“Solera” (or perpetual reserve) is a system of breeding of wine, vinegar or brandy.
Traditionally used in Spain, for wines of Jerez, as well as in the Antilles, for old rum, this technique of wine making consists in piling barrels on several heights.
The lowest row, near the ground, is called Solera and above, the first Criadera, above, the second Criadera, above, the third Criadera, etc. until 8 levels sometimes.
It is a system of oxidative said breeding, what means that barrels are never full, to leave a rather consequent surface of the wine in touch with the air. It is the barrels of Solera that contain the oldest wine and it is in these barrels where we take the wine to be bottled, without ever emptying completely barrels.
The wine taken in Solera is then replaced by some wine coming from the first Criadera, that of the first Criadera by some wine coming from the second Criadera, and so on …
The last one Criadera receives, every year, some young wine (harvest of the year).
In every barrel, is a many years’ mixture and Solera in position for half a century will thus contain always a tiny quantity of 50-year-old wine.
This method allows the old wine to educate the youngest are used to say the wine growers. It also allows to maintain a style, a continuity.
Solera in Champagne
The solera in barrels is not usual in Champagne but in fact, spare wines we use for the elaboration of our cuvées (champagnes non-milésimés) are, in the spirit, the application of a technique of Solera.
Please find below a brief video showing the solera method: