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Crucial Dance in the Bottle -

the Art of Traditional Sparkling Wine
Usodni ples v steklenici - umetnost tradicionalnega penečega vina

In the world of viticulture, the production of classic sparkling wine is a special art that demands knowledge, experience, and patience. One of the crucial steps in creating sparkling wines using the traditional method, where the winemaker leaves their mark, is bottling. This phase significantly shapes the quality and character of the final product. Join us to peek into the fascinating world of bottling classic sparkling wines and add another piece to the mosaic of understanding how a drink is crafted to inspire you with elegance and sophistication.

Preparation of the base wine:

The journey begins with the preparation of the base wine, usually a blend of different grape varieties. This wine has already undergone primary fermentation, developing a basic harmony of flavors based on varietal characteristics. If the winemaker has done their job well, the wine is stabilized, filtered, contains an appropriate alcohol content, has a low pH, and is thus ready for the long secondary fermentation awaiting it in the bottle. The base wine at Medot is composed of different proportions of Rebula, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, and details can always be found in the technical sheets on our website.

Liqueur de Tirage:

To initiate secondary fermentation, a specially prepared mixture of wine, sugar, yeast, and yeast nutrients, called liqueur de tirage, is added to the base wine. This mixture is crucial for the birth of bubbles, giving the sparkling wine its effervescent character.

Secondary fermentation in the bottle:

The wine mixed with liqueur de tirage is bottled and sealed with an airtight crown cap. Yeasts in the wine then start fermenting the sugar, causing the formation of carbon dioxide (CO2). Since the bottles are securely sealed, CO2 cannot escape and remains dissolved in the wine, creating the desired bubbles. This process can take weeks or months, allowing the development of complex aromas and flavors. Temperature also plays a crucial role, as it should not be too high to prevent excessive yeast formation.

Aging on fine lees:

After completing secondary fermentation, the wine rests and ages on the sediment of fine lees, representing dead yeast cells. This prolonged contact contributes to the richness and creaminess of the flavor, adding additional layers of complexity to the sparkling wine.

In summary, it's crucial for the winemaker to prepare an excellent base wine and determine the drawing liquor. Then, everything else unfolds.

For Medot sparkling wines, the characteristic is a very long aging on fine lees, giving them a recognizable taste, complexity, and silky elegance. The youngest Medot Brut 48, matures in the bottle for at least four years, while vintage sparkling wines can go for seven years or more. The temporary crown cap carefully protects the content from the intrusion of oxygen until disgorgement, which is the concluding act of sparkling wine production in bottles. Read more about it on our blog.

Wine is a work of art!

Finally, a few words about the bottles themselves.

Strength and weight:
Bottles of classic sparkling wines are stronger and heavier because they must withstand high pressure due to the additional CO2 produced during fermentation.

Dark color:
The dark color of the glass protects the wine from the harmful effects of light, which could alter its quality.

Longer bottle neck:
Champagne and classic sparkling wine bottles usually have a longer and narrower neck than other types of bottles. This facilitates the disgorgement process, where residues of sediment caught in the neck of the bottle during the riddling process are removed.

Concave bottom:
The bottom of the bottle is usually concave, adding stability to the bottle and facilitating handling during the riddling process.

Bottle sizes:
Most sparkling wines ferment in two bottle sizes, standard bottles (0.75 liters) and magnums (1.5 liters). This is how we bottle them at Medot too. Generally, magnums are expected to be of higher quality, but they certainly develop different flavor harmonies. Read more about it on our blog.

Wine is a work of art!

Interesting fact: There are also larger bottles designed more for visual impact and special occasions, named after ancient Israeli kings and designed as multiples of the standard bottle - for example, Jeroboam (4 standard bottles / 3 liters), Methuselah (8 standard bottles / 6 liters), Salmanazar (12 standard bottles / 9 liters), Balthazar (16 standard bottles / 12 liters), or Nebuchadnezzar (20 standard bottles / 15 liters).

Bottling classic sparkling wine is a labor-intensive and precise process that requires skill and expertise. Each step contributes to the creation of a wine that captures the essence of the vineyard, grape varieties, and the winemaker's skills. When you enjoy a glass of carefully crafted classic sparkling wine, appreciate the journey it has taken from the vine to the bottle - a journey full of dedication, tradition, and commitment to creating a sparkling masterpiece.

Here's to the art of viticulture! Cheers!

Wine is a work of art!
Wine is a work of art!