This monthly Australia's BEST: 6 bottles only $3,600.00 each Order by Contact Us first order first serve.
Penfolds Grange 2002 Last but not least is Australia’s most famous wine, the 2002 Shiraz “Grange”. The 2002 version was sourced from 77.5% Barossa Valley and 22.5% from McLaren Vale. Included in the blen...
November 28th stock - The wines...
2001 Penfold's Grange (RP98) HK$36,720/cs "Australia's most famous wine... 100% Shiraz...It is a big, but impeccably well-balanced Shiraz that should shed some of its structure and tannin over the next 4-5 years, and be at its best between 2010-2030+." RP 2006
1990 Chateau d'Yquem (RP99) HK$25,650/cs of halves
"1990: An extraordinary effort...The wine is massive on the palate, with layers of intensely ripe botrytis-tinged, exceptionally sweet fruit. Surprisingly well-integrated acidity, and a seamless, full-bodied power and richness have created a wine of remarkable harmony and purity. Certainly it is one of the richest Yquems I have ever tasted, with 50-100 years of potential longevity. An awesome Yquem! Anticipated maturity: 2003-2050+." RP 1999
2001 Rene Engel Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (Burghound 92) HK$22,230/cs "Remarkably fine, elegant and pure black fruit aromas that now display a touch of secondary development contrast with big nicely focused and intense, earthy and round flavors that offer excellent length. This has come around quite nicely and has, for my taste, now arrived at its peak and is certainly approachable now with 30 minutes of air. A really lovely and utterly delicious effort - in sum, a Clos de Vougeot of finesse and elegance."BH 2012 drink now++ The wines by the case
Posted: 2009-07-24 09:54:23
Post subject : Methode Champenoise - The traditional way of making sparkling wine by Elmswood Estate Yarra Valley Vic Australia
Methode Champenoise would not be as we know it without the significant developments and improvements made by many others during the Nineteenth Century, including Jean-Antoine Chaptal (quantified the proper amount of sugar to set the alcoholic strength, c. 1801), Madame Nicole-Barbe Clicquot (inventor of riddling and dégorgement, c. 1810), Jules Guyot (pioneer of planting vines in rows, training vines onto trellises, and pruning methods, c. 1835) Adolphe Jacquesson (inventor of the muselet, the wire cage/metal cap contraption that retains sparkling wine corks, c. 1844), and more.
The traditional way of making sparkling wine begins with the grape harvest, which is always early in the season compared to the picking of still wines. Picking when sugars are relatively low keeps the alcohol low, since secondary fermentation will boost it later. Also, the youthful acids help to preserve the wine over the long course of its development. The grapes are pressed immediately, by-passing the crushing equipment, to avoid both oxidation and color in the wine.
Cuvée The initial fermentation takes place most often in stainless steel tanks, although many varieties of container, from concrete vats to redwood tanks, are used. After the usual period of three weeks or more, when all of the natural grape sugar has been converted to alcohol, the wine is "dry." While the wine rests in a cold environment, solids and particles settle to the bottom. The clear wine on top is then racked or siphoned off the murky lees. Sometimes it is aged in oak barrels during or after this clarification and racking. The new wine is quite weak in flavor, very tart and low in alcohol. It may then be blended with stocks of older wine saved from previous vintages, to keep a consistent "house" style, or cuvée.
At bottling, a small amount of sugar that has been dissolved in old wine, along with special yeast is added. This liqueur de tirage assures a uniform secondary fermentation in the bottles. Until the application of three scientific contributions, making sparkling wine could be more dangerous than making bombs. The proper amount of sugar to add for balanced wine was quantified by Jean-Antoine Chaptal in 1801; Pharmacist André François invented, in 1836, a way to measure the remaining amount of sugar in wine; and Pasteur explained the fermentation process in 1857.
En Tirage Some producers now insert a small plastic reservoir, called a bidule, which later aids in collecting and removing the sediment. After closing with cork-lined metal crown caps, the bottles are stored on their sides in cool cellars while the yeast ferments the sugar, boosting the alcohol and producing the bubbles of carbon dioxide. At this point, the wine is only half made, although the wine will become complete and reach the consumer in this very same bottle. The cuvée is now en tirage. This phase may span from two to several years. Meantime, the bottle stacks are observed for the inevitable breakage that occurs; flawed glass is sometimes unable to withstand the pressure that gradually increases to 100 pounds or more per square inch.
Remuage During the secondary fermentation, sediments form from dead yeast and solids left behind during the initial clarification procedures. Consolidating the sediments for removal is another long process, known as remuage. This sediment is very fine, sludgy and sticky. Removing it from the bottle, without removing the wine, is a problem. Getting it to collect in the neck, near the opening, is the first step. In 1805, Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin Clicquot, became a young widow and head of a major Champagne house. Seeking assistance from gravity, she cut holes in her kitchen table, in order to invert the bottles. She found that shaking helped loosen the sediments, although some still stuck to the bottle bottoms. In 1810, she employed Antoine Muller and he improved the procedure by beginning with the bottle at a 45° angle, gradually increasing the angle with each shaking, until the bottom was up, the neck straight down.
Traditionally, the bottles are placed at a forty-five degree angle, necks-down, in specially built "A-frame" racks, called pupitres. An experienced worker grabs the bottom of each bottle, giving it a small shake, an abrupt back and forth twist, and a slight increase in tilt, letting it drop back in the rack. This action, called riddling, recurs every one to three days over a period of several weeks. The shaking and twist is intended dislodge particles that have clung to the glass and prevent the sediments from caking in one spot; the tilt and drop encourage the particles, assisted by gravity, to move ever more downward; the time in between riddlings allows the particles to settle out of solution again.
Computer-automated machines called Gyropalettes accomplish the riddling chore in batches, using movable bins containing hundreds of bottles rather than by the individual bottle. Invented in Spain, they became common in all sparkling wine producing countries the late 1970s. This mechanization has meant saving time, space and production cost for the producers. Hand riddling requires a minimum of eight weeks to complete; gyropalettes finish the task in under ten days.
While automation means that a bit of the romance of wine is lost for consumers, this application of modern technology compensates by increasing product consistency from bottle to bottle. Production cost savings also has allowed the introduction of traditional method sparkling wines into the lower price end of the market where formerly only bulk produced wines competed.
Whether riddled by hand or machine, in the end, the bottles are standing nearly straight upside down, with the sediment now resting on the caps. Kept in this position, the bottles are transferred to bins where they are stored, necks down, until ready for shipping to market, at which time the sediment is removed, the contents are topped up and the sweetness adjusted, and the crown caps replaced with corks, wire hoods, and foils.
Dégorgement Removing the sediment from the bottles is a process called dégorgement, or disgorging. The bottle necks are dipped in a solution of freezing brine or glycol. This freezes a plug of wine and sediment in the top of the neck. Skilled workers then invert each bottle as they uncap it, releasing a small amount of wine as the plug of frozen sediment flies out. The bottle is then topped up with a dosage of reserve wine, sweetened to the right amount for the determined style, also known as the liqueur d'expedition. Modern bottling lines accomplish these tasks mechanically with amazing speed and precision. Méthode Champenoise takes normally from two to five years to complete, depending on the house style.
In addition to the normal smell and taste criteria of still wine, sparkling wine quality is judged by the size of the bubbles (smaller is better), their persistence (long-lasting is better) and their mouth feel (how well they are integrated into the wine and the relative smoothness or coarseness of their texture).
Check out the 2007 Methode Champenoise from Elmswood Estate using the traditional way of making sparkling wine is a real treat.
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