Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reading a Champagne Label


This weekend we opened a bottle of this champagne. The  Beaumont des Crayères Champagne was born in 1955 when a group of winegrowers from the village of Mardeuil near Epernay, formed a cooperative.  The Grand Prestige Brut is made from; 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier grapes.

This Champagne is crisp with powerful apple and citrus fruit notes, pale straw yellow with a lively and persistent mousse.  Overall an excellent Champagne.   We have found that often the best value for money, on a quality to price ratio is to be had from the Champagne cooperatives, beating the big better known Champagne houses hands down.   Not that the Beaumont des Crayères Cooperative is small, with 240 members it produces half a million bottles a year.

"My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne“
John Maynard Keynes

Reading The Label

The main parts of the label are relatively obvious; The name of the brand, Champagne the wine's Appelation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) and an alcohol content of 12%  etc are all shown.  At the bottom of the label a line containing lot of specific content in small print is present:

"Elaboré par Beaumont des Crayères à Mardeuil, 51530, France, CM-826-001 Produce of France"

First is the name and address of the producer, here showing that the origin of the grapes is the village of Mardeuil.  CM-826-001 is the producers Professional Registration Code.  The letters CM denote that the producer is Coopérative-manipulant that is a cooperative of growers who also make and sell Champagne under their own labels.  The first two letter of the code shows the type of champagne producer.  Most of the champagne you will see on the shelves is NM (Négociant-manipulant) meaning it is from a Champagne house.  Here is a list of the two letter codes:

ND (Négociants-Distributeur) – A  company selling Champagne it did not make
RM (Récoltant-Manipulant) – grower producer – A grower who sells grapes to the houses as well as buying grapes from other growers and making his own Champagne
CM (Coopérative-manipulant) – cooperative producer – A coop of growers who also make and sell Champagne under their own labels
NM (Négociant-manipulant) – a Champagne house – Producer who buys grapes in volume from growers to make Champagne
MA (Marque d’Acheteur) – a buyers own brand – A brand name owned by the purchaser such as restaurant, supermarket, wine merchant

If you live in Ontario Beaumont des Crayères is available from the LCBO

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