Methode Ancestrale sparkling winemaking technique Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Methode Ancestrale sparkling wine
Food article / commentary

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Country: France

Methode Ancestrale is an ancient technique for making sparkling wines - a technique that has been given more attention in a number of areas of France in the past ten years. Wines made by this method see the fermentation process, which produces the carbon dioxide, occurring in the bottle.
The main places where you are likely to find wines made using this technique are the south-west of France particularly in the Gaillac appellation and the Limoux appellation in the Languedoc. It is also used in the area just to the east of Lyon where wines such as Clairette de Die Tradition and sparkling wines from the Bugey Cerdon appellation are made using this method.
One example is the Bugey Cerdon from the Caveau du Mont July domaine. Here the hand-picked Gamay and Poulsard grapes are partially fermented in tanks and then bottled along with the remaining yeast and residual sugar. Secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle using up much of the remaining sugar to produce a fresh, dryish and delicious sparkling wine.
The Blanquette Methode Ancestrale wines of Limoux are another examples of wines made in this way. They are believed to have been made in this region since 1531 (where records from the abbey of Saint Hilaire confirm the production). These wines can be quite cloudy as the lees are not disgorged from the bottle.
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