One of the hardest things to get your head round is the price of Champagne. Why is one bottle of sparkling wine £8, and then the cheapest bottle of Champagne you can find is about £15. Two big reasons I can think of, of which the main one is cost of how it’s made.
With the Traditional Method of making sparkling wines, which they pioneered in Champagne, you start with a low alcohol base wine. Then you bottle it with a bit of sugar and yeast. That yeast eats the sugar and gives off more alcohol and carbon dioxide. Easy so far.
Trick to what makes sparkling wines from this method taste different is what happens to the yeast next. It gets left in the bottle. It dies and breaks up. This leaves yeasty tastes in the wine. What stuff do you know that has a yeasty taste? Bread, biscuits, and maybe (middle class shout out) brioche. Things like that.
The yeast sediment eventually gets taken out before the final cork gets put in and the wine gets sent off to the shelves. But more time with the yeast in the bottle, the more complex and structured the flavour. Slight problem being, more time means more cost.
The other big reason for the price is the marketing people, and the big role that the big brands have to play. That’ll be tomorrow’s post.
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