What is Seyval Blanc?
A white grape variety that is particularly well suited to the English growing environment. It shares crisp citrus/apple/light floral character with Chardonnay but is easier to grow.
What does Blanc de Blancs mean?
Made using white grape varieties only – usually makes for a lighter, more floral style.
What is the traditional method/methode Champenoise?
The only method of producing Champagne (and Champagne-style wines).
Two fermentations (one for alcohol, one to produce carbonation) occur, with the second taking place in the same bottle that the wine will eventually be sold in.
Labour intensive and skilled – adding to the end cost, but also to the complexity.
What are lees?
A byproduct of the winemaking process. Leaving wine in contact with the lees produces richer, rounder wines with toasty/brioche character.
What does organic/biodynamic mean?
Certified organic – can only use controlled substances in the vineyard (ie no mass spraying of artificial herbicides/fungicides), and committed to lower levels of sulphur dioxide in the winery. Better for the environment, better for you.
Biodynamic – as for organic but with additional focus on soil and environment health; and often work in the vineyard / winery is usually carried out according to the lunar calendar.
Organics are generally accepted as a good thing (not just in wine production).
Biodynamics are sometimes seen as a little more controversial – but ultimately anything that requires you to spend more time in your vineyard, working intensively to improve the growing environment, is a good thing.