The traditional method is more an art than a way of production and it offers the possibility to produce high quality sparkling wines. Its strengths lay in the slow fermentation in the bottle and in the long ageing on the yeast. The time gets measured in years, not in months as other methods.
The processing includes important elements, which are handled in the minutest of details.
The harvest is a moment full of fascination and happiness, you can feel passion and bliss and everyone is proud to have achieved something so complex and labour intensive.
Every single vineyard has to be harvested in a different time period, which gets defined through the daily grape analysis. Therefore timing and speed assume very important roles.
Then follows the pressing of whole clusters. This gentle way of pressing is a special enological technique to obtain the most precious part of the must in a very gentle way.
The obtained must fills special stainless steel tanks where the fermentation is started. Now the wine lays on the yeast until June, the tirage then begins.
Stainless steel tanks are used in the winemaking
During the tirage selected yeasts and sugar are added to the cuvée. Bottles are then filled, followed by careful temperature controlled ageing at 11-12° C.
Thereafter a second slow fermentation in the bottle gets started, during which the produced carbon dioxide which has no way out, dissolves into the wine and gives it its characteristic bubbles. The slowness of this process is decisive for the final quality of our premium product.
Stacking the bottles
The ageing is an essential component of the traditional method. The organoleptic combinations with the yeast get released, then stall after fermentation and emit little by little the enriched and refined agents.
To improve this process the racks, also called pupitres, are rearranged every year, consequently the bottles are shaken regularly and the yeasts intermingle again.
The longer the wine lays on the yeast, the more intensive the flavors unfold.
During the process of disgorging a small amount of the liquid in the neck gets frozen and this plug of ice containing the lees gets carefully removed. In the past this process was a skilled manual process.
During disgorging a small amount of sparkling wine gets lost and therefore the liquid level is topped up with liqueur d’expédition, commonly a little sugar, a practice known as dosage. The amount of sugar in the liqueur d’expédition determines the sweetness of the sparkling wine. Wines called zéro-dosage will have no sugar added and have a residual sugar content of less than 3 g/l.
Now the bottles are labeled and packed and after a short break, ready for sale and enjoyment.