To begin with, the grapes used in Krone Méthode Cap Classique are picked early in the season and at night to retain a high natural activity and low sugar content. They are pressed quickly to preserve the aromatics and the clarity of the juice.
The first fermentation (each grape variety is fermented individually in tanks) produces a low-alcohol still wine. At the end of this fermentation – lasting about four months – our different wine batches are blended to produce the distinctive Krone house-style which is then bottled. At Twee Jonge Gezellen, this wine is of one vintage only.
The Liqueur de Tirage – our very own special recipe of yeast and sugar - is added to the still wine and acts as a catalyst for the second fermentation. This is what creates the bubbles.
The bottles are then sealed with a crown cap and left to rest in the cool of our underground cellar. Our Krone MCC will mature on the lees (yeast cells) for at least a year. The contact with the yeast gives our bubbly its distinct biscuity flavour.
Ultimately we need to remove the yeast must be removed from the bottle or the Méthode Cap Classique will be cloudy. We do this by slowly hand-turning the bottles until they are upside down – a process known as rémuage or riddling. At the end of it, the yeast will have filtered down to the neck of the bottle.
The next step is quite spectacular. We freeze the necks of the bottles, remove the crown caps and the ‘plug’ of frozen wine and yeast shoots out of the top of the bottle, leaving the clear bubbly behind. This is known as disgorgement.
The wine that was absorbed into the frozen plug leaves a space in the bottle which our winemaker tops up with dosage – a quantity of sweeter wine. Less is added for a Méthode Cap Classique Brut and more for a Méthode Cap Classique Demi-Sec, as is the case of Krone’s Night Nectar, where a touch of sweetness is evident in the taste.
Finally, the cork is inserted into the bottle, the muselet (the wire cage that suppresses the cork) is wrapped around the neck and the bubbly is ready to be labelled. The alluring contents within remain under six atmospheres of pressure until the moment you choose to open it your bottle of Krone – with a pop!