Before you accuse me of repeating myself… bear with me.
I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. And one of those “times” is when it comes to understanding the process of disgorging sparkling wine. In my defence, I think it’s because I’m more of a visual person. I need to see it before I can get my head around it.
If you’re like me, then you might also benefit from this pictorial explanation of a complicated process.
Before we begin…
Cast your mind back a couple of weeks when we chatted about the process of making sparkling wine.
In short, the steps are…
- Make the base wine
- Yeast and sugars added
- Secondary fermentation
We’ve already talked in detail about the riddling process. Here is a photo though of our Somerled sparkling in the ‘gyropalette’ – taking all the hard work out of slowly getting those dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle ready for disgorging.
The disgorging process in pictures (and a video)…
- The inverted bottles are put into a cooling bath. The temperature of the bath is around -26-27 degrees Celsius. Just the necks of the bottles are submerged for a couple of minutes – long enough for an ice plug of lees to form.
2. The crown seal is removed by a fancy machine. The pressure in the bottle shoots the frozen plug out of the bottle at high speed. The same machine then tops the bottle up with the “dosage”.
The thing I couldn’t get my head around here was how all the wine didn’t come out of the bottle with the plug. Take a look at this video of the fancy machine at work and you’ll see how quickly it all happens…
3. Once the bottles have been topped up to the correct amount, a closure is added to the bottle. Sometimes it’s a cork, but in our case, it’s another crown seal.
4. Any residual cooling bath solution is then washed off the bottle so it is ready for labeling.
Here is another video I found on YouTube thanks to www.BKWineTours.com which shows the process from start to finish in a little more detail…
Why are you telling me this now?
Well, it’s is particularly timely. Rob has just disgorged the final batch of our 2015 Sparkling. It has now been on lees for almost four and a half years and the flavour is (as always) amazing.
Why not come in for a glass this weekend?
Or buy a bottle to enjoy at home!
Good and bad news for Sparkling Shiraz fans…
If you have visited the cellar bar over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed that the 2014 Sparkling Shiraz is… gone!
Lucky for you (…and me) though, the 2016 is on its way! It was bottled about three months ago and will be ready for disgorging in a couple more. Unlike sparkling white, sparkling red does not benefit in any significant way from extended time on lees. That means we don’t have too long to wait at all.