Bubbles: an effervescent journey through Prosecco, Franciacorta, Alta Langa and much more
Bubbles group together a wide range of wines with a more or less fine perlage which, whether dry, sweet or fruity, accompany some of our most pleasant moments, such as aperitifs, after dinner and, why not, even whole meals.
Bubbles, whether French or Italian, are immediately distinguished from each other by an appearance clearly visible to the naked eye: the fineness and persistence of the pérlage, ie the size of the bubbles (if small and fine or coarser) and for their quantity, to make it simple, in the generality of their effervescence.
These first, big differences will make us immediately understand if we are observing an elegant champagne or a fragrant prosecco.
The methods of vinification of bubbles are mainly two: the Classic Method and the Charmat Method, which give the wines their particular effervescence because, initially, any bubble is born as a classic wine which is then given bubbles at a later time.
Bubbles: the Charmat Method
The Charmat Method was invented by Martinotti of Asti, in short, it is an all-Italian method, although its name derives from the French Eugéne Charmat, who patented the equipment needed to activate Martinotti's method.
The wine is fermented in an autoclave at controlled pressure and temperature for a period ranging from 1 to 6 months, during which the yeasts transform the natural sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The sparkling wine, or the gift of pérlage to the wine, takes place before bottling, which are already ready to be drunk.
Bubbles: the Classic Method
The Classical Method was born in the seventeenth century in France in the region of Champagne, where it is called Champenoise Method,and involves a much longer process than the previous one.
The bottles of wine are put to rest in a horizontal position for a period ranging from 6 to 30 months to allow the yeasts to activate.
After this first phase, the bottles are put to rest in an inclined position, with the neck facing downwards, and rotated by 1/8 daily for the phase that is called Remuage.
The Remuage leads to the slow and progressive fall of the yeasts towards the neck of the bottle, a necessary position for the next step.
After about 1 or 2 months of rest with screwing of the bottle daily, the yeasts will now be completely deposited on the neck thanks to the change of position of the bottle itself that, after this period of rest, will be almost vertical.
At this point the most particular phase of the Method, the Disgorgement or Degorment: with special machines the neck of the bottle is frozen (together with the yeasts inside it) and literally exploded so that the first part of the wine is expelled from the remaining body in the bottle with the yeasts.
To compensate for the part of the wine that has allowed the expulsion of the yeasts, the bottle is topped up with the so-called Liqueur d'Expedition consisting of sugars and reserve wines, whose recipe is strictly segregated from each Maison as the mixing with the rest of the body of the wine affects the flavor and aroma.
The great skill of the Maison lies in knowing how to mix this step with perfect balance.
The disgorgement gives sweetness to the sparkling wine, which is why in some cases, to obtain absolutely dry wines without residual sugar, after Degorgement is not added the Liqueur d'Expedition so as to give life to the sparkling wines that are called Pas Dosé or Dosaggio Zero, that is, precisely, totally devoid of sugary components.