FIZZ - Sparkling White Wine
Use Fizz to celebrate any special occasion, to welcome guests or to cleanse the pallet before dinner. Fizz is great anytime, like when you're thirsty or when you're not.
A wonderful wine with a perfect balance, not overly fruity or too dry, Fizz is a delicious example of a Californian Grower Champagne even though we must only call it a Sparkling Wine. To taste correctly Fizz should be stored at a constant 50°F and kept away from light. Serve at the table, chilled but not icy, at 40°F so it may be tasted at 50°F allowing the aromas to develop and show.
This champagne style wine is less aggressively fizzy than old style sparkling wines and is drier using riper fruit so the sweet and sour effect in which too much sugar is added to compensate for too tart a wine is not present in Fizz.
Bright and lively in the sparkling Champagne-style made from a cuvée of 60% Chardonnay exuding elegance and finesse and 40% Pinot Noir grapes providing depth and structure. Produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle in the méthode champenoise style. Pinot Noir ensures the underlying structure and style while Chardonnay ensures the elegance and sophistication essential to this perfectly balanced brute wine.
Making Williamson Sparkling Wines
The first fermentation begins in the same way as any wine, converting the natural sugar in the grapes into alcohol while the resultant carbon dioxide is allowed to escape. This produces the base wine known as the Cuvée.
After primary fermentation, blending assemblage, barrel aging and then bottling, the wine then undergoes tirage a second fermentation in the bottle. Prior to bottling the Cuvée is adjusted to 12% alcohol and 0.050g/100ml volatile acidity (VA), the measure of the wine's volatile acids.
After the addition of yeast, nutrients for the yeast, and sugar, collectively called the liqueur de tirage, the bottle is then stopped with a crown bottle cap and stored in the cellar horizontally while a second fermentation completes resulting in a naturally sparkling wine.
During the secondary fermentation, the carbon dioxide is trapped within the wine in solution. The amount of added sugar determines the pressure of the bottle. To reach the standard value of 6 bars (600 kPa) of pressure inside the bottle, it is necessary to have 18 grams of sugar; the amount of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast is 0.3 gram per bottle. The liqueur de tirag is then a mixture of sugar, yeast and still Champagne style wine.
The wine is stored on the lees sur lie under its own carbon dioxide pressure for at least three years before disgorging takes place, to get a more mature character.
Yeast precipitate lees must then be removed. This begins with riddling remuage where the bottles are turned with the neck downwards and lightly shaken to move the lees to the neck of the bottle. This is done in small steps where the bottle orientation gradually changes.
The process to remove lees is called disgorging where the inverted bottle necks are cooled so that the precipitation freezes to a small block of ice, the bottles are turned upright and the temporary crown cap closure is opened and the precipitate is pushed out by the pressure in the bottle.
Immediately after disgorging but before final corking, the liquid level is topped up with liqueur d'expédition, a practice known as dosage. The liqueur d'expédition is a mixture of the base wine and sucrose, plus 0.03 grams of sulfur dioxide as a preservative.
The amount of sugar in the liqueur d'expédition determines the sweetness of the Champagne, the sugar previously in the wine having been consumed by the second fermentation. Generally, sugar is added to balance the high acidity of the Champagne, rather than to produce a sweet taste.
Brut Champagne will only have a little sugar added, while nature or zéro dosage will have no added sugar. A cork is then inserted, with a capsule and wire cage muselet securing it in place.
Some Champagne houses maisons de Champagne claim to have secret recipes for dosage, adding ingredients such as wine and candy sugar. At Williamson Wines we have our own different recette de la maison for each of our sparkling wines.
French Champagne's sugar content varies resulting in various sweetest levels, namely:
- doux = sweet
- demi-sec = half-dry
- sec = dry
- extra sec = extra dry
- brut = very dry-dry
- extra brut = very dry
- brut nature/brut zero/ultra brut = no additional sugar, bone dry