OTILIE* – CHAMPAGNE UNPLUGGED
Those who know us a little know that we like good champagne, especially as an accompaniment to cooking. And so, it was obvious: FRANKFURTER BRETT needs a house champagne. And a good one at that. So much for the theory.
In practice, things have come together easily: With Rüdiger Flik from FLIK Sektmanufaktur in Mainz Laubenheim we have found an excellent partner for this exciting project. Together we have developed a limited special edition of Rüdiger's BLANC DE NOIRS as BRUT NATURE.
The result is a top-class and puristic manufactory champagne, full of intense aromas and complexity. At the same time it is smooth and easy to drink like hardly any other champagne we have met in our career as sparkling wine and champagne enthusiasts.
The champagne is created in a way that is characterised by what one does NOT do and what is otherwise the usual standard in the industry. Hence the working title "CHAMPAGNE UNPLUGGED".
Rüdiger Flik produces with BIO certification, gives his excellent base wines the necessary peace of mind as far as possible and intervenes only minimally in the entire process. This requires foresight and a lot of experience. You can taste the success of this philosophy with every sip, which impressed us very much.
For us our favourite side project 2020, which will hopefully be followed by several more editions!
We are - as always with our heart's desire - eager to hear your feedback: How well did our first sparkling wine taste? Write us your impressions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further down in the blog article you will find details about the FLIK Sektmanufakture, the production and some background knowledge about sparkling wine - for those who are just getting into the subject.
Have fun trying it out - Cheers!
Best wishes from Offenbach
& Team FRANKFURTER BRETT
P.S.: Otilie, Princess of Offenbach is Joseph's daughter and the first child of our family.
And now probably one of the few children with their own sparkling wine. She has earned it.
Rüdiger Flik produces his champagne organically certified, without any additives or fining agents. "We strengthen our vines, the soil and the entire vineyard ecosystem through natural vineyard greening," he explains. Various wild herbs grow between each vine, which serve the vines as useful herbs. Among other things, they provide for nutrient storage and enrichment of soil life. "As a result, we have to do considerably less plant protection". According to Flik, this is a key aspect of making champagne: "The healthier the grape, the clearer the fruit, which is later recognised in the aroma of the wine."
Flik is now known for its uncompromising champagne, which is rarely available in this quality in Germany. Produced using the Champagne method, with traditional bottle fermentation and without any additives. The basic products (the grapes) are already of such high quality that the champagne is at least EXTRA BRUT. So almost completely without additional sugar.
So, it is not surprising that FLIK manufactory champagnes regularly leave even renowned champagne brands behind in blind tastings. And as it is sometimes – Rüdiger is like his champagne: uncomplicated, without being banal, heart-warming and simply sunny.
OTILIE* – Champagne Brut Nature
The vineyard from which OTILIE* originates is a 100% limestone site that produces finely fruity wines. The soil texture is very mineral, like that found in Champagne. OTILIES vine consists of 100 percent pure Pinot Noir with a rich primary aroma of orange and strawberry. "We concentrated on bringing out this natural aroma - this is supported by the vinification in traditional barriques with micro-oxidation. A fine and balanced acidity framework accompanies the whole process." explains champagne manufacturer Flik.
OTILIE* is a so-called Brut Nature champagne – it has a very low natural sugar share. Due to the high quality of the grapes, no potential weaknesses must be compensated for in the subsequent sparkling wine refinement. This means that the addition of sugar in the last step of production can be avoided completely. Instead, Flik preserves and enhances the already existing aromas through natural and gentle refinement.
The FLIK champagne manufactory produces sparkling wine using the traditional champagne method. The basic wine is aged in barriques. After the harvested grapes have been pressed directly, the base wine is naturally sedimented for 24 hours and then filled into the barriques. There the musts are inoculated with a selected yeast and fermented.
At FLIK, sparkling wine is produced semi-manually. Here, the wine is refined by storing it on the fine yeast in wooden barrels and maturing in the classic bottle fermentation process. The processed raw champagne is taken to the cool cellar for fermentation and maturation, where it is placed on the yeast to achieve the desired mousseux after long storage.
