ANCESTRAL SPARKLING WINE. WHAT’S IT?
As great Cava lovers, we like bubbles very much and we are very pleased to present you novelties in sparkling wines that are being made in our territory, specifically with the ancestral method.
The ancestral method is a very old method, but now it is a great novelty. When I studied they only told us 3 methods to get a sparkling wine.
The ancestral method consists in obtaining a sparkling wine with a single fermentation, unlike the traditional method (used by Cava and Champagne) which involves 2 fermentations.
During the fermentation process, yeasts always transform sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide and heat.
With the ancestral method the must (grape juice) undergoes the first fermentation in a tank and, before the process is completed, the wine is bottled. Is in the bottle where the fermentation is finally completed.
These half fermented must still has sugar from the grapes and that is why it continues to ferment in the bottle. The fermentation produces carbonic gas and since the bottle is closed, this gas does not escape.
During the fermentation sediment is generated, to extract it, the bottles are put almost upside down in desk, where they are turned regularly. The sediment falls to the neck of the bottle. To remove the sediment the bottle is disgorge, and then is closed with the definitive cap with which it will be commercialized.
Nowadays most ancestral wines are made by small producers each one with its personality and singularities.
The ancestral method is not accepted by the Consell Reguladors del Cava (Cava Regulatory Council). And although it is allowed by the D.O. Penedès (Classic Penedès), it must have a minimum of 15 months of aging in rhyme.
For these reasons many ancestral wines do not belong to any DO. It take just a glance to the market to see the great variety of these wines, even in presentation terms, many without the capsules, some even covered with metallic crown cap.
Sommelier of Cal Feru