Sampling Sainte Rose Sparkling!
We tasted early samples of our Sainte Rose Sparkling Chardonnay last week! Having hand-picked our Chardonnay in August and carefully monitored the primary fermentation, we then in November sent 14 hectolitres of this 'base' wine to a local specialist whom we have contracted to create the 'bubbles'! They will transform our still, base wine into sparkling using the traditional method, as discovered and documented by Christopher Merret in his paper to the Royal Society in London in 1662. This involves bottling the wine and adding yeast to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The wine then ages on its lees for at least 9 months before being riddled, disgorged and returned to us at the Domaine ready to drink!
Anyway because this is the first time we are making sparkling wine we are super keen and want to watch and taste its development throughout the entire process! At this stage, given the cold temperatures and the short period of time since inoculation with yeast, the secondary fermentation has not yet finished, but reassuringly for us we could still taste the wonderful fruit flavours of the Chardonnay and sense the structure and acidity, which will set it up nicely for the next few months of ageing.
We will re-taste in May/June and probably have bottles labelled and ready to drink in September. Until then we (and you!) will have to be patient, making sparkling wine is certainly a longer and more complicated process than making still!