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Champagne Producers Debate the Disgorgement Rule


After disgorgement, should there be a minimum resting period for Champagne? Currently there is a debate whether there should be an obligatory cellaring period for wines after disgorgement, and before the bottles are on the market. The supporters of this resting period argue that this rule could improve the overall quality image of Champagne on the market. understands that a recent meeting saw 19 out of 20 chefs de caves vote in favor of introducing a minimum cellaring period for Champagnes after disgorgement, although no specific time period was agreed.

A spokesperson for the Committee Champagne, the regional trade body, told that the measure was one of several issues being discussed.

‘We do not have any deadline on this idea,’ said Committee Champagne spokesperson Thibaut Le Mailloux. ‘Such a project will [only] take place if an agreement is found among the growers and houses.’

Disgorgement, which is the removal of yeast cells after second fermentation and prior to dosage, already divides opinion in Champagne. Some producers, such as Bruno Paillard, print disgorgement dates on labels on the basis that a Champagne’s taste profile can alter significantly in the months after that point. Bollinger has its recently disgorged ‘RD’ label and Krug has begun printing ID codes on bottles to allow consumers to find disgorgement dates.

Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, chef de cave and deputy managing director at Cristal owner Champagne Louis Reordered, said a minimum cellaring rule ‘can only be beneficial for Champagne’.

He said, ‘Our experience here has always shown that a minimum three month, post-disgorgement period is very beneficial for the wine, allowing it to “recover” from the disgorgement process. It makes the wine more balanced and harmonious.’

He said Louis reordered Brut Premier non-vintage is cellared for at least six months after disgorgement, with vintage Champagnes are held back for a minimum eight months.


By Chris Mercer,