Cards of Wine

Sparkling Vinification

Sparkling wines are produced with different methods:

The Traditional Method
Champagne. Cremant. Cava.

The Tank Method
Prosecco. Lambrusco.

The Asti Method
Asti DOCG. Moscato d’Asti.

The Traditional Method

French names in parantesis ()

Pressing

Pressing (Pressurage)

The grapes are pressed to release the juice.
Fermentation

First Fermentation

The juice is transformed into wine (sugar is fermented into alcohol).
Blending

Blending (Assemblage)

Different wines are blended to create a perfect combination.
Bidule

Second Fermentation

The blended wines are fermented in bottles sealed with a metal cap.
Riddling

Riddling (Remuage)

The bottles are turned very slowly to sink the sediments.
Disgorage (Dégorgement)

Disgorgement

The top of the bottles are frozen to remove the sediments.
Whitewine Bottles

Dosage

A "dosage" of juice/sugar and spirit is added to the bottle.

Descriptions

Pressing (Pressurage)

Wine Press

Pressing separates the liquid (juice) from the solids (skins, seeds, stems). By gradually increasing the pressure, the juice can be seperated into different qualities.

For Champagne and Crémant the qualities are strictly regulated.


First Fermentation

Steel Tanks

Alcoholic fermentation transforms grape juice into wine

Alcoholic Fermentation

This first fermentation transforms the grape juice into wine. Yeast transforms sugar into alcohol.

Most producers ferment in stainless steel tanks which gives the purest expression of fruit.

Malolactic Fermentation

Malolactic fermentation transforms malic acid into lactic acid. This fermentation takes place at the end of the alcoholic fermentation. Like all fermentations, it changes the aromas of the wine.


Blending (Assemblage)

Blending

Trying to create a perfect combination

The blending takes place in the winter/spring. Winemakers will taste different wines from different vineyards (or regions), trying to blend the perfect combination.

Champagne

Typical varieties to blend in Champagne, are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Non-vintage Champagne

Non-vintage Champagne can be a blend of wines from different years.

Vintage Champagne

Vintage Champagne must be a blend of wines from the same year.


Second Fermentation

Second Fermentation

The second fermentation takes place in the bottle

The second fermentation takes place inside the bottle. The bottle is hermetically sealed with a polyethylene stopper ("bidule") sealed with a metal cap.

Bidule Bidule Bidule Bidule Bidule

Liqueur de Tirage

The second fermentation is kick-started by adding a "liqueur de tirage". This is a blend of wine, sugar, and yeast cultures.

The fermentation lasts from 6 to 8 weeks, while yeast consumes sugar, creates alcohol, and releases the carbon dioxide that create the bubbles.

Maturing on the Side ("Sur Lat")

With the waste and the dead yeast cells still in the bottle, another year of aging contributes to a more complex flavor profile.


Riddling (Remuage)

Riddling

Riddling takes place with the bottles upside down

Riddling involves turning uptilted bottles very slowly to bring the sediments (dead yeast and waste) down to the bottom (to the cap).

Bottles stored on the side are slowly moved to an upside down position, allowing the sediment to slide gradually down to the neck.

Traditionally riddling was done by hand, but today riddling is often automated with a machine (a gyropalette) twisting hundreds of bottles at a time.


Disgorgement (Dégorgement)

Pressing

Disgorgement is about removing the sediment collected around the cork after riddling.

The neck of the bottle is placed in an ice cold solution (between -25 and -30°C), rapidly frozen and then brought upright to remove the cap.

When the cap (the bidole) is removed, the pressure in the bottle (6 to 8 bars) ejects the frozen sediment out of the bottle.


Dosage (Liqueur d'Expedition)

Dosage refers to the addition of a "Liqueur d'Expedition" to the top of the bottle to regulate sweetness and profile.

Liqueur d'Expedition is a solution of base wine, sugar and sulfites (preservatives).

A sweeter dosage is necessary to balance the acidity. In colder climates, where grapes stuggle to ripen, the wine is very acidic. The dosage balances the acidity:


Resealing

To withstand the inside presure of 6 to 8 bars, sparkling wines have thicker bottles.

In addition they are corked with a mushroom shaped cork and a wire cage.

Bollinger Bollinger Bollinger

Bottle Aging

Aging refers to the changes in the wine after bottling. The acidity goes down and tertiary aromas develop (honey, peach, beeswax, mushroom, spice).


Traditional Method Wines

  • Champagne (France)
  • Crémant (France: Alsace, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, Savoie)
  • Cava (Spain)
  • Franciacorta DOCG (Lombardy/Italy)
  • Alta Langa DOCG (Piemonte/Italy)
  • Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico (Lombardy/Italy)
  • Trento DOC (Trentino/Italy)
  • Cap Classique (South Africa)

Vinification Sparkling

Wine Press Steel Tank Blending Bidule
Pressing1st FermentationBlending2nd Fermentation

Riddling Disgorage Dosage Champagne Bottles
RiddlingDisgorgementDosageAging

Champagne is fermented two times. Once in tanks. Once in the bottle.

Vinification White

Grape Crusher Wine Press Steel Tank Oak Barrels Whitewine Bottles
Crushed
for Must
Pressed
for Juice
Fermented
for Alcohol
Maturated
for Taste
Aged
for Taste

White wine is fermented WITHOUT the skins. The grapes are pressed BEFORE fermentation.

Vinification Red

Grape Crusher Oak Tank Wine Press Oak Barrels Bottles
Crushed
for must
Fermented
for alcohol
Pressed
for wine
Maturated
for taste
Aged
for taste

Red wine is fermented WITH the skins. The grapes are pressed AFTER fermentation.

Alcohol can be addictive. Drink in moderation.

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