From the moment our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are brought into the winery, all procedures are carefully orchestrated to ensure pristine fruit condition and optimum flavor integrity. At every step of the winemaking process, we scrupulously keep individual vineyard lots separate for complete terroir transparency.
Every vintage our winemaking team shepherds up to 250 micro-cru fermentations, keeping individual vineyard blocks isolated and distinct throughout the process. Our facility was designed with abundant space to allow for the over-vintaging of all of our wines. This luxury of space allows us to house all the equipment and diversity of fermenter tanks necessary to give each varietal and micro-cru the precision treatment it requires. It also lets us take more time to fully settle our wines after fermentation, without rushing to free up space for new arrivals.
Domaine Serene’s extensive barrel program further supports our commitment to terroir transparency and the art of blending. We work with a variety of different French coopers to achieve stylistic diversity which supports our quality goals. We hand-select barrels representing a wide range of sizes, oak forests and toast levels, and are even working with coopers to create a series of custom barrels exclusive to Domaine Serene. Along with meticulous yeast selection and comprehensive micro-cru fermentation management, this intricate barrel program contributes yet another layer of complexity to our wines.
The art of blending is the hallmark of the Domaine Serene winemaking philosophy. Our winemaking team consistently tastes many different lots throughout the barrel-aging process to determine ideal blends for our sparkling wines. Meticulous blending from selected barrels allows our team to craft elegant, balanced and silky wines year after year.
5Tirage & Secondary Fermentation
It is at this stage that we add the Liqueur de Tirage - A solution of wine, sugar and yeast added to a bottle of still base wine to begin the traditional method of making Champagne, or méthode traditionnelle. The addition of the liqueur de tirage triggers the secondary fermentation which gives sparkling wine its bubbles.
After tirage, each individual wine is aged in the perfect environment until Ken, Grace and our winemakers are satisfied it is ready for the next step - Disgorgement. There is no set schedule based on commercial demands, and our sparkling wines are bottle-aged at the winery for a minimum of 4 years before we offer them for sale. Because of this cost intensive, disciplined approach, Domaine Serene wines are ready to drink upon release but will continue to reward additional aging.
In making sparkling wine, the process of moving the sediment remaining in the bottle from the second fermentation to rest in the neck of the bottle for easy removal. The process of riddling is part of the méthode traditionelle and was developed by Madame Clicquot (Veuve Clicquot) in the early 1800s to remove the cloudy lees from the bottles. The bottles are loaded in a horizontal position onto wooden racks called pupitres. At this point, the sediment rests on the side of the bottle. As the bottles are riddled, or given a sharp quarter-turn daily and gradually tilted upside-down, the sediment works its way to the bottle neck.
After the riddling process, when the sediment settles in the neck of the bottle, the neck is then dipped into a brine solution and frozen. Working quickly, the bottle is turned upright and the crown cap removed. The plug of frozen sediment is ejected by the pressure of the carbon dioxide. This is the final stage before the sparkling wines are given their liqueur d'expedition.
The liqueur d'expedition, also known as dosage, is a small amount of wine (usually mixed with sugar) that is added back to the bottle once the yeast sediment that collects in the neck of the bottle is disgorged. This not only tops up the wine, it also helps balance the acidity and add sweetness – depending on the style.
10Corking and Labeling
It is only at this stage, after four or more years, that the bottle of sparkling wine will be sealed with a cork and labeled for sale. The labor of love that is Méthode Champenoise is rewarded ten-fold in the elegance of the final product.