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***Nerd alert*** The technical side of methode traditionnelle sparkling wine.

This week we are disgorging the latest batch of our much beloved Nautilus Cuvee. Disgorging is the last step in the process to prepare the wine for release and this particular batch was blended & bottled (“tiraged” is the technical term) in 2009. The wine is a blend based principally on the 2009 vintage with a small amount of older reserve wine to give additional complexity and palate weight. Just prior to bottling a small amount of yeast and sugar is added and a crown seal applied. The wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle – putting the ‘fizz’ into the fizz. We then age the wine for a minimum of 3 years (in this case just over 3.5 years) before disgorging. This is quite a long time for an NV wine and is one of the critical factors why Nautilus Cuvee tastes so good – contributing delicious biscuity/mealy flavours. But back to this week’s activity – disgorging.

Disgorging itself is a multistep process

  1. Riddling – gradually turning & inverting the bottle so that the yeast sediment ends up in the neck

  2. Disgorging – the inverted bottle is put in a neck freezer which encapsulates the yeast sediment in ice. The bottle can then be returned to the upright position and removing the crown seal results in the plug of ice ‘popping’ out of the bottle leaving the clear wine behind.

  3. Liqueur addition & topping. A small amount of ‘liqueur’ is added – a syrup made from reserve wine & sugar that brings the wine into balance

  4. Corking, wiring & labelling – dressing up the bottle ready for release

Once disgorging is complete the wine is technically ready for sale – but we prefer to age the wine for a further 3-6 months to allow it to settle before we despatch it. So all in all making a serious wine in the style of Champagne is quite a complex and time-consuming process! That is why you will always pay a little bit more for a quality methode traditionnelle sparkling wine. We have been making Nautilus Cuvee now since 1991 and our wine has always been based on a Pinot Noir dominate blend with a low dosage making it rich & dry in style. We have had great success in the last 12 months with our ‘08’ tirage blend and we have every confidence that the ‘09’ tirage will be just as successful. For this new batch we have included the bottling and disgorging dates on the back label so you will know which batch you are drinking.


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