Maison Charles Lafitte makes every endeavor to ensure that the grapes remain intact right up to the moment of pressing : the distance and time between the vineyards and the wine-press are reduced to a minimum, thanks to the installation of wine-presses in Tours sur Marne, Saudoy and Merrey sur Arce.
The grapes from l’Aube, le Sézannais, and the Marne valley are pressed on site at the vineyards and the racked must is transported by tanker to our wineries.
After pressing, the must is left in the vat for 15 to 24 hours to allow the must to settle. After systematic analytic and organoleptic (sensory) verification, the clarified must is seeded with yeasts to trigger alcoholic fermentation.
The alcoholic fermentation phase lasts for 1 to 2 weeks, with the sugars being transformed into alcohol and carbonic gas, which is allowed to escape, giving «still wines» without any fizz.
The champagnes blend mirrors the diversity of nature, reflected in differences between crus, varietals, and years. Each blend is a harmonious combination of wines from the current harvest and our reserve wines. Cellar Master Dominique Pichart, along with his team of oenologists, is responsible for blending the Charles Lafitte vintages in order to preserve, year after year, their signature style.
The objective is to create 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.
The bottles are then laid horizontally to encourage foam development. The Champagne will «improve» as it ages in the cellars. This long wait in the horizontal position - «sur lattes» - encourages the exchanges between the yeasts and the wine.
The bottle-ageing period Charles Lafitte Brut is at least 24 months.
After the bottle-ageing phase, the next step is turning, which consists of gathering the deposit together in the neck of the bottle by making one or several.
'La dernière étape de l’élaboration du champagne est le dégorgement. Le col de chaque bouteille est alors plongé dans un bain de saumure à -26°C. Le dépôt est ainsi emprisonné dans un glaçon qui sera expulsé par la pression naturelle à l’ouverture de la bouteille.' => 'The final step to creating the champagne is removing the sediment, or disgorging.. The neck of each bottle is plunged into a saline bath at -26°C. The deposit is fixed in a block of ice, which will be expelled by natural pressure when the bottle is opened
This is followed by dosage - the addition of sugar diluted in reserve wine. The dosage determines the type of champagne produced: brut, sec, demi-sec...