Also known as autolysis, yeast autolysis plays an important role in traditional bottle fermentation. In order to initiate the second alcoholic fermentation in the sekt bottle, yeast and sugar are added to the base wine (liqueur de tirage). This yeast initially ferments the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Once this process is complete, the yeast cells slowly die and decompose. After the second alcoholic fermentation stage, the bottles are taken down to into our cellar where, undisturbed and protected from the light, they will embark on a long period of maturation. This is what is known as maturation on lees.
During this maturation time, the yeast breaks down / decomposes and releases quality-enhancing substances (amino acids) into the sparkling wine. This is known as autolysis. Particularly in the production of our sparkling wines, yeast autolysis contributes to a positive influence on taste. Meanwhile, very small quantities of oxygen enter the bottle and small amounts of carbon dioxide escape. This phenomenon will lead to a slow oxidation of the wine, further developing its characteristics in a positive sense. We have found that ageing the sparkling wine on the yeast for a minimum of 36 months allows the development of distinctive tertiary aromas. The sparkling wine gains complexity, smoothness, and substance. These aromas are often referred to as “brioche aromas.” Constant protection from the light and a steady temperature of around 12-14°C are crucial for ensuring the very best ageing conditions in our cellar.