1900 presses are distributed throughout the vineyard, to minimize the time of transport of the grapes. No more than 25.50 hectoliters of must can be extracted from 4000 kg of grapes. The first 20.5 hectoliters of extracted must constitute the “Cuvée”, that is, the purest must, rich in sugar and acids (tartaric and malic). With the “Cuvée” the finest wines are elaborated, with subtle aromas and a good freshness in the mouth, also having better aptitude to age.
This first fermentation is usually done in stainless steel tanks. Under the action of the yeasts, the sugars in the juices are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide. But the yeasts also produce, throughout the fermentation, a large number of molecules, which will contribute to the aromas and flavor of the wine. This transformation lasts about 15 days and produces a strong rise in temperature (up to 18-20 ° C) which is very important to control and regulate.
It is made with Oenococcus type bacteria that transform malic acid into lactic acid. The main function of this fermentation is to reduce the acidity. It lasts between 4 and 6 weeks. The clarification is carried out by sedimentation, filtration or centrifugation. These wines are called “light wines” and are ready for assembly, also called “cuvée” in Champagne.
This is a key phase in the making of Champagne. We have to bear in mind that “clear wines” from different years, zones and vines can be combined to make a Champagne. The art of assembly consists in creating a wine that exceeds the sum of the base wines. The goal of the “Chef de Cave” is to conceive a unique Champagne that expresses the character of the cellar and be able to maintain it over time.
To make this fermentation is added liquor wine, called “tirage”. Within the bottle begins a second alcoholic fermentation, by the action of the yeasts that have just been sown. Yeasts consume sugar and release both alcohol and carbon dioxide. This carbonic gas, which is trapped in the bottle, is what gives rise to the bubbles of the sparkling wines.
This second fermentation must take place very slowly, this is fundamental for the quality of the future wine. The slower the second fermentation takes place, the smaller the bubblers will be and the higher the quality.
As the medium inside the bottle changes and the nutrients are depleted, the yeast dies. These dead yeasts are deposited in the bottom. The contact of the wine with these yeasts is very important, since the dead yeasts release nanoproteins, which give the wine very particular tastes and aromas.
The bottles are kept in the cellars for a minimum of 15 months horizontally. Later, the bottle stops from “asleep” to position “south pointe” (head down) so that the deposit falls towards the neck. For this, the “removed” is necessary to gather the sediments (dead yeasts) in the neck of the bottle in order to eliminate them in the disgorgement. This operation of “removed” consists of turning the bottle successively from right to left to go taking the deposit towards the neck. This operation is still done by hand. A professional “remover” will be able to handle around 40,000 bottles daily.
Once the previous process (which in the best cases can take a few years) is done an operation called degüello For this, the neck of the bottle is submerged in a solution at -27ºC, forming a cubit in the neck that imprisons the sediments . Then a machine pushes the provisional plug and the internal pressure allows to throw the ice cube losing the minimum of wine and pressure.
Dosaje corresponds to the addition of a small amount of liquor. It is the last touch that the “chef de cave” brings to the wine style.
Once introduced by compression into the neck of the bottle, the cap is covered with a plate and everything is fixed with a wire that holds the cork in place. The last stage before leaving is the dress of the bottle. In addition to the aluminum that covers the cap, a vitola, a label and a back label are added.