By Enologist Michelle Zentmyer Moss
“And what if we’re just bubbles in a dream
Dreaming up more bubbles as we breathe…”Bubbles…by Akira Chinen
There is something so uplifting about drinking sparkling wine. This type of wine is often used to celebrate an achievement, birthday, milestone and many other occasions. It is my pleasure to announce that Le Vigne is now making an estate sparkling wine!
The first fruit harvested in 2020 from our estate was a small amount of Sangiovese from our Acquarello vineyard. This fruit was intentionally picked with high acidity and low sugar, the ideal composition for making a traditional Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine. The grapes were delicately pressed and the juice was separated from the seeds, stems and skins immediately upon arrival to the winery. Winemaker Terry selected a suitable sparkling wine yeast to complete the alcoholic fermentation. This month, we moved on to the next exciting step: the in-bottle, second alcoholic fermentation!
For Méthode Champenoise, a sugar/yeast slurry called tirage was added to the base wine immediately before bottling. The wine was bottled and stoppered with a crown cap then methodically placed in wooden crates for several months. In the bottle, the yeast convert sugar into alcohol, a little bit of heat, and those teeny tiny CO2 bubbles we know and love in sparkling wine.
Part of the process of sparkling wine production involves riddling. For our sparkling wine, the bottles are loaded into specialized racks that rotate and tilt. With the assistance of gravity, the sediment that forms during fermentation will at the top at the cap.
Starting at about month four of being in the bottle, a bottle or two will be opened for the winemaking team to taste and track the wine’s progress. Once it is determined that the wine is ready, the necks of each bottle are frozen to remove the sediment in a process called disgorgement. A small volume of wine, called dosage, is added to replace this lost volume. The cork, cage and label are placed, then we will be ready to pop bottles with you!
The wine will be near colorless and crystal clear with a traditional méthod champanois toasted brioche characteristic, along with the other delicate flavors and aromas that the sangiovese grapes have to offer. We look forward to the great wine, gourmet food pairings and good conversation that this wine is sure to bring. And to harvesting the Sangiovese grapes for the 2021 vintage of this wine, which is just around the corner!