Beer budget, Champagne vocabulary


We all know that real Champagne is from Champagne, and the rest is just (sniff!) sparkling wine. But if you're seeking to out-pedant your relatives this Thanksgiving, you'll need to go a bit further than that. Throwing around the following words, which I found in (of all places) the Amtrak in-ride magazine, may help:

Remueur: The individual responsible for turning and upending the bottles, enabling the yeast cells to make their way toward the neck of the bottle.

Degorgement: The process by which the bottls are placed upside down and placed in a solution of brine that freezes the neck so as to be able to remove the "plug" or now-frozen yeast sediments.

Liqueur d'expedition: A blend of wine and sugar that replaces the spent plug and will determine the degree of dryness of sweetness of the sparkling wine. Champagne and sparkling wine will vary between 0 and 50 grams of sugar per liter. The driest of these wines will be known as extra brut. The sweetest will be labeled Doux. In between you'll find brut, extra dry, sec, and demi-sec, in order from dry to sweet.