HANNA Winery – Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Introduction
We’re so excited about our Hanna Méthode Traditionnelle 2021 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc! Méthode Traditionnelle is the same technique as Méthode Champenoise, in which the secondary fermentation takes place in the final bottle. The Hanna 2021 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc has classic Méthode Traditionnelle bubbly notes (known as “gout de champagne”), with hints of Sauvignon Blanc character.
We harvested the grapes from our Slusser Road vineyard in the pre-dawn hours of August 16, 2021, at 18.8 Brix. Grapes for Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine are typically harvested around this sugar level for a couple reasons. One, we want low alcohol after the primary fermentation, since the wine will undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle, and two, we want less varietal character in sparkling wine than in table wine. The desire for subdued varietal character is because the typical Méthode Traditionnelle character should be at the fore, and because CO2 emphasizes aromas. So the subtle notes of apple, lime and grapefruit in the cuvée will be emphasized by the bubbles.
We used the “Champagne” program on the press – a program you may have seen mentioned before for some of our Bismark wines – which is very gentle (small increases in pressure with few rotations). We captured only the first portion of the press load for the sparkling cuvée, before the press rotated (often referred to as tumbling). The juice was fermented with X5 yeast, and the resulting wine had an alcohol of 10.6% - perfect for the primary fermentation.
In early winter the cuvée was trucked to Rack and Riddle for its transformation from a racy, low alcohol table wine, into a Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine. They added a measured dose of sugar (to target a roughly 1.4% increase in alcohol) along with a traditional sparkling wine yeast – prise de mousse (often called simply PDM). The wine was bottled, a crown cap was applied, and the bottles were stacked in racks to undergo the secondary fermentation and lie en Tirage.
During fermentation, yeast will consume the sugar present in the juice and produce ethanol and CO2 in the process. In a standard fermentation vessel, such as a tank or barrel, some of this CO2 escapes into the atmosphere. But not all – this is the reason for the liveliness of our Sauvignon Blanc. In the sealed bottle of Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine all of the CO2 is retained. The amount of sugar used for the secondary fermentation is carefully calculated to ensure the correct amount of CO2 is in the finished product. We’re aiming for about 85 psi (about the same pressure as in a bus tire).
Beyond the CO2, yeast autolysis is a key contribution of the sparkling wine laying en Tirage. As the wine ages in the bottle, the yeast begins to break down, lyse. The lysis of the yeast will release “yeasty” aromatics and flavors, along with mannoproteins and polysaccharides that contribute to mouthfeel, and keep the bubbles fine and persistent. The time for individual cells to break down varies greatly – from weeks to months – but typically, by six months a large fraction of the cells have lysed and made their contributions. As it further ages, the amino acids undergo Maillard reactions that contribute the bready and caramelized notes. (Beyond lot and barrel selection, this is the same phenomena that helps differentiate the Hanna Flagship Chardonnay from the Elias Chardonnay.)
The Hanna 2021 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc laid en Tirage for nine months before disgorging. Prior to disgorgement, the bottles are riddled (rotated so that all the yeast gather in the cap). The bottles then run neck down in a cold bath to freeze the plug of yeast. The crown caps are removed and the pressure from the CO2 expels the frozen plug. A dosage is added at that time to replace the lost volume and to adjust the sweetness. A cork and wire are applied, the bottle is labeled and lasered with disgorging date and time.
Hanna Méthode Traditionnelle 2021 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is finished as a Brut – in Champagne this is 0 to 12 g/L of sugar.
12.0% Alcohol, 0.8% RS, pH 3.14, TA 0.89 g/100 mL
$56.00 Retail | $42.00 Wine Club
252 Cases produced
This Friday, November 18, 2022, is the date of our first disgorging of the 2021 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. We plan to disgorge roughly half of it now, and the other half at a later date – likely in about a year. The bubbly is tasting fantastic now, and we’re excited to see how it evolves with further aging en Tirage. However, both disgorging times are very early in the terms of traditional sparkling aging times. We won’t know until later whether this time span will make a significant difference in taste and style. Since we’re working with Sauvignon Blanc, a unique cultivar for bubbly, we are making our own rules as we go.
Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Release Party
Sauvignon Blanc is our specialty, so it was only natural that our favorite white wine variety would anchor our hand crafted, small production sparkling. Please join us for our official release party and holiday Open House on Saturday, December 3rd from 4-6pm at HANNA's Alexander Valley tasting room. Join us for an afternoon of seasonal wines and small bites as we toast to HANNA's newest releases including the brand new 2022 HANNA Sauvignon Blanc!
Live music by Morris Legrande - Enjoy a special blend of jazz standards and contemporary favorites.
Featured Victuals by Park Avenue Catering