Verzenay is a very old champagne village: where one can still find historical traces from the 9th-century. The vineyards were without doubt present from the beginning of its history. In the archives of the village one finds the name of François Rousseaux in 1776.
In Champagne the numerous vine growers cultivated their vines throughout the year and sold their harvest to the trade houses. Paul Rousseaux, born in 1884, followed a project shared with numerous other vine growers: produce his own champagne and market it himself (in 1999 we tasted the contents of one of these bottles, the wine was still fresh, with the color of old gold).
Paul had two children, Pierre and Michel. Pierre married Charlotte Degouy and they continued to cultivate the vineyards and to make their champagne, despite the conflicts that devastated Europe and our region during this period. They had four children: Jacques, Anne-Marie, Luc and Dominique. And today... Jacques, the eldest son, continues to cultivate the vineyards of the family, who trust in him. With his wife, Bernadette, they have developed their market during 30 years. Since January 2001 Céline and Eric, two of their three children, welcome you at the house of Jacques Rousseaux at VERZENAY.
• The pressing: slow and careful extraction of the grape juice
• The settling process (débourbage): the particles settle to the bottom of the juice and form a sediment
• Alcoholic fermentation: slowly transforming the grape juice into wine
• Decanting: elimination of the sediment
• Malolactic fermentation: to naturally reduce the acidity of the wine
• Natural clarification of the wine
• Blending the wines of different vineyards, years and grape varieties
• Bottling: bottle the champagne, adding some sugar and yeast, to have a second fermentation in the bottle
• Stocking the bottles in the cellar
• The bubbles are born
• Place the bottles on the ‘ridding rack’ (pupitre de remuage) – either wooden boards on which the bottles are turned manually, or a mechanical machine’ remueur’
• The ‘raddling’ or ‘remuage’ – slowly turning the bottles over a period of time so that the lees (deposits) can settle in the neck of the bottle
• Remove the bottles from the ‘rumueur’
• The ‘dégorgement’ or ‘disgorging’: the neck of the bottle is frozen and the cap removed. The pressure in the bottle forces out the ice containing the lees.
• Add some liquor to adjust the sugar levels (create a Brut or Demi-Sec)
• The cork is inserted and kept in place by a wire-cap
• Washing and checking each bottle
• Labeling the bottles: put the label and cover the wire-cap
How to store and preserve Champagne ?
Champagne is sold at a perfectly mature stage and it is not necessary to age the champagne at home. Store the bottles in a cool area (max 15°C) away from light and draughts.
How to serve Champagne ?
Serve champagne cold but not ice cold. The ideal temperature is 9°C. Avoid keeping it in the fridge for a long period as it damages the wine. Preferably it should be cooled in a bucket half filled with ice and water. Slowly fill the fine and elegant champagne glasses. Listen…Look…Smell…Taste…Cheers!