Champagne vs. Sparkling Wines

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This is one of my older videos… I wasn’t going to put it up on the site, but I thought it was short, to the point… and most importantly it highlights, some EXCELLENT VALUE SPARKLING WINES, so pay attention!!!

How is Champagne or Sparkling wine made? Well there are only really 4 methods to creating those little bubbles in your glass, and if you look close enough, you may even be able to guess which method was used.

1. Traditional Method- This is the most time consuming, laborious, and quality driven method. Therefore, only the best Sparkling wines are made using this method. The still wine will undergo a SECONDARY FERMENTATION inside the bottle. The bottle must be stored inverted at an angle so that the sediment works it’s way down to the neck of the bottle. A “remueur” will rotate the bottles, shaking them up a little bit to facilitate the process. This process is called “riddling” and can now be done using a machine called a gyropalette. After the sediment is disgorged(the neck of the bottle is frozen so to reduce loss of wine), the bottle will be topped of with a mixture of cane sugar and wine called “liqueur d’expedition”. This process has it’s on name: dosage. This method is used for any and all Champagne and Cava, and may be used for other Sparkling wines throughout the world.

Champagne (from the Champagne region in northern France) and Cava (from Penedes, Spain) must be made using the Traditional method

2. Transfer Method – a little less expensive than the Tradtitional Method and basically begins the exact same way as the traditional method, except that disgorgement happens in bulk. All of the bottles are emptied into a big tank under pressure, filtered and rebottled into a fresh bottle.

3. The Tank Method- (also called cuve close, or Charmat Method) In this method the entire secondary fermentation happens in a sealed tank. The sediment is removed by filtration under pressure. This reduces production costs significantly, and thus can create less expensive Sparkling wines like Asti (from Italy) and Deutcher Sekt/Sekt (from Germany)

4. Carbonation- This is the absolute cheapest method of creating the “sparkle” and it shows. This doesn’t use secondary fermentation to create the bubbles, instead, CO2 is injected into the wine. This created large, short lived bubbles. In france these must be labelled vin gazeifie, and in the UK are known as sparkling light British wines.

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