Jargon Buster!

There are many words and phrases that are used in the world of wine and champagne. We hope this quick guide may help you in your understanding of some of the terms used!


Acidity - An element of Champagne that gives it's tangy freshness and sharp taste.

Apéritif - An alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Assemblage - The process of blending a wine.

Bâttonage - Stirring of the lees.

Biodynamics - A winemaking process with a focus on organics and the eco-system.

Brut - Translates to raw/dry. Used to label any Champagne containing less than 12g/L of sugar.

Brut Nature or Brut Zero - No added sugar (Less than 3g/L)

Cépage - Grape variety or blend of varities.

Chaptalisation - The addition of concentrated grape juice or sugar to increase alcohol strength.

Chef de Cave - Chief winemaker.

Clos - A walled vineyard.

Coteaux Champenois - A still wine produced from the grapes of Champagne.

Crayères - Cellars used to store Champagne which where originally Roman chalk pits.

Cru - A village, vineyard or group of vineyards. Translated to 'growth'.

Cuvée - An individual blend or style of wine.

Disgorgement - The process of eliminating the yeast sediment in a bottle then replacing the crown cap with a cork.

Demi-Sec - Half dry wine (32g-50g/L of sugar).

Dosage - The final addition to the wine after disgorgement. Usually a mixture of wine and sugar syrup called 'liqueur de dosage'.

Extra Brut - Extra dry (less than 6g/L of sugar)

Fermentation - The process of sugar turning in to alchohol due to the action of yeasts. Carbon Dioxide is produced a a by-product.

Gyropalette - A mechanical crate used to automatically perform the riddling process of bottles.

Jeroboam - A 3 litre bottle.

Late disgorgement - A Champagne that has been aged on lees for a longer than normal period.

Lees - Sediment that settles in a bottle from the dead yeast cells after fermentation.

Maceration - The slow pressing of red grapes to allow the to soak in their skins and create a red coloured wine for Rosé or Coteaux Champenois.

Magnum - A 1.5 litre bottle.

Maison - House

Malolactic Fermentation - A fermentation where malic acid is converted by bacteria to lactic acid and CO2. Usually from adding cultures.

Millésime - Vintage

Minerality - The texture of a wine and feel in the mouth.

Non-Vintage (NV) - A champagne containing wine from more than one vintage (year).

Reserve Wines - Wines stored for future blending from previous years to make non-vintage cuvées.

Riddling - The process of moving the sediment into the neck of the bottle ready for disgorgement. Can be done by hand or by machine.

Sabrage - A technique for opening a bottle of champagne by using a sabre or similar instrument.

Saignée - A process of bleeding off juice from just pressed black grapes after a short maceration.

Solera - A system of blending where successive vintages are added to a single tank.

Terroir - The soil, terrain, altitude, climate and any other environmental factors which define the character of a vineyard.

Tirage - The process of bottling the wine with addition of sugar and yeast to create the second fermentation in the bottle.

Vignes - Vines.

Vigneron - Vine grower.

Vintage - Wine from a single years harvest. Must have spent a minimum of three years ageing on lees.