Sparkling wines

Sparkling, "bubbles", wines with bubbles are very different. These include the magnificent champagne, and the democratic prosecco, and the simple effervescent lambrusco. They differ in taste, color, sugar, production technology, aging. Depending on the method of production, they acquire subtlety and elegance, or vice versa, their absence, as well as characteristic flavors. It is conditionally possible to distribute them into high-quality and “pop”, but there are also more subtle gradations.

What is sparkling wine

Sparkling wines are those that are rich in carbon dioxide, which makes them effervescent. Carbon dioxide appears in them naturally during fermentation. Appetizing bubbles (or perlage, as they rise like a thin pearl thread from the bottom of the glass) - this is the carbon dioxide preserved during production.

The most famous sparkling wines are champagne, franciacorta, cava, prosecco, lambrusco, asti.

Still wines are called still wines.

Production methods and types

Carbon dioxide is always a by-product of alcoholic fermentation (the conversion of sugar into alcohol by yeast). If you carry out alcoholic fermentation in a closed vessel, then carbon dioxide will remain inside and the wine will turn out sparkling.

There are several methods of their production, but two are the most qualitative and popular: the traditional (champagne) method and the charm (reservoir) method.
  • Champenoise (traditional, classic, champagne). The name méthode champenoise - "champagne method" is only allowed for sparkling wines produced in Champagne in France. It consists in the fact that the secondary fermentation takes place in a closed bottle, in which the wine will then be sold. Famous wines such as French champagne and cremant, Italian franciacorta and Trento DOC (Trentodoc) are produced using the traditional method. a>, Spanish cava, Cap Classic in South Africa. Classic sparkling wines can also be found in many other wine regions of the world from individual winemakers. For more information about the method and about which wines, besides Champagne, are made according to the champagne method and cost more humane, read here.
  • Charmat (charm, reservoir, cuve close). Its essence is that wine undergoes secondary alcoholic fermentation in a large closed vat, and bottled under pressure at low temperature. This is a simpler and cheaper technology than the classic champagne method. It has its own gradations and nuances. It can produce fine, elegant, quality wines, such as the famous Italian Prosecco. Or maybe not;
  • Ancestrale, rurale , petnates). Came into fashion in the wake of interest in natural wines under the name "Petnata" (Pétillant Naturel, hence Pét-Nat). They are characterized by spontaneous secondary fermentation in the bottle, in contrast to the classical method, in which it is controlled.
  • Frizzante is the same fizz when the wine is saturated with carbon dioxide, like regular soda. These are simple and unpretentious wines, among the most famous are red semi-sweet lambrusco.

Classification by sugar content

For most sparkling wines, the level of sweetness is determined by how much sugar was in the expedition (dose) liquor - a mixture of wine and sugar added after secondary alcoholic fermentation.

For classics, there is a category Brut Nature (Pas Dosé, Dosage Zero, Ultra Brut), which means that no sugar was added.

Other sweetness categories: brut), dry (extra dry), semi-dry (sec/dry/secco), semi-sweet (demi-sec/semiseco) and sweet (doux / dulce / sweet).

Brut is the most popular category. Many believe that it is in this version that high-quality sparkling wines perform best. Although connoisseurs of Brut Nature are also of great interest.