It’s a hot, sunny afternoon and you can’t decide if you should pop open that apple Cider you bought last night or have that Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay that was delivered by us today… You wanna drink both but is physically impossible. Well… What if I told you that you can have BOTH in a drink? Introducing the best of both worlds – sparkling wines!
Speaking of bubbly… How does a wine pretend to look like soda but still taste like wine? Sparkling wines go through two fermentation processes & it’s the second one that gives it its bubbly character. This is because the carbon dioxide released by the yeast has nowhere to go but into the wine. What makes one sparkling wine sparkle differently from another is where the secondary fermentation takes place and how long the wine is aged with the dead yeast cells – aka lees.
Method 1 – Traditional aka Champagne Method
The slowest, most costly but guaranteed high quality way to make things sparkle – all Champagne is born this way! The second fermentation occurs in a bottle where sugars & yeasts are added. This method produces smaller bubbles compared to the other methods. Do you know for winemakers outside of Champagne to refer to this production method, they will have to use a different name? Champagne means business!
The end product is a high quality and complex sparkling wine.
Method 2 – Transfer aka Hybrid Method
Similar to the Traditional, the secondary fermentation takes place inside a bottle. They are then emptied into a pressurized tank to filter off their sediments and repackaged into new bottles. This allows the wine to gain the benefits of lees-aging without the expense or time of riddling and disgorgement.
Method 3 – Charmat Process aka Tank Method
Invented in Italy, the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. This helps create larger bubbles! After this en masse fermentation, the winemaker either waits for the yeast to die or cool the tank directly. The end product is a fruity and aromatic sparkling wine that is youthful and easy to drink. Think Prosecco and Asti.
Myth: Champagne the only Sparkling Wine?
Ahoy! All Champagne are Sparkling Wines, but not all Sparkling Wines are Champagnes! Champagne refers to wine made in the winegrowing region of Champagne in the northeast of France! Expose your taste buds to other sparkling wines like the Italian Prosecco & Spanish Cava.
Fun Fact #1 Sweet Brut Psycho
On other occasions we might be referring to our exes, brut today we are looking at the dryness level in sparkling wines! Brut is used to define a dry sparkling wine & how this is done is by measuring the amount of residual sugar in grams per liter of wine. We will let our visuals do the talking.
Fun Fact #2 Sparkling Wine Glasses
Want to spice up your next hot date? Try impressing your date with some bubbly wine glass facts!
Fun Fact #3 Creamy & Nutty Sparkling Wines
Is it possible to taste a hint of brioche, caramel or honeycomb in sparkling wines? YES IT IS. Autolysis is the process when the wine sits in a bottle after their second fermentation. The longer the lees are in contact with the wine, the creamier it becomes! Oxygen during the wine process allows the subtle nuttiness of the oak barrel to infuse with the wine.
To put things into perspective, a Vintage Champagne requires about 3 years on the lees to develop a creamy and nutty texture. Its gonna cost more, but I’m telling you its worth every buck!
With that, lets pop some Champagne to celebrate the weekend!!!