Vintage Champagne?

[a] 12 months on lees, 3 years in total
(much longer in practice) 

[q] What are the closure requirements for Champagne?

[a] Cork,

Must state ‘Champagne’ on the cork and the vintage if appropriate

[q] What are the outcomes of extended lees ageing?

[a] It can protect the wine from oxidative development

It can result in a late-disgorged style that attracts higher prices

It costs money to keep wine on lees for a long time

Not much development is said to happen after a decade

[q] Who is the chef de cave?

[a] The master blender

[q] How is the harvest date set by the Comite Champagne?

[a] Samples are taken from control plots at veraison
(colour, weight, sugar concentration and acidity are measured)

Harvest date is the start, you can pick later
(But you must apply to the Comite if earlier)

[q] How are grape prices set today?

[a] By the market

Moet & Chandon being the biggest buyer they establish the benchmark price

[q] Describe the 3 codes displayed on a Champagne bottle

[a] NM = Negociant Manipulant
(Often called ‘negociant’)

RM = Recoltant Manipulant
(Grower Producer)

CM = Cooperative de Manipulant
(Co-ops selling wine made from members grapes) 

[q] What is the role of co-operatives in Champagne?

[a] Mainly bridging point between the growers and the houses

But as they market and sell their own wines, Champagne Houses in response buy more and more directly to growers

[q] Roughly how many growers in Champagne?

[a] 16 000

[q] Roughly how many Champagne Houses?

[a] 340

[q] Who has an advantage when it comes to keeping high levels of reserve wines?

[a] The big houses because they have the financial capacity to store more wine over a longer amount of time

[q] What are the different strengths of Champagne Houses, growers and co-operatives?


Champagne Houses account for 87% of export sales
(most sales made on export market)

Growers only produce about 1/4 of what the Champagne houses do

The vast majority of Co-op sales are domestic

Co-ops have an even split domestic vs export

[q] How has the role of the co-operatives changed in recent years?

[a] They are diversifying to not only sell to big houses, but also making and promoting their own brands

The houses are also buying direct from growers more often

[q] What has been recently considered concerning the Champagne appellation?

[a] Expanding the boundaries around the perimeter
(to allow for more grapes to be grown for Champagne)

[q] What are the 4 less common but permitted Champagne varieties?

[a] Pinot Blanc


Petit Meslier


[q] Detail the original hierarchical structure of the ‘echelles des crus’

[a] 17 Grand Cru villages rated 100%

42 Premier Cru villages rated 90-99%

257 other villages rated 80-89%

[q] What is the meaning of the percentage in the ‘Echelle des crus”?

[a] The percentage represented the amount of the reference price that should be paid for buy grapes from a given village in Champagne

[q] How is the overall supply of Champagne controlled?

[a] By setting yield limits

This decision will be made based on:
– world demand
– current stocks
– the progress of sales in the season

[q] What are the main export markets of Champagne?

[a] UK, USA, Japan, Germany and Belgium

USA & Japan highest price per bottle

UK highest by volume, but lowest average price per bottle

[q] 6 recent trends of the Champagne market

[a] Brut Nature
(specialty retailers and restaurants)

Extra Brut which has doubled its export figures in 2011-2016

Sweet styles intended to be drunk over ice/in cocktails
(Moet Ice Imperial)

Rose –
in line with the demand for rose in general

(Philipponnat Clos des Goisses, Krug Clos de Mesnil)

Growth of the growers Champagnes
(Selosse, Jacquesson, Drappier)

[q] What contributions is Dom Pierre Perignon said to have made to Champagne?

[a] Made the first Blanc de Noir

Inventing the Coquard press

Use of assemblage

Reintroducing cork, and use of English glass bottles

[q] How has volume and price of Champagne changed over the last decade?

[a] Overall there has been a shift after from volume, especially due to the increase in Prosecco

Volume has dropped by 10% but total value has risen by 25%

[q] How do growers market and sell their wines internationally?

[a] Usually through an agent

But often do in-person visits to key clients/markets

[q] What is unusual about the Champagne appelation?

[a] It is very large for a single appellation

[q] What are the most expensive styles of Champagne?

[a] Vintage wines
(costs of the extended ageing)

(because the production of still red wine is more expensive)

When there is use of oak

[q] How and why do the large houses control distribution?

[a] Because many are owned by large conglomerates that also own distribution companies

It is the only way they can control the price at which their wine is sold to the end customers around the world

[q] Who are the 2 largest Champagne conglomerates?

[a] LVMH
Moet & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Mercier, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Krug


Vranken Pommery Monopole
Vranken, Pommery, Monopole Heidsieck, Charles Lafitte, Bissinger

[q] What has been the average grape yield allowance over the last decade?
(in Champagne = different from EU laws)

[a] 10,500 kilos per hectare

[q] Roughly describe the percentage of total weight cost of grapes, production and commercialisation?

  [a] Grapes – 50%

Production – 30%

Commercialisation – 20%

[q] Where is the highest demand for Champagne?


The domestic market that makes up about half of total sales

Domestic prices have been historically low
(large production of inexpensive Champagne for supermarkets)

But the percentage of the cheapest wines have decreased steadily

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