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Champagne Appraisals

Dom Pérignon did not invent wine bubbles but in the end he managed to make the most popular wine in the world. 
Now there are 15,800 grape growers in Champagne. However, only a small percentage of these growers produce their own wine. Two thirds of the production and sales is dominated by champagne houses. The value of rare Champagne bottles is now a fairly big topic. A trending item of collection for many enthusiastic collectors around the world. 

Top Champagne Brands

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion, toasting with your friends, or looking for a little something fancy to sip, Champagne is always an ideal choice. Champagne is king. So, whatever you’re celebrating, make sure you choose the best champagne available in the market. Here is the most sought after (and expensive) brands to invest in. They hold their value pretty well and has established itself as a rare collectible by many. You will see champagne bottles from these producers frequently at auction houses.
Here are the top champagne brands


1. Dom Perignon
2. Veuve Clicquot
3. Pommery
4. Canard-Duchêne
 

The different types of champagne

The type of champagne is determined by the amount of sugar that each contains. Depending on that we have from the least sweet to the sweetest: 'extra-brut', 'brut', 'extra-dry', dry, semi-dry, sweet.
Another type of classification is depending on the vintage - the year of harvest or the type of grapes used, without using white grapes Chardonnay is called Blanc de blancs and if the grapes used are Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir It is known as Blanc de noirs or Rosé.
 

Non vintage

85% of the champagne we drink is non vintage. This means that it may contain champagne with different age. The minimum aging in the cellar is 15 months.

Vintage

All the wine in this champagne is from the same year. Minimum aging is 36 months. 

Blanc de noir

It is made from Champagne’s black grape grapes- Pinot Noir or pinot Meunier or a blend of both. It can be NV or Vintage. 

Rose

Pink champagne is generally made by blending red and white wine. Champagne is the only place in the world where this is allowed. Can be NV or Vintage

Understanding code of champagne producers

RM 
Recoltant-Manipulant 
Grower Champagne


NM 
Negociant-Manipulant 
Champagne Houses that buy grapes from other growers and produce the Champagne themselves. 


CM 
Cooperative-Manipulant
Co-operative growers who blend the product of their collective vineyards to sell under one or more brands 


SR 
Societe de Recottants 
Two or more growers who share the same winery which they use to make wine to sell under their own label 


MA 
Marque d'acheteur 
Brand name unrelated to the producer such as a supermarket own label 


RC
Recoltant-Cooperateur 
Champagne from a single grower, but made entirely for him by a co-operative winemaking facility 


NO 
Negotiant distributeur 
Wine merchant who sell under their own name

Owning champagne - what to remember 

The correct preservation of champagne will allow it to preserve its properties and its original flavor. Here are some suggestions.

Bottle position
The position of the bottle at rest is essential, and that is why they must be lying down so that the cork, in contact with the wine, prevents any exchange with the outside. In this way we will avoid that the plug loses elasticity and facilitates gas leaks, as well as aromas, which would occur if the bottle were standing.
Exposure to light
Champagne should be protected from light, avoiding exposure to sunlight because otherwise it would deteriorate rapidly. To be aware of this, it is worth noting that with a powerful light, only 78 hours are enough for the liquid to lose its original properties.
Only the light from the sodium lamps produces no degradation.
Temperature
As for the temperature, the bottles should not undergo changes trying to keep them in a cool place.
It is important to take these aspects into account, especially when you do not have a cellar that is well adapted to the ideal standards.
Champagne should cool slowly. To reach the right temperature to consume, the best method is to submerge the bottle in a bucket with a mixture of water and ice for 20 minutes or half an hour.
In case of not having these elements, you can cool down in the refrigerator but keeping in mind that it should not be left for a long time, no more than half a day, because otherwise the champagne loses carbonic properties.
The ideal temperature to serve is 6º to 8º C. Always try not to serve too cold or icy because it loses all flavor; and if it is excessively hot it becomes heavy, loses the aroma and the foam disappears.

How to start collecting champagne?

Many would love to have their own collection of champagne’s, but few decide to take the step, because it requires a certain knowledge about what bottles to buy. There are indispensable things to make this dream a reality without being an expert on the subject.


1) High income
Only buy high value champagne if you have the necessary financial situation. It is expensive and require storage, insurance etc.


2) Track your collection
Make sure you know exactly what you have and the value. Make sure to get an online appraisal if you are in doubt or check databases. 


3) Have a decent storage
Champagne needs a delicate storage and handling. Especially if you buy high valuable bottles - this is an important part of collecting champagne.


4) First value matters
What is valuable today will likely be worth more tomorrow. 


5) Documentation
Keep everything - receipts, auction estimates, appraisals etc. At some point provenance is important and here it matters where and when you bought it.


6) Have your champagne collection appraised
Markets can be extremely volatile, so make sure you know the value of your collection. You can get appraisals online on champagne here. 

7) Let them sleep
Dont move them frequently or take it from the cellar every weekend to show your friends. 


8) Buy what you like
There are plenty of producers with excellent taste. Buy what you like and don´t just follow the trends.


9) Start small
The fun thing about building a collection is to follow and see the growth. Dont just buy everything at once. Hunt the good deals.

What grapes is found in Champagne?

There are 3 main grape varieties that can be used in the production of Champagne. Different grapes are blended for different styles. 
Chardonnay - Adds freshness, elegance and finesse
Pinot Noir  - Adds body, structure and a complexity of flavours 
Pinot Meunier - Adds fruitiness and floral aromas
Other Grape Varieties  - These four grape varieties are also permitted, but are rarely used
Pinot Gris
Pinot Blanc
Petit Meslier
Arbanne