How Sparkling Wine is Made
There are three methods that may be used to make sparkling wine. These methods are:
Methode Champenoise is the most labor-intensive and costly of these.
- the Transfer Method,
- Charmat Bulk process and
- Methode Champenoise.
Before we get into how sparkling wines are made, we should first make a distinction between sparkling wine and champagne. Champagne is sparkling wine, but sparkling wine is not necessarily champagne. True champagne is produced in the Champagne region of France by using the Methode Champenoise and is produced from a high quality grape. In many circles in the United States, the term "champagne" has become a general term to include any sparkling wine. These are frequently made from inferior grapes through bulk processing and are often sweetened to mask their inferior quality. They are not true Champagnes.
Sparkling wines are made from both white and red grape varieties. The quality of the fruit is critical to the outcome of the finished product. In the Champagne region of France, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier are used. But in other internationally recognized sparkling regions, like Asti, other varieties such as Muscat Blanco may be used. The grapes are harvested earlier than those picked for still (table) wine. There are several reasons for this early harvesting. One reason is to obtain a lower alcohol level in the cuvee (wine made from the initial fermentation, also called "base" wine). During the fermenting process the sugar is converted to alcohol, therefore the lower the sugar content of the grapes, the lower the alcohol content of the finished product. The reason for the lower alcohol content in the base wine is that the wine will go through another fermentation process that will increase the alcohol level. Another reason for harvesting grapes while at a lower sugar level is to produce a higher total acidity and lower pH rating. This adds longevity and crispness to the wine.
Now lets take a look at the three different methods vintners may use to make sparkling wines. Methode Champenoise is a more labor-intensive and expensive method than the other two methods of producing sparkling wine. After harvesting the fruit, the juice is pressed and put into containers for the first fermentation. These containers are either stainless steel vats or oak barrels. When the first fermentation is complete, various lots of wine are blended together to produce an assemblage (the final blend of varieties for the finished wine). Then a mixture of yeast and sugar, called a triage, is added to the base wine. The wine is bottled with a small plastic cup that fits in the neck of the bottle and collects any sediment. This small plastic cup is called a "bidule" The second fermentation takes place in the bottle and due to the sugar and yeast being added, alcohol and carbon dioxide are produced. Due to carbon dioxide formation and pressures up to 90 pounds per square inch, bottles for Champagne and sparkling wine must be thicker than regular wine bottles. During the second fermentation, temperature plays an important role. Cooler temperatures produce finer bubbles. Once the second fermentation is complete, dead yeast cells begin to break down and form a sediment in the wine. This process is called autolysis. The winemaker decides how long to allow for the autolysis process and this in turn has an impact on the final taste of the wine. The sediment must then be removed without losing the carbon dioxide and sparkle. The first step in doing this is riddling or remuage. In years past, this was done by inserting the neck of the wine bottle into a rack, called a pupitres, that would hold it at a 45 degree angle so the dead yeast cells would settle into the neck where the bidule was attached. Then every few days, a trained person, called a remuer, would give each of the bottles a quick shake and increase the angle of the bottles until they were eventually positioned completely downward, thereby collecting all the sediment in the neck. Today, the riddling process is automated. Next the sediment is removed by disgorgement. This is where the bottle is placed neck down in an icy brine to freeze the sediment into a solid plug. The cap is then removed and the pressure inside the bottle causes the frozen sediment to be expelled. Then a "dosage" is added. This dosage is a small amount of wine mixed with sugar and sometime brandy and it determines the sweetness or dryness of the sparkling wine. The bottle is then corked and secured with a wire hood.
The Transfer Method of making sparkling wine is similar to the Methode Champenoise except that instead of riddling to remove the sediment, the wine is transferred to a pressurized tank where the sediment is filtered. It is then bottled, corked and secured with a wire hood in preparation for sale to the public.
The Charmat Bulk Process is the quickest and least expensive method of making sparkling wine. With this process, instead of the wine going through the second fermentation in the bottle, the base wine is placed in a temperature-controlled, pressurized tank to which sugar and yeast is added. The secondary fermentation takes place in this tank without the release of any carbon dioxide. This tank acts like a very large bottle. Once the fermenting is complete, the wine is filtered under counter pressure and bottled using a counter-pressure filler. Because the wine has not spent the same amount of time in contact with the carbon dioxide, the bubbles tend to be larger and dissipate more quickly.
Marcia Parks is a wine reviewer and publisher of a wine review web site. To read reviews and learn more about wine visit http://www.wine-reviewer.com
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
News Briefs for December 13, 2017Shanken News Dailyâ€¢Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. will add Chateauneuf-du-Pape's Domaine de la Solitude to its import portfolio effective January 1. Domaine de la Solitude's estate is a contiguous 100 acres, planted to 86 acres of red grapes and 14.8 acres of white grapes, with ...
