THE TRADITIONAL METHOD
A story of terroir, finesse, complexity and patience.
When we talk about "traditional method", we talk about the same way that the great Champagne wines are produced; with a second fermentation that is happening inside the bottle.
Only with the traditional method, where the yeasts stay inside the bottle for a prolonged period of time, we can obtain sparkling wines that are richer and more complex. In fact, during this long ageing, the dead yeast cells are constantly giving to the wine extra aromas and making them smoother, creamier, and more elegant.
By many described as "the most difficult wine production method", the traditional method reserves endless mysteries and necessites an immense knowledge about all the different factors that influence the unique characteristics of every single bottle, because indeed, every single bottle is unique.
While for the majority of wines, success is achieved after the first alcoholic fermentation, where the yeasts consume the grapes' sugar and transform it into alcohol and carbon dioxide, we as sparkling wine producers, decide to re-do this "dangerous" process, by bottling the so called "base wine" with extra sugar and yeasts.
During the first alcoholic fermentation, there are no shortcuts and everything has to begin with the healthiest grapes. After that, good-sense, care and enological know-how do the rest. Cooled-down grapes are pressed gently without destemming and after grape juice sedimentation, fermentation is carried out at controlled temperature. Few enological products are used and the biological protocols and regulations are strictly followed. After the fermentation is completed, then we give the wines time to rest by executing weekly bâtonnage for a period of 6 months, and once the temperatures start to rise in spring, we bottle them for the second fermentation. At this point, it's like having thousands of small fermenting tanks.
Once the secondary fermentation is completed, a true game of waiting and patience starts. Ageing begins.
The sparkling wines start to develop and according to the style and variety, the waiting period before disgorging can be shorter or longer and the disgorging day is established by tasting the wines regularly. There is no standard ageing period. The wines dictate it to us. They are the leaders. We just have to listen to them.
When the right moment arrives, we position the bottles in the so called "pupitres" and we riddle every single bottle by hand in order to guide the yeast sediment to the bottle-neck.
At this point, the bottles are ready for disgorging.
We freeze the bottle-neck at -27ºC and then the frozen plug (containing the dead yeast sediment) gets expelled. Every single bottle receives the so-called "liquer de expedition" and is toped-up to reach the final volume. The bottle is then corked, the wire-hood is added and the disgorged wine undergoes a final resting period of at least 3 months in the cellar before it is released to the market: it is indeed a game of patience.
AT MILIA RIZA
Organic grapes | Manual harvest | Low sugar content | High acidity | Balance | Cooling chamber | Whole-bunch pressing
AGEING ON THE LEES
Ageing | Tasting | Ageing | Tasting | Ageing | Patience
By hand | Skilled operator | Expulsion of the frozen plug
Fermentation at controlled temperature
"Pupitres" | Daily turning | 1-month-job | 25 turns per bottle
Minimal intervention | Respect | No "artifical foam improvers"
BOTTLING FOR 2ND FERMENTATION
Addition of "Liquer de Tirage" (mix of sugar + yeast) | Bottling | Creation of bubbles by the 2nd fermentation
-27ºC | Sediments become a frozen plug
Cork | Wire-hood | Label | Capsule | Box