Disgorging is one of the most important processes in the production of a sparkling wine (both, Cava and Champagne), and that are made with the traditional method (Champagne method). In this process, the second fermentation is carried out in the bottle, the wine remains in contact with its own yeast, this adds a fantastic range of new aroma, as well as volume, flavor and smoothness.
The yeast and other residues accumulate in the neck of the bottle, thanks to the method, in which the bottles are stored. After residues have been deposited in the neck of the bottle, the cork is removed with care, and due to the pressure of the carbonic acid the residues are expelled. What remains is a clean and shiny sparkling wine. This action is called disgorging. Thereafter, the final cork is inserted into the bottle, with which the wine is then sold.
The controversy about the date of disgorging
You’ve probably seen on many cava or champagne bottles on the back label a date (the date of disgorging), but you may not have give it a great importance … although this information is very important. The best wine cellars, those who work with high quality standards, ALWAYS indicate the date of disgorging.
What is this information good for?
Let us suppose that one of these big wine cellars, that produce annually millions of bottles, would not specify the date of disgorging … then it could well be that already two or three years old stocks of cava or champagne are sold to the customer, even though a young Cava should be consumed within one or one and a half years after the date of disgorging. That would mean that the customer possibly could buy a wine that would be in a non-optimum condition.
But we would like to clarify the following
Not all sparkling wines must be consumed during the same year. Just as the still wines, a sparkling wines may have an ageing, and depending on the duration of the ageing, the wine can be stored for a longer or shorter time. Let’s take the Cavas, the young ones (at least 9 months of ageing) should be consumed within one or one and a half years. The “Reserva” (with an ageing of at least 15 months), can be stored up to 2 or 3 years, and the “Gran Reserva” (with an ageing of at least 30 months) up to 5 or 6 years after disgorging … or even longer.
So you should pay attention and check or ask if the bottle has a date of disgorging before buying a cava or champagne. If this is the case, then this does indicate a certain quality commitment of the wine cellar.