The wine is usually a co-ferment of 40% Pinot Noir from the Maurice vineyard and the balance from the bottom of the original Chardonnay block. The grapes are picked around 18 Brix and 10 grammes per litre total acidity and carefully whole bunch pressed to around 0.8 atmospheres. This usually yields 500 litres per tonne of exhilarating juice for the vin de curvee which, after adjustment, is fermented to dryness in ancient exhausted French oak hogsheads.
Depending on the quality of the new wine, a portion may go through malo-lactic fermentation before triage into solid skittle bottles for cellar maturation for up to 48 months. We should mention that the assemblage of the base wine is more or less de-facto at Bloodwood as the wine is a single vineyard, single vintage co-ferment..so we have to take extra care with the selection of the fruit and the precision of the initial ferment. The addition of a few grammes of sugar and yeast sets up the secondary fermentation in bottle which results in the famous natural sparkle or prise de mousse, while the break down of the autolysed yeast cells during such extended maturation, contributes a more or less fresh bread dough bouquet to the resultant wine. Occasionally, after extended aging sur lies, there develops a subtle vegemite like hint to that mature bouquet, which alongside the toasty bread smells and racy acidity of every fine sparkling wine gives the Bloodwood Chirac an appropriate Australian flavour.
The final step is a tricky one requiring speed, wit and strength. It involves riddling the detritus of ferment into the neck of the bottle; snap freezing it under liquid nitrogen; disgorging the plug of rubbish with the assistance of the natural¬† fizz in the bottle; adding a final dosage of sweetness or acid, or the expedition de liqueur as it is known which finely adjusts the wine and brings its volume back to the mandatory 750mls, and forcing the reluctant cork into the neck of the bottle. Then there is the small matter of wiring the cork into the stem and capsuling, cleaning and labelling the wine for your enjoyment. So you get an unique wine, individually fermented in the bottle you hold in your hand, prepared with care and respect for the fruit and reflecting the environment in which it was grown, or alternatively, we could have used a pressureised tank to carbonate a few thousand litres of generic dry white wine and, cola like, hey presto you have an alcoholic drink which fizzes. We know which wine we'd prefer!