CHAMPAGNE VS. SPARKLING WINE
All champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is champagne. There are two criteria for wine to be called champagne:
1) Secondary fermentation is done inside the bottle, which gives the wine bubbles.
2) The wine must be produced in the legally defined region of Northern France.
About our Sparkling Wine | Produced using Méthode Champenoise
Our sparkling wine is made from all estate-grown vinifera - Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
"Estate wines" are grown, produced,
and bottled on the winery premises.
Three Key Initial Steps:
1. Testing to make sure the grapes are ready
2. Hand-picking the grapes
3. Immediate pressing
Once the grapes have been deemed "ready" harvest begins and the grapes are immediately brought to the press. We do not store the grapes, or juice. This process continues until all the grapes are harvested and pressed and in tanks for fermentation to begin.
Grapes used for Sparkling Wine are the
first harvested from the vineyard.
Pressing the Grapes
After harvesting these three varietals we begin production by pressing the grapes gently using a bladder press, limiting the contact of the juice with the skins and stems of the grapes. We then collect the “cuvee” juice, the earliest juice out of the press, which is considered the best juice.
First Fermentation - Juice is pressed into a stainless steel tank where the initial fermentation occurs. This results in an acidic, dry wine. All of the natural sugar is consumed during this process, or “fermented out”.
"Assemblage" may occur at this stage. This is when
the juice from the three grape varietals is blended.
In some instances wine from a previous vintage is added
to provide richness and complexity to the final blend.
Secondary Fermentation - At this time, the blended wine is combined with “Liquor de Triage” a mixing of the wine, sugar, and yeast. This promotes the secondary fermentation. It is then bottled and topped with a “crow cap” (beer bottle cap). The bottles are then aged on their sides in a cool environment to slow the fermentation, creating smaller, finer bubbles.
Riddling & Aging
*These two steps are highly important and cannot be rushed.
Riddling - The process by which the sediment created during the fermentation process is collected at the tip of the bottle. We use a hand-crafted “riddling rack” in which the bottles are placed upside down and turned one quarter rotation daily for three to four weeks.
Aging - After riddling, the wine is stored inverted for a minimum of 24 months. Although “aging” occurs, there is very little change in the wine due to lack of oxygen present. This is a useful step, in that it allows for the sparkling wine to be safely stored prior to the final process making the wine ready for sale.
The Final Step - Disgorgement
This is the process in which the sediment is removed from the neck of the bottle. The cap of the bottle is submerged in a freezing brine solution. When the cap is removed, the frozen portion of sediment and one half to one ounce of wine is discarded. Immediately the wine is corked and ready for labeling. Our Sparkling Wine is disgorged, corked, and labeled by hand.
At this point the wine is ready for sale and immediate consumption.
We hope you enjoy our Sparkling Wine and find this informative.