DRINK – Why Is This Bottle of Bubbly Upside Down in Water?


Wine & Spirits magazine throws one heck of a party.  The annual “Top 100 Wines” soiree was on Wednesday night in San Francisco.  You do not want to miss it.  Quite simply, where else are you going to taste a 1988 Veuve Cliquot Champagne, Shafer’s Hillside Select or see a bottle of bubbly opened and disgorged under water.

That’s right.  Not just opening the bottle.  Disgorging it too (expelling the yeast sediment), all under water, right before you drink it.

Movia is a winery in Slovenia, — gaining more and more media attention, and not just from Wine & Spirits. [profile in Food & Wine] Movia brought their 2002 “Puro” rose sparkling wine to show along with the top rated Ribolla, a varietal common to Slovenia. Puro stole the show.

The bottle is turned upside down, and the neck submerged in water.  The cage is removed.  After a few minutes, the pressure builds up, and all of a sudden, the cork pops out, along with the yeast plug.  It’s really quite amazing.  The wine is ready to pour and enjoy.

Notice the cork pops out on its own.  I’ve seen other videos of Puro where someone twists the cork out of the bottle, still under water.

Why do they do this?  I was told the wine tastes fresher, a little more creamy due to the extra time spent on the yeast lees (sur lie).  Movia also feels that disgorging at time of corking versus right before opening the bottle to drink robs the wine of rich flavor.

Sure enough, the wine is clear and yeast sediment free.  No complaints on the taste, it’s a mighty fine sparkler.

Give it a try?  You can find Movia sparkling rose online, prices I’ve seen are in the $39-$49 range.

Disgorging is the step, in making Champagne, or sparkling wine the traditional way, where yeast sediment is removed just before corking, putting the cage on and wrapping the neck in foil.  The yeast is captured in a small plastic cup that’s right under the crown cap on the bottle.  The bottles are dipped in a solution to freeze the yeast plug, then it is removed, or disgorged, under high pressure.  The frozen yeast plug flies out, then the wine is topped off, corked and the wire cage and foil is put on.

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