The other essential element is the addition or dosage of the liqueur d’expédition. Traditionally, this consists of adding sugar, yeast and reserve wines after disgorgement. The amount of sugar may vary depending on the legal category of the resulting Champagne (from Brut to Demi-sec).
At Nicolas Feuillatte, the particular wine used is essential in this process as it will bring the finishing touch to the cuvée and impart balance, while fine-tuning texture and tonality. The wine will always be tailored to each individual cuvée to guarantee its distinctive style. By this stage, the Champagne may have undergone malolactic fermentation, or form part of a blend of several crus, grape varietals or harvest years. Each liqueur d’expedition will be different to make its mark on the final Champagne.
“The key element is anticipating the future Champagne from its intrinsic components. Within that I include the potential of the dosage at the very start of the creative process. I base my decisions on the quality of the reserve wines or the characteristics of the vintage year, on the sensory profile of the wines and the typical character I seek in each Champagne,” explains Guillaume Roffiaen. As a result, the length of time each Champagne is allowed to rest sur lattes, which varies from Champagne to Champagne, will also influence the dosage; over time the wine will become more balanced, and each element comes together in a perfect symbiosis. In the same way, the chief winemaker also plays on the finesse of the bubbles and the aromatic components. It is a work of precision juxtaposed with the meticulous art of blending.