Charmat Method vs Classic Method: a challenge to the last bubble!
Who has never wondered at least once how our beloved sparkling wines are produced? Thanks to this new blog article, we will guide through the many sparkling wine productive methods that gift us with the well-loved bubbles!
But let’s be clear: does Prosecco mean Sparkling wine?
Prosecco is the name of the wine that is being produced using many sparkling methods, following precise guidelines and safeguarded the Prosecco DOC Consorzio, the Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG Consorzio and the Asolo-Montello DOCG Consorzio. “Sparkling” as well as “Fizzy” only indicate the production methods. From the Glera grapes we obtain the Prosecco wine, meaning that the Glera is the vine variety. The Glera grapes – outside the DOC or DOCG appellation area – give rise to glera wines or general white wines.
Fizzy = Sparkling?
No, “fizzy” and “sparkling” represent two different vinification methods. The main difference stands in the intensity of the CO2 pressure inside the liquid: for our sparkling wines the pressure is at least 3 bar, meanwhile for our fizzy wines the pressure is between 1 and 2,5 bar. The result is that sparkling wines have more effervescence and more bubble development, the so-called perlage. This is the reason why wines are bottled in glasspressure-resistant bottles, with a cage protecting the mushroom cork and avoiding that the internal pressure will unexpectedly throw it out. The bubbles of both fizzy and sparkling wines are produced by the second fermentation, from which the carbon dioxide is originated. If we take sparkling wines, we will call “Classic Method Sparkling wine” if this ri-fermentation takes place inside the bottle, and “Martinotti or Charmat Method Sparkling wine” if the rifermentation takes place inside autoclaves. Typically, fizzy wines are produced using the Charmat method, even though lately and in some specific areas, are very common the PET NAT wines.
Let’s now understand better the difference between the two sparkling wine production methods. Are you curious? Charmat method and Classic Method: a challenge to the last bubble!
Every sparkling wine production methods starts with a still base wine, that is Glera wine for Prosecco DOC and DOCG and other grape varieties like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay for generic sparkling wines or for the more famous Classic Methods, such as Franciacorta or Champagne. The must, obtained from the grapes, has already undergone its first fermentation process that transformed it into wine.
At this point the wine maker can choose to carry out one of the two sparkling production methods: the Charmat Method or the Classic Method.
The Charmat Method expects the second fermentation to take place in autoclaves, which are a airtight steel tanks. For the Charmat method, the base wine that will undergo the second fermentation will be put into autoclaves after a quality-improving filtration. At this point, the base wine, the selected yeast and sugars (that in the case of our wines are organic) are added to the autoclave; these will make the start of the second fermetation possible and will allow to carry it out in the right way. The Prosecco DOC/DOCG is exactly obtained using this method, following the guidelines stated by the Consorzio.
The Classic Methos is used for the famous Champagne wines: this expact the second fermentation to take place inside the bottles and not into autoclaves.
To the base wine is added the Liqueur de Tirage, which consists of a mix of wine, yeasts and sugars that is able to produce the “prise de mousse” (secondary fermentation) inside the bottle. The bottle is then closed: the tightness traps the CO2 inside the bottle, adding bubbles to the wine. In a second moment, the bottle is carefully and slowly turned upside down in order for the dead yeasts to concentrate inside the bottle neck: now the Degorgement technique is carried out. This process consists in freezing the bottle neck where the dead yeasts are contained and, once the crown cap is taken off, the frozen mix is expelled thanks to the internal pressure of the bottle. Now to the obtained sparkling wine it can be added the Liqueur d’Expedition, which is a mix of syrup wine and sugar, in order to top-up the wine lost during the Degorgment process.
Our Organic- certified Sparkling Classic Method
The result of the harmony between Chardonnay and Manzoni Bianco grapes, our Sparkling Classic Method stays in contact with the yeasts for 36 months. As it is a Brut Nature, during the Degorgement neither sugars nor the Liqueur d’Expedition are added.
Thanks to its intense colour and aromas of ripe-fruits and honey, enriched with floreal and sourdough bread notes, our Classic Methos gained a score of 91/100 at the Wine Without Walls competition – 5 Star Wines at Vinitaly 2022 and it won the broze medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022.
The Decanter World Wine Award is the biggest and most influential oenological competition worldwide , and it is probably the most reliable source of advices for wine-lovers around the world. It is thanks to this trusted partnership that Decanter has with an international audience made of consumers and professionists that makes DWWA different from all other competitions, along with recognized panels and a strict assesment process.