Vineyard Year – Riddling

March 19th, 2018

When the designated period is passed and the waiting cannot be endured any longer, some of the vintage is called for and transferred back to the winery, where the visible deposit made up by the inactive lees is to be removed, by first moving it towards the neck of the bottle in a process known as Riddling. Historically bottles were inclined neck downward at approximately 35° on wooden riddling racks, comprising two plain rectangular boards hinged at the top, each side bored with six bevelled holes, along ten rows. Each bottle in turn is given a sharp twist back and forth, in order to loosen the sediments’ adhesion to the glass and allow it to slide towards the neck.

Then it is left to rest for two to three weeks before the next riddling movement, as each bottle is nudged progressively more upright and into a neck down position ‘sur pointe’. This traditional process of long and laborious movements would take weeks or even months to complete and have in the most part been replaced by modern computer-controlled ‘gyros’ in which typically 504 bottles are manipulated mechanically with movements identical to those created by manual riddling and allowing the wines to be riddled in very short cycles of one or two weeks. The bottles, riddled, clarified, and stacked neck down are then ready for the final and quite remarkable process of disgorgement.

Next Disgorging

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