• Pascal Gerbais of Champagne Pierre Gerbais, at Les Artisans du Champagne

    At last week’s Les Artisans du Champagne tasting in Reims, which featured a small group of quality-minded producers pouring both champagnes and vins clairs, Pascal Gerbais of Champagne Pierre Gerbais presented a pair of wines that illustrated, for me, why it is that champagne has bubbles.

    The question might seem self-evident, but it’s a fundamental one: does the second fermentation actually improve the wine? This is perhaps even more pertinent in the modern day, when plenty of growers are harvesting grapes at higher sugar levels than in the past—vin clair has a reputation for being hard as nails, but in truth, today’s vin clair is much more fruit-forward than it was before, and despite its high levels of ac
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