Pressing

Charles Lafitte does everything it can to keep the grapes intact until they are pressed. To minimize the time and distance from vine to press, the house’s presses are located in Tours sur Marne, Saudoy and Merrey sur Arce.
Grapes from the Aube, the Sézannais, and the Marne Valley are pressed on site in the vineyard, and the settled musts are transported to our fermenting rooms.
Pressing is done immediately, at a gentle, gradual pace. It is done at low pressure, especially for red grapes so that their skins do not tint the musts. At 4,000 kg, the cuvée is drawn out, resulting in 2,050 litres of the purest juice and 500 litres of second-press jus de taille. The grapes are pressed separately by cru.

 
 

Alcoholic fermentation

After pressing, the must is left to rest and settle in vats for 15 to 24 hours.
After systematic analytic and organoleptic inspections, the clarified musts are seeded with yeasts to kick off alcoholic fermentation.

Due to our northerly geography, we often have to rely on measured chaptalisation to make our wines more balanced. During alcoholic fermentation, which lasts 1 to 2 weeks, the sugar turns into alcohol, and carbon dioxide is released.
This process results in still—that is, non-sparkling—wine.

 
 

Malolactic fermentation

At Charles Lafitte, a second fermentation process helps reduce the wine’s acidity by turning malic acid into lactic acid. This fermentation is done in stainless steel vats, at a regulated temperature of 14°C, to preserve the wine’s aromatic potential.

 
 

Tirage

The cuvée is cooled at a temperature of -3° for two weeks to stabilise it. It is then filtered and enriched with selected yeasts, riddling additives, and a small amount of sugar, known as the liqueur de tirage, before bottling.

 
 

Blending

Charles Lafitte’s non-vintage cuvée is a harmonious combination of wines from the current harvest and our reserve wines. The house has the equivalent of a half year’s harvest of reserve wines to maintain the authentic Charles Lafitte style each year, no matter what the harvest was like. In December, Dominique Pichart meets with a team of oenologists and other professionals to taste the year’s wines. Each wine is assigned to the year’s cuvée or to the reserve wine, or it may be excluded if it does not meet the house’s quality criteria.

Cuvée Charles Lafitte Brut is a blend of around twenty different crus, plus approximately 30% reserve wines. The Rosé Cuvée is made by adding 16% red Bouzy wine, in accordance with tradition. The Demi-Sec is made using 40 grams of sugar dosage. Their objective is to make a harmonious blend of different crus, different varietals, and different years (except for vintage champagnes), so that each one is greater than the sum of its parts and reflects the excellence and personality of Charles Lafitte champagnes.

 
 

Foam development

Once they have been racked, the bottles are stopped and placed in the cellar. They are kept in a horizontal position to encourage foam development. Under the action of the yeasts, the sugar from the liqueur de tirage is transformed, releasing carbon dioxide that will produce the foam. At the cool, constant cellar temperature (10° to 12°), in-bottle fermentation occurs slowly, turning the still wine into Champagne.
Champagne is improved through ageing in the cellar. This long wait in a horizontal position, known as sur lattes, encourages interaction between the yeasts and the wine. All bottles of Charles Lafitte Brut 1834 are aged for at least 24 months.

 

 
 

How to serve Charles Lafitte Champagne ?

Chill your bottle in a bucket filled with water and ice for thirty minutes, or place at the bottom of the refrigerator in a horizontal position for four hours.

Serve chilled, not cold, at 7- 8° C, opening the bottle as follows:
• hold the bottle with one hand and undo the wire cage with the other hand,
• tilt the bottle slightly and turn it, while holding firmly onto the cork,
• pull gently on the cork to keep it from popping out violently.
• fill the glasses halfway so that the wine’s aroma can be fully appreciated.

Charles Lafitte 1834 bottle sizes 

• Half-bottle: 375 ml
• Bottle: 750 ml
• Magnum: 1.5 l (2 bottles)

 

Champagne

Provence

Camargue

Portugal

Sparkling Wine

 

The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health. Consume with moderation.