Understanding the rich aroma profile of champagne is crucial for appreciating its intricacies. A recurring note often described is that of brioche. In this article, we delve into what contributes to these brioche aromas and why they matter, from exclusive champagnes like Krug to good-value options like Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs.
What is Brioche Aroma?
Brioche aroma refers to a yeasty, bread-like scent, akin to the French pastry from which it takes its name. It adds warmth and depth to the champagne drinking experience.
How Brioche Aromas Develop in Champagne
Second fermentation is pivotal in champagne production. Occurring in the bottle, yeast transforms sugars into alcohol and releases carbon dioxide. Following this, the yeast dies and settles. Regulations stipulate a minimum of 12 months of yeast aging for non-vintage champagne, and at least three years for vintage ones. This process is integral for developing autolytic aromas, such as those resembling brioche.
The Role of Yeast in Champagne
Yeast sediment, or 'lees,' enhances the champagne’s texture and complexity. Aging on lees enriches both aroma and body.
Oxidative vs. Oxidized/Sherry Notes
"Oxidative" and "oxidized" are often used interchangeably but signify different nuances in champagne. Oxidative notes result from controlled oxygen exposure during winemaking, contributing to a nuttier, richer profile. Oxidized notes signify spoilage or excessive air exposure, rendering the wine sherry-like and flawed.
Champagnes that Exhibit Brioche Aromas
From exclusive bottles like Krug to good-value champagnes such as Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, brioche aromas can be found in a variety of offerings. Specifically, Le Mesnil offers this brioche experience at a very good price. Other notable mentions include:
Recognizing brioche aromas in champagne enhances the tasting experience. From high-end to good-value options, these aromas are a distinctive feature worth appreciating.