The charm of bubbles through the technique

27-03-2015

Author
Vinitaly Wine Blog

The charm of bubbles begins already in cellar. It’s an art, that of sparkling wine, which makes still wine a sweet-smelling liquid that shines its light with small and spherical bubbles dancing in the glass. Bubbles are many and with their float stimulate dreams and hopes. How is it possible? Let’s see together the bubbles for excellence, those that are created with the system called "Metodo Classico" or using French term "champenoise". The harvested grapes, with regards to Italian sparkling wines, generally are Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand and placed in small boxes, taken to the cellar to be pressed gently. Some companies differentiate stages of pressing. A first soft pressing originates a better must than the second, which generally is used for products of different quality.

However, once you got the must, there is the so-called clarification, when we see the separation of solids from the must itself. This is the moment when we are faced with a still wine into bottles with the addition of a solution, "liqueur de tirage", consisting of yeast and a series of useful substances to start the second fermentation in the bottle. The cork used in this step is a common crown cork, that of soft drinks. Now begins a second fermentation, which is called “presa di spuma”, that will transform a still wine into sparkling wine. The bottles, initially placed in a horizontal position, will undergo a series of routine operations, such as the "riddling" that can last from 12 to 36 months where the bottles, usually stacked according to a certain model of the cellar, are regularly shaked and turned. This operation is performed mechanically and serves to keep the yeast in suspension in the liquid. Even today there are those who use the "pupitres", on special racks that hold bottles with the crown cap pointed down, but now most use mechanical systems. However at this stage should be known that the bottles are periodically turn a quarter turn so as to allow that the deposits formed within the bottle slowly slipping towards the stopper. The following stage is that of disgorging, "dégorgement" in French, when a small amount of the liquid in the neck is freezed and then this plug of ice containing the lees is finally removed. The exit out of liquid determines the final cleaning of the sparkling wine that we're going to drink, but also a small loss of the wine that will be replaced with a solution called "liqueur de expedition", which contains in varying percentages sugar, carefully selected wine and, sometimes, traces of distillate. The "liqueur" is for every winery a sort of secret, because of its distinctive label. Many companies perform blends, "cuvée", in other words using wine from different production areas and vintage years, assembling them into highly secret percentages needed to give the sparkling wine that aromatic taste identifying each company. When we have a bottle where the vintage year is clearly stated, we have a "vintage" sparkling wine. The sparkling wine of this kind is the product of a single high-quality year.

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