STILL WINE AND SPARKLING WINE: BRUNELLO, SUPER TUSCANS, CHIANTI OR PROSECCO
Still wines look like a coffer made of precious and massive materials as gold and silver, copper or platinum. In the glass, we will have a thick liquid, with dark tones that as soon as it opens in a large balloon glass or in our palate it will reveal all the precious gem stones jealously kept inside.
An introvert wine you could call it.
Totally different “extroverted” are the sparkling wines and, above all, “prosecco” wine and champagne: they show immediately their personality in the flutes through their rising bubbles communicating joy and movement.
CLASSIC METHOD AND MARTINOTTI_CHARMAT METHOD
In Italy, two traditions run parallel for the realization of sparkling “spumante” wines. One is the “classic” method, also called Champenoise, from France, born in the Champagne region indeed;
The second is the French-Italian ” Martinotti-Charmat” method: Federico Martinotti invented in the end of ‘800 the method which provides the rest of the wine in the autoclave and Eugene Charmat developed the autoclave, which is a large and special airtight tank.
In both methods, the grapes are the same used to produce the champagne: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, and in many cases even pinot blanc. The result is always a white wine, occasionally pink, although the pinot noir, as the name implies is a red grape.
IN THE VINEYARD, AND INTO THE CELLAR
Starting from the vineyard, the grapes dedicated to the production of sparkling wine are harvested a little earlier their maturation because during fermentation they have to maintain a fairly high acidity degree to ensure freshness and youth effect on your palate.
The grape juice from the various grape varieties and even grapes from different years, are then blended: the typical taste of a particular prosecco or champagne is determined precisely by this blend that is called “cuvée”, and is held secret from each winery to another.
If the blend is composed of grapes at least 85% of the same year, we will read on the label that the wine is “vintage”, if the grapes are put together from different years, the sparkling wine will be “non vintage”; vintages wines rest in the cellar 3-5 years, while the other 2-3 years.
SECOND FERMENTATION: SYRUP DRAW
At this point the “liqueur de tirage” is inserted into the wine, this syrup is made up of yeast and sugar, after that, bottling takes place.
Then in any single bottle there will be a second fermentation that begins to form the dear bubbles. While the bubbles are forming, yeast and sugar work and work, get tired and run out to the point of becoming inert material: that’s why the bottles rest upside down, with the cap and neck lower then the body of a bottle, because there, near the cap, and then near the exit, there will be the waste of yeast and sugar, which will be eliminated afterwards.
So we are in another important step in the production of a good sparkling wine, with lots of flavor and lots of bubbles: the “degorgement”, and will find it written in the labels of the best sparkling wines, with the year and sometimes the month in which it occurred.
AT LAST: THE DOSAGE SYRUP
For our complete pleasure there is still a passage: the dosage.
Disgorgement has left a small gap in the bottle which is filled with the ” liqueur d’expedition “, the dosage syrup, the composition of which is another typical secret of the wineries producing sparkling wine.
A sparkling wine is called “dosage zero” or “pas dosé” when the addition is only of wine and alcohool and no sugar, extra brut and brut when the syrup contains a small percentage of sugar, dry and demi-sec a larger percentage of sugar, while it will be “sweet” when the dosage syrup has a very high percentage of sugar.
The time to put the typical mushroom-shaped cork and the wire cage around it to keep it firmly closed, has arrived
Finally we are ready to open it.