Guest Blog from Sparkling Winemaker, Dave Hickey: Croissant. Mademoiselle. La Tour Eiffel.

Le RemueurIn the world of winemaking there is a constant evolution of ideas of how to make a better wine. For the winemaker this means that he may have to set up various experiments that may take many months, or even years to give him the results that he is looking for.

But every once in a while an idea comes around that is just obviously the right thing to do. One of those ideas was “riddling.” For sparkling wine that is produced in the traditional method of Champagne, riddling is the process of maneuvering the yeast sediment in the bottle so that it can be removed and leave behind a clean, clear wine. These days we take that for granted, but in the early days of sparkling winemaking the wines were all very hazy with a heavy yeast impact. In the early 1800’s Madame Veuve Clicquot came up with the idea of a table with holes in it to hold bottles with the cork down. Once a day the bottles would be gently turned and given a slight tap so that in a few weeks all of the yeast was down on the cork. The bottle could then be opened (disgorged) to expel the yeast leaving behind brilliantly clear wine! Put in a new cork, install a new wire cage and the wine is ready for market.

Unlike many ideas that come and go, that idea is here to stay.

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