The Art of Sparkling Wine

We are thrilled to announce that after over five years of fermentation and aging, the 2011 Ram’s Gate Blanc de Noirs and Brut Rosé are ready to be released!

Ram's Gate Estate Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine

Our patience has rewarded us with two very special wines: both 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir made in the méthode traditionnelle, yet two unique expressions of the grape due to varying amounts of skin contact.

Ram's Gate Brut Rose Sparkling Wine

Talking about sparkling wines, particularly the méthode traditionnelle process, seems to dive us into a whole new language — even beyond the French words used. So, for those both loquacious and scientifically inclined, we present to you the sparkling winemaking process, broken down by vocabulary words:

  • Méthode Champenoise or méthode traditionnelle, the Champagne Method or “traditional method” of making sparkling wine, signifies that the wine’s bubbles result from secondary fermentation taking place inside the bottle rather than in tank.
  • Sparkling wine craftsmanship begins with Primary Fermentation, the conversion of yeast and grape sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This typically takes place within open-top fermenters, to allow the CO2 to dissipate into the air.
  • For méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines, the still wines are then bottled with a small amount of additional yeast and sugar in order to catalyze a Secondary Fermentation within the bottle. Each bottle is topped with a bottle cap, capturing the carbon dioxide with the bottle, resulting in the thousands of tiny bubbles in every glass of sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine bottles are first capped with a traditional bottle cap before disgorgement, capturing the bubbles inside the bottle.
Sparkling wine bottles are first capped with a traditional bottle cap before disgorgement, capturing the bubbles inside the bottle.
  • During and after secondary fermentation, the wines age on tirage, anywhere from 18 months to 10+ years, allowing the wine to develop complexity through autolysis, or the breakdown of yeast, which produces creamy, brioche-like aromas.
  • Riddling and disgorgement are the next steps in sparkling winemaking: riddling refers to the bottles being tipped back and forth on a special rack, moving the yeast throughout the bottle to create that beautiful brioche flavor.
Riddling
The “old-school” way: riddling each bottle by hand

 

Modern riddling racks // Photo courtesy of Rack & Riddle
  • Before the wine is finished, the bottles are stored at an angle, top-down, to gather the yeast into the neck of the bottle. Disgorgement is the point at which the mouth of the bottle is flash-frozen and uncapped, popping out the frozen cap.
  • The sparkling wines are then corked and covered with a Muselet, the wire cage keeping the cork in place until its destined moment of celebration.

 

To secure the 2011 Ram’s Gate Blanc de Noirs and 2011 Ram’s Gate Brut Rosé, contact the Ram’s Gate Winery team at concierge@ramsgatewinery.com

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