Hand picking when fully ripe
At Rully, and throughout Burgundy, harvesting for Crémants de Bourgogne opens the harvest period.
Crémant de Bourgogne, because of its specificity, is always harvested before still wines. In fact, harvesting must be done at full ripeness, i.e. when a perfect balance is obtained between fruit and freshness.
We take care to preserve this balance at each stage of production.
The choice of date is of primary importance, as all the finesse of Crémants de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti will depend on this.
It has always been a tradition at Vitteaut-Alberti, and has become the rule for Crémant de Bourgogne, that grapes are hand-picked.
Manually harvested in perforated boxes, grapes destined for Crémants de Bourgogne and Vins Mousseux are carefully handled : crushing and maceration of berries is avoided, and thus, oxidation of musts.
The making of Crémant de Bourgogne is under way : the grapes are brought whole to the press by a conveyor belt, so as to avoid squashing them, and pressed within an hour of picking.
Pneumatic presses ensure a progressive pressing, by stages. These technical requirements guarantee the quality of the Crémants de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti.
The appellation Crémant de Bourgogne is granted to a cuvée obtained within the limits of 150 kilos of grape harvest per 100 litres of wine.
From must to base wine
The vinification and ageing of Crémants de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti take place in Rully, south of Beaune.
Fermentation occurs in two phases :
In the first phase, alcoholic fermentation transforms the musts into base wine which, as a function of the different Burgundy grape varieties chosen - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Aligoté, will be used to make Crémant de Bourgogne or Vins Mousseux Vitteaut Alberti.
The optimal development of aromas for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Aligoté requires rigour and regular control of this phase of production of Crémant de Bourgogne which occurs in thermo-regulated, stainless steel vats.
Following a period of rest for the future Crémant, a second fermentation called malolactic takes place naturally. It allows the wine to become more supple and to stabilize.
Next, the base wines are aged on their lees in stainless vats for the whole winter and until the blending of the cuvées. This ageing allows the wine to acquire all its character.
the Art of Blending
The characteristic "house" taste of cuvées Vitteaut-Alberti.
Crémant de Bourgogne is a blended wine.
It is this phase in making Crémant, called assemblage, that allows finesse, richness and complexity in the cuvées to be obtained and to create the "house taste" or "goût maison" that makes the reputation of the Crémants Vitteaut-Alberti, in Burgundy and around the world.
After tasting, each base wine is designated to its cuvée of Crémant. The different proportions of grape varieties in the base wine, together with the origin of the grapes, offer a palette of aromas essential to the character of Crémant Vitteaut Alberti.
The Maison Vitteaut-Alberti may also blend in wine called «vin de réserve », produced in previous years.
The cuvée must then be subjected to tasting for the official agreement authorization, as imposed by the AOC Crémant de Bourgogne.
To guarantee the quality of Crémants de Bourgogne, base wines destined for Crémants are subjected to an official agrément before bottling.
Naissance des bulles et élevage du Crémant
The birth of Crémant bubbles happens in the bottle: this is called the "méthode traditionnelle".
The success of this phase of production is critical for the finesse of the bubbles, the respect of terroir and the structure of the Crémant.
At the bottling of future Crémants (the first takes place in the February following the harvest), liqueur de tirage (sugar and base wine) is added to the base wine, as well as yeasts that set off a fermentation. Internal bottle pressure reaches approximately 6 bars.
Fitted with a metal top, the bottles of Crémant Vitteaut-Alberti rest on laths "sur lattes" in cellar at 15°C, shaded from light and for a minimum period of 12 months.
The wine, in contact with the lees - a deposit resulting from fermentation - develops all its aromas and acquires the typicity of Crémant de Bourgogne.
After this period of ageing, a traditional stage typical of the creation of Crémant takes place : riddling and disgorgement.
Brilliance and final taste of Crémant de Bourgogne
Riddling and disgorgement of Crémant de Bourgogne are intimately linked.
After a period of ageing - from 12 to 18 months depending on specific cuvées - bottles are riddled to bring the deposit due to fermentation into the neck of the bottle.
This action, the so-called riddling or remuage, precedes an essential stage in the making of Crémant de Bourgogne : the disgorgement.
Flash frozen, the deposit is ejected: this disgorgement leaves the wine clear and brilliant. This phase of riddling and disgorgement bring all its distinction and elegance to Crémant de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti.
Before inserting the final cork that completes the process of making Crémant de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti, a little pre-finishing liqueur d'expédition is added, to adjust the final taste of the Crémant de Bourgogne: concentrated grape must, dosed from dry brut to sweet doux.
The cork for Crémants de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti must bear mention of the appellation « Crémant de Bourgogne ».
After the stage of riddling and disgorgement, Crémant de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti is submitted to a second official agrément recognition, before commercialisation.
With its aluminium foil neck, a label bearing mention of the appellation Crémant de Bourgogne and a back label, Crémant Vitteaut-Alberti can be put on sale after a minimum ageing of 12 months.
These Crémants de Bourgogne are recognizable by their label "Crémant de Bourgogne L. Vitteaut-Alberti" or "Crémant L.V-A", from the name of Lucien Vitteaut-Alberti, founder of the Maison Vitteaut-Alberti in 1951.
Crémants de Bourgogne Vitteaut-Alberti keep their freshness for 4 years after disgorgement, before ageing thereafter and becoming Crémants de Bourgogne that are stronger and more full-bodied.