The French pride themselves on their champagne which is lovingly fermented in cellars, the best of which are located deep underground in limestone caverns. The Charles Heidsieck Champagne House has decided to experiment with the Finnish Nordkalk limestone mine in Lohja to see how it lends itself to the fermentation of champagne. The first test batches have been launched in April 2018 and tests will run for the next five years.
A passing thought about fermenting champagne in Finnish limestone caverns piqued the interest of Cyril Brun from Champagne Charles Heidsieck: why not find out how northern conditions affect the second fermentation process that finalises the Charles Heidsieck standard champagnes!
On Friday 20 April 2018, the first 30 bottles of Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve champagne will be lowered down into the depths of the Tytyri limestone mine in Lohja, Finland. The launch of the fermenting cellar was planned in cooperation with the owners of the Tytyri mine, Nordkalk. Industrial extraction of limestone has continued in Lohja since 1897.
For the next five years, 30 bottles are transported annually from Reims to Tytyri for the second fermentation, and wines fermented at both locations will be compared each year.
Champagne requires time
Producing champagne requires longevity and patience. Champagne needs time. Charles Heidsieck knew this when he founded his eponymous champagne house in 1851. He also thought the long fermentation process was the secret to producing high-quality champagne.
He acquired eight miles of Roman limestone cellars located 30 metres underground in Reims to aid the fermentation process. Deep underground in the stable temperature of the cellars, Charles Heidsieck champagnes continue to be fermented today in optimal conditions.
The future champagne storage cellar in the Tytyri mine in Lohja is located at an impressive depth of 175 metres, but the conditions are very similar to France: the temperature remains between five and eight degrees Celsius all year round. Only time will tell how the northernmost and deepest fermentation cellar in the world treats champagne during the final steps of the fermentation process.
Interbrands Wines & Spirits Finland
Interbrands Wines & Spirits is an importer of alcoholic beverages founded in 2005 and belongs to the Interbrands Nordic Group that operates in all the Nordic countries and tax-free markets. In Finland, the company offers its customers a constantly evolving quality portfolio as well as an expert staff experienced in the alcohol business. www.interbrands.fi.
Champagne Charles Heidsieck is currently one of the most respected champagne brands in the world. The champagne house was founded in 1851 and is currently owned by the Decours family who are renowned cultivators of French craftsmanship and manufacturers of luxury products. Its champagnes arrived in Finland only a few years ago, but they quickly won over Finnish wine lovers: their standard champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve won prizes in the Vuoden Viinit competition ("Wines of the Year Awards") in 2016 and Viinilehti ("Wine Magazine") selected it as Champagne of the Year. charlesheidsieck.com
Nordkalk Corporation delivers limestone-based products to numerous industries such as the pulp, paper, metals, mining, construction and chemicals industry. Limestone-based solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as the productivity of agricultural land. Nordkalk operates in over 30 locations around the Baltic Sea, in Central Europe, Norway and Turkey. The company employs 1000 people, and in 2017 its turnover amounted to EUR 303.6 million. Nordkalk is a wholly owned subsidiary of Finnish Rettig Group. www.rettig.fi
The Tytyri limestone mine is one of Nordkalk's
three underground mines. The mine has 60 kilometres of tunnels, the deepest of
which are located 350 metres underground. Tytyri's products also include
limestone powder, quicklime and slaked lime. Tytyri manufactures products for
the paper and construction industries, for environmental purposes and
agricultural applications. In addition to limestone, the mine supplies
groundwater to the city of Lohja and the limestone kiln conducts its residual
heat to the district heating network. Tytyri is also the location of the Tytyri
Mine Experience maintained by the City of Lohja, and the old mine shafts house
the KONE Corporation high-rise elevator test laboratory.
Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.