Sparkling wine, Champagne, Cuvée, Méthode Traditionnelle… when it comes to bubbles it can all get a bit blurry with so many terms, techniques and trends out there.
But once the cork pops and you’re fizzing with some insights, a whole new world opens up and you’ll be even more spoilt for choice.
The great news is that you don’t have to venture far to discover some delectable examples. New Zealand has a fine selection of sparkling wines on offer and plenty of them are in fact crafted in much the same way their French siblings are, following the traditional method aka Méthode Traditionnelle.
Marlborough, the home of New Zealand sparkling wines
Marlborough has long been the home of many New Zealand sparkling winemakers as it offers favourable conditions for growing sparkling wines’ key varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
So what exactly is the Méthode Traditionnelle?
It means that the second fermentation happens in the bottle, followed by the intricate riddling and disgorging process. This produces the finest and most persistent bead.
Riddling and digorging?
Riddling, also known as rumuage, is the process of moving the sediment of lees (spent yeast cells) remaining in the bottle from the second fermentation to rest in the neck of the bottle for easy removal which is called disgorging.
It involves the gradual tilting of the bottle neck-down, rotating it by small increments, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Following the Méthode Traditionnelle all wines are aged for a minimum of 18 months before disgorging takes place. This allows complex flavours to develop, balancing fresh and fruit driven character with savoury notes of toast and brioche.
Méthode Marlborough is a collective of leading wine makers aiming to communicate the quality and heritage of Marlborough traditional method sparkling wines.
Their members produce a wide range of fine Méthode Traditionnelle wines and they have kindly sent a selection over and here are three different styles and delicious examples worth sipping this summer.
5 must-sip Marlborough Méthode Traditionnelle wines
Cuvée Virginie 2016 by No.1 Family Estate | 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir
Samantha Cuvée by Whitehaven 2018 | 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV | 74.5% Pinot Noir and 25.5% Chardonnay
Johanneshof Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut NV | 100% Chardonnay
Tohu Rewa Rosé 2016 | 100% Pinot Noir