In most cases, alcoholic fermentation is followed by a so-called malolactic fermentation, in which bitter malic acid is converted into softer lactic acid using bacteria. In the meantime, batonnage is used – a process in which the yeast is stirred in the barrel. At this point, Rüdiger Flik can already assess the product for the first time and control the formation of diacetyl and acetaldehyde.
Other important aspects are the controlled fermentation process and constant cool storage conditions, which are available in the cellar of the sparkling wine factory. Here the wines mature until May of the following year. Then further steps are taken such as racking, staggered sulphurisation, filtration and the creation of microbial stability. Only in early summer are the base wines finally ready for sparkling.
The racking is a cellar-technical procedure in which the clarified wine is separated from the sediment (dead yeast cells, undissolved parts of fruit pulp and grape skins). It takes place after fermentation is complete by pumping over or draining the wine into another barrel.
Acetaldehyde is formed during alcoholic fermentation with the release of carbon dioxide as a preliminary stage of the final product, alcohol. Towards the end of the fermentation process, the proportion usually decreases sharply. Acetaldehyde is present in all wines in normally small quantities and, in low concentrations, does not have any negative effects on taste.
Vinification is the term used to describe all cellar work in the period between the end of fermentation and the bottling of a wine. During ageing, the wine develops complexity and structure. This ageing can take place in barrels, barriques or tanks of various sizes, depending on the grape variety, quality, style and wine tradition. Depending on the type of wine, quality, potential and vintage, the ageing process can last from several weeks to years. The longer this maturing process lasts, the more expensive it is.
The barrique is an oak barrel, which today is mainly used for the ageing of wine, but also for whisky and beer. Mostly barrique barrels in the Bordelais ship size of 225 litres are used.
Batonnage is the process of stirring the yeast that remains in the barrel during the ageing process. It is thus protected from decomposition. During the storage period, the winemaker constantly stirs the young wine in the barrel. This movement clarifies the wine. The batonnage also causes the wine to become round, giving it more body and flavour. Batonnage is therefore a process for improving the quality of wines during storage.
Brut Nature: In simple terms, a manufactory champagne is a still wine that goes through a second fermentation on the bottle by adding yeast and sugar. This produces carbonic acid, which binds in the wine under pressure. Since the yeasts completely consume the sugar during fermentation, the wine is de facto completely dry after this process. The yeast dies off and, after storage, is shaken into the bottle neck and shot out of the bottle. During this process, part of the wine is lost, which is then refilled. This is usually done with a mixture of sugar and wine - the shipping dosage. If a winegrower produces a Brut Nature champagne, he refrains from adding sugar and refills the bottle with this champagne instead.
During disgorging, the yeast is shaken into the bottle neck after storage and then shot out of the bottle.
Diacetyl is a flavouring substance that is formed in wine during malolactic fermentation by lactic acid bacteria in reaction with citric acid. It is also found in beer, butter, coffee, cocoa and honey and gives a buttery taste. Already from a dilution of 1:1000000, the odour- and taste-intensive substance can be perceived by the senses.
The young wine is cleaned by filtration. This means that filters are used to remove turbidity and small particles in the wine. These substances are removed because they could trigger secondary fermentation after bottling.
Staggered sulphurisation is a conservation method and is mainly used to prolong the life of the wine. The sulphur dioxide or sulphite formed in aqueous solution has a preservative effect.
Malolactic fermentation is the name given to the chemical transformation of malic acid into lactic acid. The process is also known as malolactic fermentation, bacterial malic acid degradation or malo-lactic fermentation. The transformation is carried out by a bacterium called "Micrococcus malolacticus" and lasts from 10 to 40 days.
Micro-oxidation is a winemaking technique in which the colour or taste development of the wine is optimised by finely dosed addition of pure oxygen to the must or young wine.
Mousseux describes in French the foaming of the wine.
Sedimentation or sedimentation is the depositing of particles from liquids or gases under the influence of weight or centrifugal force. The layer of suspended matter that forms is called sediment, sedimentary sediment or loose sediment.