Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Did You Know?... About Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wines are wines, usually white or rosé with bubbles of carbon dioxide. The most famous is Champagne from France, along with Spumante and Muscato d'Asti from Italy, though most every wine region produces their own version.

For a sparkling wine, the grapes are usually carefully selected for much different criteria than other wines. Fermentation is begun like most other wines. To achieve the bubbles, most sparkling wines undergo a process of secondary fermentation (though cheaper versions can just have the carbon dioxide bubbles injected). 

In the Champagne style, the wine is put into a heavy-duty bottle and allowed to ferment further, trapping the gas from the fermentation process. With this style, it's necessary for the winemaker to move the bottles frequently to allow the yeasts to settle (a process called riddling) then quickly open the bottle to remove the resulting sediment before final sale.

In the Charmat process, the wine is stored in a pressurized tank for the secondary fermentation, before being transferred to their final bottling. 

In French wines, sparkling wines are the only ones allowed to add sugar during the fermentation process (called chapitalization). This gives them greater control over the final sweetness of the wine, and lets them produce the full range from sweet dessert styles (Demi-Sec to Doux) to bone dry sparkling wine (Brut to Brut Nature).


No comments:

Post a Comment