The Birth of The Fine Bubbles

There’s great excitement in the vineyard this week!

The last of this year’s grape harvest is ready for gathering and it’s also time to bottle last year’s vintage of rosé wine and start it on its way to becoming “Les Fines Bulles”….”The Fine Bubbles!”

Busy days.

Early this morning Alain Beteau arrived with one of his portable bottling plants, built into the back of a medium sized lorry. Alain has four of these vehicles and he serves various vineyards in the Pays de Loire around Nantes and Ancenis. His business saves the yards from having to purchase and maintain their own bottling equipment, which for a smaller producer could be a significant cost.

Today it’s the turn of Pierre-Yves to see his lovely “Murmure” rosé receive its initial bottling and start the “Method Traditionnelle” that will turn it into a wonderful vibrant sparkling wine, “Avec les fines bulles.”

Pierre-Yves keeping an eye on things.

In essence and to greatly simplify it, the wine is bottled into traditional “champagne” style bottles along with yeast and a small amount of sugar, called the “liqueur de tirage.”

It is then stopped with a metal crown cap and returned to the wine cellar to lie horizontally for a second fermentation lasting around 15 months.

After this time, the lees or sediment must be consolidated for removal. The bottles undergo a process known as “remuage,” I think the English translation of “riddling” doesn’t quite hit the mark though! Traditionally this is carried out in special racks that invert the bottle causing the lees to settle in the extreme neck of the bottle.

The lees removal process is called dégorgement, traditionally a skilled manual process where the crown cap and sediment are removed without losing much of the liquid. Modern automated disgorgement is done by freezing a small amount of the liquid in the neck of the bottle and removing this plug of ice containing the lees, before finally adding a small amount of sugar and adding the final traditional “Champagne” type cork….and then waiting another year before it’s ready!

Off to rest for a couple of years!

This “Domaine” is a family concern where passion for the vine and it’s produce has always been central to the family. They have been here a a long time too, since 1635, so I think that by now they really know what they are doing!.

Catch you soon

Dookes

4 thoughts on “The Birth of The Fine Bubbles

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