2019 methode ancestrale portfolio
At Bella we produce our sparkling wines in the traditional method to showcase a single varietal, from a single vineyard and a single vintage. The traditional method implies a second fermentation happens in the bottle to produce the bubbles you enjoy so much. After the primary fermentation (which occurs in tank and/or barrel) a sugar and yeast mixture is added to trigger a second fermentation in the bottle. Through the process of riddling, and then finally disgorging, the dead yeast (or lees) is removed from the bottle while maintaining the bubbles.
But it hasn’t always been so … allow us to introduce you to Methode Ancestrale.
The origins of sparkling wine are a bit murky but the story goes as such: in the 15th century some monks believing their still wine had fully fermented bottled the juice and laid it down. When spring came, and the temperatures warmed up, bottles started exploding everywhere! Those that didn’t explode under the pressure of a continued fermentation tasted fantastic and sparkling wine was created. Ancestrale wine making is extremely high risk and must be carefully controlled in order to produce the desired results. Because of the ancestrale method’s volatility the traditional method evolved as the second fermentation in the bottle is more controlled and stable.
Starting with the 2014 vintage, we wanted to make a truly natural wine crafted in the ancient ways so we brought to market Western Canada’s first natural Ancestrale sparking wine. After whole cluster pressing the grapes, the juice wild ferments in a neutral barrel and at precisely the right moment (we do have a few enhanced technologies over the monks!) the juice is hand bottled by gravity flow and allowed to finish fermenting in the bottle. As you can imagine, without filtering, the ancestrale contains significant quantities of natural lees and some particulates from the original pressing. Through riddling, and disgorging, we can remove almost all of the sediment but some will remain. Also, without filtering the wine maintains a natural cloudiness that will dissipate over time.
What makes this wine natural?
Nothing has been added. We press grapes, the juice goes into barrel and then a bottle. There is absolutely no intervention and no filtering. You will never taste a more intensely flavored sparkling wine than an ancestrale. We hope you enjoy this style of sparkling wine.
What’s in a name?
In the United States methode ancestrale is commonly referred to as “pét-nat” which is short for pétillant naturel. In Italy, before the 1980’s, most Proseccos were made in the “col fondo” style (aka the ancestrale methode). As you can see from the links this ancient style of wine is making quite the comeback. What ever you call it, old is the new black.
2019 Ancestrale Ingredients: grapes OR grapes, 20 PPM (parts-per-million) sulphur. The 2019 vintage juice produced higher than expected pH which makes it slightly unstable. For this reason, we disgorged a handful of ancestrales at two different times. The first, to be consumed quickly, had no sulphur added. The second, to be consumed over the next 3-5 years had sulphur added to make sure the wine remained stable over time.
2019 MARIANI CL509 GAMAY ANCESTRALE ROSÉ
Clone 509 Gamay Noir is the most common gamay clone found in British Columbia and commonly presents red berry flavor profiles. For this bubble, we let the skins remain in contact with the fruit overnight to give it a darker colour – this could be considered a light red sparkling wine. The Mariani’s farm their vineyard organically so the first batch of this ancestrale sparkling is considered a “zero/zero”: nothing added to the soil, nothing added to the wine.
- Assemblage – 100% Mariani Vineyard Gamay Noir, Clone 509
- Released March 16th, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +2510 | $39.90 | 850 bottles
2019 MARIANI CL787 GAMAY ANCESTRALE ROSÉ
Clone 787 Gamay Noir is rarely found in British Columbia and usually presents subtle stone fruits on the palate. For this bubble, we let the skins remain in contact with the fruit for just a few hours giving it a delicate peach colour. The Mariani’s farm their vineyard organically so the first batch of this ancestrale sparkling is considered a “zero/zero”: nothing added to the soil, nothing added to the wine.
- Assemblage – 100% Mariani Vineyard Gamay Noir, Clone 787
- Released February 1st, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +78918 | SOLD OUT | 750 bottles
2019 AGAPE CL358 GAMAY ANCESTRALE ROSÉ
Imagine how excited we were to discover a THIRD clone of Gamay Noir grown right here in Naramata Village! Agape Vineyards also grows their fruit organically and we couldn’t be happier to add this clone to our “Naramata Village clonal variation” line up. As this is the first vintage for this site, and for us using this fruit, we’ve yet to discover it’s true personality but we’re excited about our first introduction. This clone is typically used for more full bodied wines.
- Assemblage – 100% Agape Vineyard Gamay Noir, Clone 358
- Released September 1st, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +91176 | $39.90 | 350 bottles
2019 KEREMEOS GAMAY ANCESTRALE ROSÉ
We’ve been working with Gamay from Keremeos, BC since 2017 but this is the first time we’ve made an ancestrale method sparkling with it, and we can say confidently this style suits it best. The extended skin contact really enhances the herbaceous quality natural found in this fruit. This is a true dry Lambrusco style sparkling wine.
- Assemblage – 100% Robin Ridge Gamay Noir
- Released March 20th, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +69182 | $39.90 | 1,450 bottles
2019 KING CHARDONNAY ANCESTRALE BRUT
We tried something different with the King Ancestrale Brut for the 2019 vintage: during the primary fermentation we bottled at a lower sugar point so that this wine would not have to be disgorged and still maintain spritz. This means the considerable amount of lees is still in the bottle (vs our other ancestrales that have all been disgorged). The lees gives this bubble a real creaminess but it also encourages foaming when opened! The best way to open this wine is to leave the bottle upright in the fridge for a few days to (a) chill and (b) have the sediment drop to the bottom of the bottle. When opening, have a glass close by, this bubble is a slow volcano so immediately pour in to a glass at opening and then let the remainder churn up in the bottle. The contrast between the first glass and the second is a party trick all in itself that will not disappoint. Cheers! Watch the video to learn more.
- Assemblage – 100% King Family Farms Chardonnay
- Released April 6th, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +68133 | $39.90 | 725 bottles
- Product 1.5L: CSPC +24591 | $75.00 | 160 magnums
2019 BELLA BENCH CHARDONNAY ANCESTRALE BRUT
- Assemblage – 100% Bella Bench Chardonnay
- Released April 6th, 2020
- Product 750ml: CSPC +94873 | SOLD OUT | 100 bottles