Sizzling Kim Crawford Looks To Expand Beyond Sauvignon BlancShanken News DailyConstellation's Kim Crawfordâ€”the third-largest above-$14 wine brand in the U.S.â€”has recorded another year of torrid growth, with total production rising to about 1.6 million cases for 2017. In the U.S. market, the brand is on pace to rise 13% to 1.3 ...
Total Wine Spirits & More opens in WestburyNewsdayThat gives you an idea of the scope of Total Wine Spirits & More, which opened in Westbury on Nov. 9 inside the former Sports Authority and is now Long Island's largest wine store, as well as the state's only Total Wine. (This sprawling chain, owned by ...
Ideal Wine Temperature
The ideal temperature to store wines is between 55ºF and 58ºF (13ºC-15ºC). However, any temperature between 40º-65ºF (5º-18ºC) will suffice as long as it remains constant.
How To Open Champagne
I manage a highly regarded web community for corporate flight attendants and the subjects we discuss on our forum include: how to get hired, appropriate business attire, taxes and accounting, safety issues, and food service. The latter category can, at times, be a real hot button issue with opinions divurging and colliding frequently, even on the simplest matters.
The Carignane grape variety is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It's popularity stems from the high crop yeilds that it produces as well as the characteristics that it can bring to a wine.
Merlot wine is a rich, soft wine with the flavor of blackberries, beloved because it is seldom harsh and not as acidic as a Cabernet Sauvignon with which it is often blended. Merlot wine has the added advantage of being rich and supple but only moderately tannic and, therefore, wonderfully drinkable from early on.
Using Cooking Wine
Cooking wine is sort of a holdover from prohibition. People who grew up thinking Alcohol is Evil didn't want to have any in their homes.
Whisky syndicates are groups of private owners and many have been around for years. The main purpose is to bring together a group of like-minded people to enjoy the benefits of cost sharing in order to invest in whisky casks and to eventually bottle for private consumption.
Who Made the First Wine Anyway?
Although details are understandably sketchy, it is believed that, around 6000 BC, grapes were being grown and wine was being made in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).Mesopotamia and EgyptWine was popular with the pharaohs of ancient Egypt from about 3000 BC onwards.
An Introduction to Wine
What is wine?Wine has been made for centuries from just a two simple ingredients: yeast and grape juice. Actually, just about any fruit juice can be used, but by far the majority of all wine is made from the juice of the grape.
Overcoming Red Wine Spills
Red wine spills can be a disaster whether they occur in your home or onboard your $43 million executive jet as members of our corporate flight attendant web community are quick to point out. Taking care of a spill is another thing, but we have discovered two "tried and true" solutions to the problem.
It was once a ritual usually performed by a man. He would put some salt where the bottom of the thumb met his wrist.
Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape responsible for the wines of Bordeaux's Medoc region, arguably some of the finest reds in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon performs well practically the world over, as long as it's not too cold, but in certain appellations in France, and more recently in California's Napa Valley, it produces wines that astonish with their richness and complexity.
Beer, Wine and Your Bones
If you like the taste of a good brew, then here is some good news! In a recent research study of over 2,900 women and men, researchers found that beer, which contains silicon, may promote bone health. Silicon is a mineral that is thought to stimulate collagen production, which is a building block in bone formation.
Build Your Own Wine Rack (In An Afternoon)
A good drink is what even Gods enjoy and to most a good wine is the best drink in the world. The connoisseurs of wine say that to find out a good wine is to smell and taste it.
Wine and Your Health
During the 1990s, a physician voiced on a national TV show that drinking red wine reduces heart disease. It made all the headlines.
Wine Etiquette With Ease
Correct wine etiquette makes the tasting experience much more enjoyable. Like most interests, there is a set of protocol that most wine lovers adhere to.
The Harmony between Wine and Food
Wine is a social drink which should be enjoyed in the company of friends and ..
Food - Wine Pairing Tips For French and Italian Wines
Many people are intimidated by the task of selecting wine in a fine restaurant. This article is intended to provide a simple guide that will enable anyone to feel confident enough to choose a wine that will impress their dinner guests.
The Truth About Red Wine and Heart Disease
Red Wine, Heart Disease, Hungry Sharks and Knights in Shining ArmorWhat is so special about wine? What is it that makes it potentially more protective against coronary heart disease, and perhaps other diseases, that other forms of alcohol?In recent years, scientists have concluded without doubt that many human diseases such as heart disease, cancer and the aging process is caused or stimulated by a ravenous group of chemicals called free radicals, that act like hungry sharks. These highly charged little villains prowl the body and attack healthy cell membranes through a process that is called oxidation.
An Idiots Guide To Wine Tasting
Have you ever seen those stiff upper-lipped types doing a spot of the old wine tasting malarkey? You know the form - sip, swill, spit. Yuck! Well this information has been written to help you understand the form should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to know what to do.
Uses of Mirror Tinted Contact Lenses
Mirror tinted contact lenses have become a topic of interest among many Americans. This is because the market for crazy contact lenses has continued to grow and be popular, so, as a result, contact companies are continually faced with making the next best thing.