As we start to plan to tirage our 2019 Devote Sparkling Vermentino Méthode Traditionnelle, we decided to open the current 2017 Devote Sparkling Vermentino.
Michael and I started this journey in 2011, after sitting in the winery and looking at parcels of the 2011 Vermentino, we both thought it looked like the base of a great sparkling wine.
At that stage we had never tasted a sparkling vermentino, wasn’t sure if anyone in Australia was making one, but with the help with a fellow winemaking friend and great sparkling lover Sam Scott – Laprova Wines, we started the great painstaking journey into making sparkling wine. In the early years we worked together with Sam, tiraging our sparkling wines on the same day as to help with the labour of love.
This process is a labour of love, and a very timely and costly process, which we struggled with as a small winery.
Michael and I will start this process of the 2019 Sparkling Vermentino in the next few weeks and going forward we will only make our Sparkling on selected years.
If you would like to read further what is involved in the Méthode Traditionnelle process please read below.
Méthode Traditionnelle Sparkling
Méthode Traditionnelle Sparkling wine is made using the original methods developed in the Champagne region of France. These wines are known by the crystal like ultra – premium bubbles and are widely consumed for celebrations, to welcome in the New Year or just to enjoy accompanied with caviar and oysters.
All sparkling wines are started in the same way as making any white wine, although in some cases, fruit can be picked a little earlier to achieve lower sugar levels and higher acid. The wine can convert all sugars into alcohol which results in a base wine and awaits ready for secondary fermentation.
When ready to tirage we start our Pied De Cuvee solution process by rehydrating some yeast and adding a sugar solution and some base wine. For the next three days we continue to add daily small amounts of sugar solution and base wine to acclimatise the yeast. On day four we add the Pied De Cuvee (yeast, sugar, and wine) to our remaining base wine ready for Tiraging.
Day four is Tiraging day, we add our Pied De Cuvee into our base wine and some extra sugar solution and put in to bottles and cap off with a sparkling crown seal. During secondary fermentation, the carbon dioxide is trapped in the wine solution. The amount of sugar determines the pressure in the bottle which is usually around 18 grams of sugar which is around 600 kPa inside the bottle.
We leave these wines for 16 months to age on lees in the bottle before sending off to be riddled and disgorged. This is done off site as this is a crucial and important part of the process to ensure this is successful.
Off site these wines undergo a process known as riddling (remuage in French) bottles are placed on special racks called pupitres that hold them at a 35˚ angle with the crown seal pointed down. Once a day or every two days the bottles are given a slight shake and in turn this pushes the sediment towards the neck of the bottle. Manual riddling is still done in Prestige Cuvées in Champagne.
The lees removal process is called disgorging (dégorgement in French) where they freeze a small amount of liquid in the neck of the bottle and removing the plug of ice containing the lees.
Before wine has its final corking usually a dosage is added which is base wine mixed with sucrose (liqueur d’expédition) this is to balance out the high acidity of the sparkling. Champagne which has no added sugar is called nature or zero dosage which is how we produce our Sparkling Vermentino Méthode Traditionnelle.
This process is very labour- intensive production method that produces extremely fine bubbles and worth every second of your time.