Invite an Aussie Bubbly to your next celebration - you won't be disappointed.
Australia's expert winemakers take advantage of our perfect climate conditions to produce some terrific sparkling wines.
The most common style of Australian sparkling wine is a blend of several grape varieties and sometimes vintages in order to produce a consistent product from year to year, known as non-vintage sparkling. Sparkling wine made with grapes from one single year is known as vintage sparkling.
Champagne only comes from Champagne in France. In Australia, Europe and most other countries the name ‘champagne’ is legally protected to mean sparkling wine produced only in this French region.
In Australia we believe it’s not so much the name Champagne that’s important, it’s the method of production that signifies the highest quality sparkling wine.
As long as your chosen Australian sparkling wine has been made using the méthode champenoise, you're getting a great bottle of Aussie bubbly. This process is expensive because it uses individual bottles for final fermentation and requires special skills and expertise.
Briefly, 'méthode champenoise' means that after the first pressing and fermentation process, the blended wine is put in bottles along with yeast and a small amount of sugar and stored in a wine cellar horizontally for a second fermentation period. During this secondary fermentation the carbon dioxide is trapped in the bottle keeping it dissolved in the wine.
After ageing, the bottles undergo a process known as ‘riddling’ in which they are rotated a small amount each day and gradually moved to a neck-down position so the sediment or ‘lees’ collects in the neck and can be removed. The removal process is called ‘disgorging’ and is a skilled manual process. The cork and the lees are removed without losing large quantities of the liquid and the bottle is then re-corked. Most modern disgorgement is now automated.
Grapes used for champagne style sparkling wines are generally picked earlier when sugar levels are lower and acid levels higher. The grapes are usually a blend of Chardonnay, red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Champagne styles made exclusively from white grapes and usually Chardonnay, are known as Blanc de Blanc the lightest and most refreshing of all.
Champagne style is typically a white wine even if it is produced with red grapes because the juice is extracted from the grapes using a gentle process that minimizes the amount of time the juice spends in contact with the skins. Except for pink or rosé sparkling wines, where the juice is allowed to spend more time with the skins to impart a pink color to the wine or by adding a small amount of red wine during blending.