Nautilus Cuvee Brut NV during August

Nautilus Cuvee Brut

Nautilus Cuvee Brut

Tartrate crystals

Tartrate crystals

2015 Vintage components

2015 Vintage components

August is blending month for the base wine of our Nautilus Cuvee.  First we assemble the 2015 vintage components, usually 2 Pinot Noir and 1 Chardonnay.  These wines have been through malolactic fermentation and have been sitting on their yeast lees since April. Over this time they deposit a lot of tartrate crystals on the side of the tank as you can see by the attached photo.  The Pinot Noir contributes a strawberry fruit character and gives structure to the base wine while the Chardonnay adds an apple/melon fruit character and adds roundness to the palate. Once we are happy with this blend we look at introducing some of our ‘reserve wine’.  This is a blend of base wines that go back up to 6 years in age and has been aged in old oak barrels.  The barrel aged character of the reserve wine has a toasty, nutty character, although this comes about via the aging process rather than a ‘woody’ flavour from the oak.  This component adds complexity and richness to the blend and is usually added at between 10-15% of the total volume.  Once we have added the reserve wine we refill the old barrels with the new blend which will become the reserve component for next year’s blend.  We then do some quick analysis and cold stabilise and filter the wine to make sure we have removed all of those tartrate crystals.  The base wine is then ready for ‘tirage’ which is the process of filling the bottles to go through the all-important secondary fermentation to create those bubbles.   This is scheduled for September, after which the wine will rest in the bottle for a minimum of 3 years.  We won’t be able to taste the final result of this year’s sparkling harvest until October 2018 at the earliest.  You certainly need patience in this game!

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