Some would call this pétillant naturel méthode ancestrale, which is loosely the same thing: a sparkling wine made in bottle with its native yeast and without any sugar additions (no chapitalization during initial fermentation, no sweet yeast liquor added for secondary in bottle, and no sweet dosage at disgorgement the bottles are simply topped off with the same wine and corked). Indeed, Originel is made without any additions or modern interventions of any kind. It is absolutely natural, a requirement enshrined by its makers and, as of 2007, by law for Pétillant Originel is now a legal class of wine in France (pétillant naturel and méthode ancestrale are not codified). Xavier joined three other Montlouis growers and took the legal dictates one step further by drawing up a quality charter mandating low yields, greater ripeness than normally attained for sparkling wine, and a minimum of nine months on the lees before disgorgement. Currently, they are the only four producers in Montlouis making Originel. Rocher des Violette’s is made from old-vine Chenin growing in AC Touraine, and it rests on its lees for 24 months before the first disgorgement. Normally thereafter a portion of the stock is disgorged every month until 36 months, thus a given vintage sees 12 disgorgements.
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