Classic Method

It was developed in Northern France
during the 17th Century.

This technique is particularly appropriate for non-aromatic vine varieties since the aromatic complexity that characterizes a Classic Method sparkling wine is given by the long aging in the bottle with its own yeasts. Consequently, other characters are intensified, i.e. those related to aging, to the detriment of the primary ones that during this phase of "rest" are partially lost.

Stages of the process:

Obtaining the base wine

The Classic Method, as the Methode Ancestrale and the Charmat Method obtain the base wine with the exact same care. Here again, unlike the Ancestral Method, the base wine will be dry, leaving no residual sugar.

Base wines blending

also called cuvée (the term means "mixture"), the blending phase consists in a wise mixture of several grape varieties and vineyards derived from different years’ worth of vintages, which eventually define the winery’s unique style.

Tirage and bottling

unlike the Methode Ancestrale in which the residual sugars of the first fermentation are necessary for the secondary fermentation, the Traditional or "Champagne method" wine is put in bottles along with yeast and a small amount of sugar, called the liqueur de tirage. The sparkling base wine will then be bottled with a value of about 24g / L of sugar, stopped with a crown cap and stored for a second fermentation.

Formation of bubbles and aging on lees:

the secondary fermentation is the process that gives the wine its characteristic “bubbles”. The bottles are stored horizontally, in order to have as much surface as possible between liquid and yeast, in cellars with constant temperature and humidity (11-13 ° C). After the secondary fermentation is completed, the hydrolytic enzymes will continue to work (even for years), degrading gradually all the yeast cells and giving the wine a complex sensorial profile.

Remuage and disgorging:

after ageing, the bottles undergo a process known as riddling (Remuage in French). The lees must be consolidated for removal and the bottles are placed on special racks called pupitres. Once a day, the bottles are given a slight shake and turn (at a 45° angle) causing a slight tap, pushing sediments toward the neck of the bottle within 1-2 months; at the end of this phase, the position of the bottle is straight down, and this process is called Remuage. The lees removal process is called disgorging, consisting in a manual process where the crown cap and lees are removed.

Dosage and corking:

immediately after disgorging but before final corking, the liquid level is topped up with liqueur d’expédition, commonly sugar, for which every producer claims its own recipe. During this process, the producer gives a characteristic “mark” to its own sparkling wine, which will possess a taste and a bouquet different from all the other sparkling wines. After all the above-mentioned procedures, the bottle is sealed with a cork to guarantee the elasticity and the firmness.
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