Cards of Wine

Sparkling Wine Methods

Sparkling Wines

Champagne -"King of Bubbles"

Champagne has been associated with nobility and royalty since the 17th century. Today it is also very poular in the middle class, associated with parties, money, and victories.

Champagne is a generic term for sparkling wine. But according to EU restrictions, it is reserved for wines produced in the Champagne region of France.

Champagne must be produced from specified grapes, by specified vineyard methods, pressing methods, and fermentation methods.

"The King of Bubbles" is made from the grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, and comes in both white and rosé styles.

Champagne has strong acidity and is typically dry, but sweeter versions also exists.

The chalky soil of the Champagne district gives the wines a character of chalk, citrus, apple, bread, smoke nuts, and toast.

Méthode Champenoise

Méthode Champenoise is the method used to produce French Champagne.

Wine Glass

With Méthode Champenoise (the production method of Champagne), the first fermentation takes place in a tank, and a second fermentation takes place in the bottle.

Adding CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is not allowed.

The second fermentation starts by adding yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) and sugar to the bottle, and after about 1 year, the bubbles are completely developed.

The legend credit a Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon (1639-1715), for inventing sparkling wine when he bottled a wine before fermentation, but the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux from 1531.

The method is used for:

  • French Champagne
  • French Crémant
  • Spanish Cava
  • Italian Franciacorta
  • German Sekt
  • Portuguese Espumante

Méthode Champenoise is now reserved (by EU) for wines produced in Champagne:

CountryMust Use
EnglandTraditional Method
FranceMéthode Traditionnelle
SpainMétodo Tradicional
PortugalMétodo Tradicional
ItalyMetodo Classico
Metodo Tradizionale
GermanyKlassische Flaschengärung

French Crémant

The production method of Crémant is he same as Champagne, but often with other grapes.

n France, there are 8 Crémant appellations:

Crémant d'Alsace

The Primary grapes used in Crémant d'Alsace are:
Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Crémant de Bordeaux

The Primary grapes used in Crémant de Bordeaux are:
Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Crémant de Bourgogne

The Primary grapes used in Crémant de Bourgogne are the same as used in Champagne:
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Crémant de Die

The primary grapes used in Crémant de Die are:
Clairette, Aligoté, and Muscat.

Crémant de Jura

The primary grapes used in Crémant de Jura are:
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Trousseau.

Crémant de Limoux

The primary grapes used in Crémant de Limoux are:
Mauzac, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc.

Crémant de Loire

The primary grapes used in Crémant de Loire are:
Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir.

Crémant de Savoie

The primary grapes used in Crémant de Savoie are:
Jacquère, Altesse, and Chardonnay.

Spanish Sparkling

In Spain, Sparkling wine is called Cava, which means "Cellar".

Cava used to be called "Spanish Champagne", but this is no longer permitted in EU, since Champagne is a protected French name.

The production method is the same as for Champagne, but with other grapes:

  • Macabeu
  • Parellada
  • Xarel-lo.

Cava is an important part of the Catalan and Spanish tradition. It is consumed at any celebration (baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners, and parties).

Cava DO (Denominación de Origen) is not region based. Cava can be made anywhere in Spain, as long as it follows the production rules.

Anyway, 95 percent of all Cava is made in the Penedès wine region in Catalonia.

Cava has 3 aging styles:

  • Cava
  • Cava Riserva
  • Cava Gran Riserva

Italian Sparkling

In Italy, Sparkling wines are called Frizzante or Spumante.

Frizzante

Frizzante wines have light bubbles (2.5 - 3.5 bars of pressure).

The most famous Italian Frizzante wines are:

Prosecco
Moscato d'Asti

Most Frizzante wines are made using the "Charmat" method.


Charmat

The Charmat method is quicker and cheaper than the Champagne method.

With this method, wine, yeast, and sugar are mixed into a steel tank. The tank is sealed, and when the yeast consumes sugar, it releases bubbles in the wine.


Spumante

Spumante wines are fully sparkling (4 - 6 bars of pressure).

The most famous Italian Spumante wines are:

Asti Spumante
Prosecco Spumante

Italian Spumante wines are produced either with the Charmat method or Metodo Classico.


Metodo Classico

Metodo Classico is the Italian name for wines produced the same way as Champagne.

Alta Langa DOCG
Franciacorta DOCG
Greco di Tufo DOCGG
Oltrepò Pavese DOCG
Trentodoc DOC

Portuguese Sparkling

In Portugal, Sparkling wine is called Espumante. It has 3 quality levels:

VEQPRD

(Vinho Espumante de Qualidade Produzido em Região Determinada).

Método Tradicional wines, marked with the year of harvest, and stamped as VEQPRD. These wines are only produced in Bairrada DOC, south of Vinho Verde.

VFQPRD

(Vinho Frisante de Qualidade Produzido em Região Determinada).

Regional sparkling wines made with the Traditional, Charmat, or Transfer Method, in Douro, Ribatejo, Minho, Alentejo or Estremadura.

VQPRD

(Vinho de Qualidade Produzido em Região Determinada).

Sparkling wines made by the Traditional, Charmat, or Transfer method, anywhere in Portugal.


Espumoso

Espomoso is a low level sparkling wine, made by adding Carbon Dioxide - CO2.

Sugar Levels

Regulation
EC 607/2009
Sugar
gram/litre
Calories
/glass
Brut Nature (Brut Zero)0-33
Extra Brut 0-6 5
Brut 0-12 7
Extra Dry (Extra Sec, Extra Seco) 12-17 10
Dry (Sec, Seco) 17-32 20
Demi (Semi) 32-50 30
Doux (Sweet, Dulce) 50+ 30+