Genuine Champagne is traditionally produced using the Champenoise, or classic technique. The method of secondary fermentation in bottles, which was created by French wine makers, is an extremely complicated and long process, which includes numerous unique procedures: assemblage, remuage, degorgage, and others.
A full production cycle for wines created using the classic technique has been created and perfected at Abrau-Durso. We have been producing sparkling wine using the classic technique for more than 120 years!
Сhampenoise technique is used for the production of:
Imperial, Victor Dravigny, Imperial Domain.
The juice pressed from the harvested grapes is used for making still wine, which later becomes the basis for sparkling wine. Cuvée, grape juice from the first pressing, becomes the basis for the best champagne.
Here at Abrau-Durso we carefully ensure that not a single drop of the priceless liquid is ever lost. And so we harvest our grapes by hand only, placing it in special small boxes so as not to crush the delicate bunches. Not an easy thing to do, but the result is worth it.
To create a unique flavour bouquet of sparkling wines, we carry out assemblage – a process of marrying wines from different harvests before laying them down in bottles to mature. In the French province of Champagne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are blended.
Here at Abrau-Durso, we have an opportunity to use other varieties as well, including Riesling, Aligoté, Pinot Blanc, and even Cabernet Sauvignon for red sparkling wine. The addition of Riesling to the assemblage has become the hallmark and unique feature of Abrau-Durso sparkling wines.
We bottle still wine and deliver the bottles for maturation to mountain tunnels, where it gradually turns into sparkling wine... Tunnels are long cellars in which sparkling wine is kept during maturation.
Unique Abrau-Durso mountain tunnels, which were created in the 19th century by Prince Golitsyn, and in the Soviet period completed by subway builders, are equal in area to two football pitches and reach a depth of 60 metres.
At the end of the three-year maturation, we carry out the process of remuage, or collection of organic sediment at the cork, by placing the bottles in pupitres at an angle with the neck pointing downwards.
Abrau-Durso remuagers need to be as accurate as watchmakers: the technique requires them to turn the bottles each day exactly by 7.5 minutes, if you look at the bottle bottom as though it was a clock face.
The pupitre is a special rack with holes to support the bottles at the required angle. In the Abrau-Durso tunnels, which are unique in terms of their area, the pupitres can hold up to 10 million bottles of excellent wine at a time.
Degorgage (from the French “gorge” meaning “throat”) means removal of the sediment which collects around the cork in the process of remuage. Bottle necks are then frozen together with the sediment. Having carefully removed the clip, a specialist opens each bottle, and the cork with the sediment pops out at high speed.
Here at Abrau-Durso we employ unique expert degorgers, the only representatives of this profession in Russia. And practically the only degorgers in the world who are members of the fairer sex.
The process ends with final stoppering of the bottles using a wire muselet.
The muselet (from the French “museler” – “to put a muzzle on”) is a special wire bridle, which holds the cork on the bottle neck. The standard length of a muselet is 52 centimetres. According to a legend, this is the length of wire which Josephine Clicquot removed from her corsage to twist into a cork stopper.