This week, winemaker Morten Hallgren disgorged more Sparkling Brut — almost a decade after it was bottled.
Disgorging is the process whereby the yeasts in each bottle are removed. In the classic method used by Ravines, the bottles have been riddled to get the yeast and other sediments into the bottles’ necks; once the riddling process is complete, the necks are frozen and the plugs of ice containing the lees are removed (this is the actual disgorging process).
Once the bottles have been disgorged, a small amount of sugar is added to the wine before a cork is placed in each bottle. This process is called dosage, and is done to balance out the acidity of the wine rather than to add any sweetness.
The time between when a sparkling wine is bottled and when it is disgorged is called time en tirage. The longer a wine is en tirage, the finer the bubbles and foam will be, and the wine will develop more of the brioche taste and aroma that people associate with a brut sparkling. If a wine is disgorged early, it will be fruitier, with larger bubbles. (Morten likens these bubbles to those found in soda.)
The wine that was disgorged today has been en tirage for almost 8 years, having been bottled in May of 2007.