I read a great page on making champagne but cant find it. However this is pretty good for the basics of riddling and disgorgement.
After the second fermentation, champagnes are aged on the yeast for up to four years, depending on the cuvée style. The bottles are arranged in special automated racks for the process of riddling, or remuage, which brings the dead yeast down to the necks of the bottles so that it can be removed.
In the past, riddling was done by hand at wineries -- a costly, time-consuming method that left the champagne's quality vulnerable to the imprecision of the human hand. During riddling, the bottles were slowly tipped down to a vertical position over a period of four to five weeks and slightly turned once each day to work the sediment down to the cap.
In 1966, Adolf Heck invented and patented the first automatic riddling machine. and today the winery has a highly specialized riddling, bottling and packaging production flow that produces a champagne of consistent high quality. At the winery, the bottled cuvées are placed upside down in shipping cases that are arranged on automatic riddling racks. These racks gently vibrate the bottles in their cases for one hour, four times a day. During this period of vibration, the cases are gently rocked every two minutes, which eventually works the yeast down into the neck of the bottle. Thus, the process of riddling is carried out with great precision and consistent quality is ensured.
Disgorging, Dosaging and Finishing
After riddling, the bottles are delicately dipped; neck down, into a brine solution at zero degrees. This freezes the dead yeast into a plug. The bottles are placed upright and their temporary caps are removed. The pressure in the bottle is just enough to push out the yeast plug without losing any significant amount of champagne.
A mixture of sugar and wine is added - liqueur d'expédition -to replace liquid lost during disgorging and bring the sweetness of the Korbel champagne up to a desired level
You can play with a brine solution (salt and water) to get it down to 0F (-17C) it is possible to do this. I have tried the disgorgement with a beer bottle that had a lot of yeast in it. It worked really well.
While not a recipe you will need these techniques as well.
(Note: I am only posting on this thread because I can't seem to get a new thread started. Tech problems or something?)
I have 7 gallons of a nice white wine that I have yet to bottle, from this year's harvest. It is fully fermented to dryness.
When I made the wine, before I added the yeast to the must, I collected a gallon of unfermented juice, and canned it in mason jars using a boiling water bath. I want to use this juice to re-sweeten the wine now that it is done.
My goal is to make the wine sparkling, by bottle-conditioning it. For obvious reasons, this could prove to be tricky. I want the yeast to consume enough sugar to carbonate the wine in the bottle, but not so much that the wine flavor drys up and (even worse!) over-pressurizes, making bottle bombs which can be very dangerous.
Here is my theory on how to do this. Please let me know what you think:
1) Open the sweet juice and add yeast to start it fermenting. Once fermentation has started in a day or so, get ready to bottle the wine.
2) Add extra sulfite and sorbate to the finished wine.
3) Add sorbate to the fermenting juice. (Because sorbate doesn't kill yeast, but only prevents them from reproducing, fermentation should continue)
4) Mix together the finished wine and the fermenting wine. (Because there is a critical mass of yeast, they shouldn't be immediately killed by the SO2 concentrations in the finished wine). Bottle and cork.
5) Allow to bottle condition for an hour or two, for carbonation. Refrigerate. Hopefully the cold temperature will force the yeast to flocculate and settle to the bottom.
6) Use the Method Champenoise to remove the yeast deposit. (This an entire post in itself! Does anyone have experience with it?) Slowly turn the bottles upside down while rotating them over the course of several weeks. Once all of the lease have settled in the tip of the bottle neck, freeze the neck only, and remove the frozen yeast deposit, quickly re-corking the bottle to prevent any loss of carbonation.
Hopefully the finished product will be stable enough to store and age at cellar temperature, without a renewed fermentation.
What do you think? Will this work? Will it even carbonate the wine? Or am I just describing a complicated way to land myself in the hospital from exploding bottles?