Last night we did another part of our winetasting course. The theme of the first part of the evening was French sparklers. We tasted 10 different ones, amongst them two champagnes, some crémants and some others.
The interesting part of course was whether the tasters - us, almost all working with wine or vines, vignerons, teachers in tasting, one buyer and the apprentice, me - would be able to find the champagnes amongst the others.
Four ways to make bubbly
One of the decisive explanations whether a bottle of bubbly cost one or 20 euros is, how the bubbles entered the bottle in the first place. On top of that, add how long the bubbles have spent in the bottle before you'll find it in the shops.
The bubbles are born in different ways:
- 1. Vins gazéfies: Still wine with carbonic acid added.
Example: Some sparkling wines.
- 2. Cuve close: Still wine, where sugar and yeast is added in a completely closed container. The second fermentation takes place here, and the bubbly wine will be transferred to bottles afterwards.
Eksempler: Some sparkling wines.
- 3. Méthode rurale/ancestrale: Orginal method, the bubbles originate from sugar left from the first fermentation, stopped by cold weather. It naturally fermentates for a second time, and the bubbles arrive.
Examples: Vin de Blanquette, Blanquette de Die, AOC Gaillac.
- 4. Méthode traditionelle: In Champagne also called Méthode champenoise. Sugar and yeast is added to the still wine, transferred to the bottle, where it fermentates for the second time. The bottle mature: At least 12 months for crémants, at least 15 months for non vintage champagnes and at least 36 months for vintage champagnes.
Examples: Champagne, Crémant d'Alsace, Bourgogne, Loire, Limoux, Die, Bordeaux and Jura.