Waist

The must resulting from the first pressing is called cuvée. The must extracted from the grapes after the first pressing is called taille.

4,000 kg of grapes (one Marc) fill a traditional press in the Champagne. 2,550 litres of the grape juice of this quantity is used to produce the Champagne used. About 100 liters of juice are already produced when filling the press under the lightest pressure. This juice is called bourbes. It contains dust and other impurities that were attached to the vines. This juice is unfit for use.

This is followed by the first pressing, which yields the best grape juice (la cuvée). This pressing yields 2,050 litres of juice. This first pressing consists of three stages, with the grapes being lightly stirred twice in between (retrousses). Tête de cuvée refers to the (best) juice obtained from the first stages of pressing (also the name for the finest cuvée quality in general). A second pressing follows, which yields a further 500 litres of grape juice. This is the juice known as the taille or première taille. Some winemakers sell the taille to other winemakers and use only the must from the first pressing (the cuvée) themselves in the creation of their champagnes.

Formerly, the juice of a third pressing (deuxième taille) could also be used for champagne. However, the total volume of grape juice that can be used for champagne was officially reduced from 2,666 liters to only 2,550 liters in recent times, and at the same time, the use of the juice of the third pressing for the preparation of champagne was prohibited.

A final pressing yields only coarse residual juice (rebêche). It is used for the production of brandy (Marc de Champagne).

The waist is enriched with other natural substances through the increasingly intensive pressing of the grapes.
For example, the breaking grape skins add to the tannin content, which can be both beneficial and detrimental (see tannin). Moreover, the waist gains color due to the increased pressure on the grapes, which is of course undesirable in terms of a white champagne. However, this 'waist juice' of the second pressing is by no means to be understood as 'bad'. On the contrary, it can contribute to very good Champagne in the care of a capable cellar master. In addition, the second pressing waist is much cheaper in price than the first pressing juice (cuvée). This is ultimately also reflected in a relatively low price of a bottle of champagne on the shelf of the department store.

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