Sparkling wine for Cantina PrimaVena is Traditional Method, because only with the Traditional Method we can enhance the organoleptic qualities of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The Traditional Method includes daily manual work and years of dedication.
Time is fundamental, because only with a long aging in bottle, we can have elegant sparkling wines with finest bubbles and complex tertiary scents. Indeed, Cantina PrimaVena sparkling wines are aged in bottle for a minimum of 36 months and up to 15 years for some vintages.
The natural acidity of the grapes is the main element that allows us a long aging.
A glass of Cantina PrimaVena sparkling wine encloses the intrinsic characteristics of the territory, the organoleptic qualities and the daily handcrafted work.
When you taste a glass of Cantina PrimaVena sparkling wine we will take you to our house, where you will inebriate yourself by the genuine and elegant scents of our land: Oltrepò Pavese.
The harvest season is short but intense, in fact it lasts about three weeks. It is short, because the ripening phase of the grapes has a narrow window. It is intense, because Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reach ripening almost simultaneously, so the days for harvesting are excited.
To obtain fine wines and sparkling wines, the grapes must arrive intact in the cellar, so the harvest is manual.
In addition, harvesting takes place in the cooler hours, so as to avoid the start of undesirable fermentations and attacks of micro-organisms.
Immediately after harvesting, the grapes are brought to the cellar for pressing. The pressing of whole bunches must be sweet and gradual, so as to extract a rich free-run must in primary aromas.
In addition, the yield of the must is very low, so as to obtain an analytical profile marked by sugars, tartaric acid and malic acid.
All of these things together are essential to create wines of great finesse with elegant aromas, good freshness on the palate and aptitude for aging.
The musts must be clear making fruity and frank wines, so all undesirable substances must be eliminated by the clarification, which consists of a decanting of the musts.
During the first hours, thanks to the natural enzymes present in the must, some flakes are formed that settle at the bottom of the tank, while other particles (fragments of peel and grape seeds) remain in suspension in the liquid.
After 12-24 hours, when the microbial flora decreases, we translate the clear must into thermo-conditioned steel vats, and we start with the first stages of winemaking.
The first fermentation of Traditional Method sparkling wines is alcoholic fermentation, it means the natural transformation of must into wine. Alcoholic fermentation is a complex chemical process, which develops in over thirty reactions caused by yeast enzymes.
In brief, the yeasts “eat” the sugars present in the must and they transform them into alcohol, carbon dioxide and other substances. The latter are essential to the development of the aromatic and taste qualities of each wine and they depend on alcoholic fermentation.
In fact, depending on how the alcoholic fermentation was carried out, these secondary substances can refine or deteriorate and thus they determine the qualities of the wine.
LIQUEUR DE TIRAGE
To restart the second fermentation in the bottle, in April, we add to the basic wines the liqueur de tirage. This is a mixture composed of brown sugar, yeasts in culture and mineral substances, which is first dissolved in a little wine and then inoculated.
The choice of yeasts is essential to obtain a quality sparkling wine, because the yeasts must guarantee on the one hand the formation of bubbles on the other the development of the natural qualities of the vines.
Then, the bottles are filled, hermetically sealed with “bidule” and crown cap, finally they are brought to the cellar and stacked.
In the stacked bottles “sur lattes”, it means the bottle are lying down and stacked row by row, the fermentation takes place with the second fermentation. For a slow and correct fermentation, it is essential that in the cellar the certain requirements are complied with.
First of all, the temperature (about 12°) must be constant, then the humidity level must be constant and adequate, finally the light must be absent. During the second fermentation in the bottle, the yeasts gradually “eat” the sugars and they transform them into alcohol, carbon dioxide, esters and alcohols, which contribute to defining the sensory characteristics of the wine.
The fermentation ends about two months when the pressure in the bottle reaches about 6 atmospheres.
AGING ON YEAST
At the end of the fermentation, we move on to the aging phase, that is, we leave the bottles to ripen on the yeasts. During aging, which can last several years, different chemical reactions take place that give richness and complexity to the sparkling wine. Specifically, autolysis is the chemical phenomenon that determines the tertiary aromas of a sparkling wine. Autolysis occurs slowly and progressively, when yeast cells die and then breaking cells release their aromatic substances into the wine.
Over the years, we periodically recompose the stacks and shake the bottles, to favor the interaction between the wine and the aromatic substances of the yeasts and to prevent the lees (deposit of dead yeast) adheres to the walls of the bottle.
Once the ripening phase is over, we must separate the wine from the deposit of dead yeast inside the bottle with a series of particular shaking and movements of the bottle. Once the ripening phase is over, we must separate the wine from the deposit of dead yeast inside the bottle with a series of particular shaking and movements of the bottle. First of all, we take the bottles from the pile and we insert them in an oblique position in the holes of a particular wooden easel that is called pupitre.
Then, we shake, we rotate turn ¼ and we progressively bring the bottles from horizontal to vertical position, until the deposit of dead yeast is collected in the “bidule”.
To make the deposit of dead yeast arrive in the hollow cap, therefore in the “bidule”, each bottle is manipulated for at least four weeks.
Finally, we store the bottles in baskets upside down.
At this point, the bottles are stored at upside down and they are ready to be released from the sediment collected under the cap. The technique used to expel the sediment is called disgorgement and it can be performed “à la glace” or “à la volée”.
In the “à la glace” technique, we immerse the neck of the bottle in a nitrogen solution at about -27°, so that the part of wine containing the lees, under the cap, freezes. Then, we proceed to mechanical uncorking, then remove the crown cap and as a result of the pressure also comes out the popsicle with the lees.
In the dégorgement “à la volée” we uncork the upside-down bottle and we straighten it quickly and at the right time, that is, we leave time to the pressure to expel the deposit but avoid losing too much wine.
After disgorging we check the brilliance and purity of the sparkling wine and then we proceed with the next stage, that is, with the dosage (liqueur d’expédition). So, we compensate for the small amount of lost wine, during disgorging, with the liqueur d’expédition. The composition of the dosage is a secret “recipe” of each winery and it is the final touch of the winemaker to give a certain style to the sparkling wine.
Our liqueur is genuine, because it is made from wine, that is taken from a bottle of the same batch. This “recipe” of only wine enhances the vintage and makes the organoleptic qualities of the grapes stand out as much as possible.
Immediately after the dosage we cap the bottle with the cork and stop it with the metal cage. The quality of the cap is essential to preserve in the best way the integrity of the sparkling wine and to avoid annoying alterations in the real taste of the wine. For example, among the best known is the hint of cap due to trichloroanisol (TCA).
To allow a perfect amalgam between sparkling wine and dosage, the bottles are stirred vigorously (poignettage) and stored in the cellar for a few months.
At this stage, we proceed with the last visual check (mirage) to check the clarity of the sparkling wine. If the latter exam is passed, the sparkling wine may be passed to the packaging.
Then, on each bottle we place the capsule on top of the metal cage, the collar under the capsule and finally the label.
Then, we bring the bottles back to the cellar for about fifteen days, so as to give time to the sparkling wine to recover after the latest processing.
After the rest time, the bottles of sparkling wine are definitely ready to be tasted.
OUR YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Dègorgement à la volèe.