Once the "sparkling" wine has undergone secondary fermentation and the winemaker determines that it is appropriately balanced, it's time to begin the preparatory process of lees removal. Lees are the deposits of residual yeast, or sediment left inside the length of the bottle. In order to displace the sediment and move it into the neck of the bottle, the bottles must undergo a process known as riddling. During this stage, the bottles are placed inside metal cages, These cages are then attached to the arms of a riddling rack.
The process of riddling proceeds by carefully orchestrated rotations of the bottle, right and left, a quarter of a turn, an eighth of a turn or a sixteenth of a turn. The angle of the bottle is altered to point the bottle neck down, allowing the sediment to settle into the bidule [small hollow cap] inserted into the top of each bottle. The riddling process takes approximately 10 to 14 days, and is critical for obtaining a perfectly clear wine.
Once the process is complete and the sparkling wine clear, the lees is removed through disgorging. Bottles are placed onto the disgorging line, neck down, and as the neck of the bottle moves upward, the crown cap is removed. Under pressure, the accumulated sediment is forced out of the top of the bottle. If the bottle is turned upwards too soon, the sediment will mix back into the wine and make the wine cloudy, necessitating that the bottle be placed back into one of the cages and riddled again. If the bottle is not angled correctly, a significant amount of wine will be lost.
Immediately after disgorging, but before the cord is inserted, the liquid level is topped with a mixure of sugar and wine, known as dosage. The winemaker determines this mixture, and each dosage is tailored to the specific vintage. Once the dosage is added, the cork is inserted, followed by the wire cage and, a foil hood. Your méthode champenoise sparkling wine is ready for you to chill, pour, share and enjoy. Stop by the cellar door and sample our Serendipity sparkling wine--crisp, clear and beautiful.
Check out the disgorging link: https://www.facebook.com/NostraVitaWinery/videos/321768625399944/