Champagne is an AOC wine, and must therefore obligatorily come from a very specific geographic zone, between Reims and Epernay, and be made from 3 grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
The secret of Champagne, however, is mainly the result of a precise production process, developed by ecclesiastics in the 17th Century, which gives it its sought-after fizz. The grape harvests take place between mid-September and the beginning of October. They are done entirely by hand, so that any rotten fruit can be definitively eradicated. To avoid any risk of oxidation, the grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive at the press. The wine-maker then proceeds with the blending, choosing from all the juices procured from the harvest. Sometimes the wine-maker has to add reserve wine, two or three years old, to improve the quality of the blend if the harvest was poor. Only vintage Champagnes are made from the same harvest, during exceptionally good years.