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Shine bright like a sparkling wine!

July 12 2019

Shine bright like a sparkling wine!

Italians… we love wine. We love producing it, drinking it and enjoying it. And it is not all about the bold reds or the fine whites, it is also about the bubbles: from the easy and refreshing sparkling wines produced with the Charmat method to the complex and buttery Spumanti metodo classico. Prosecco and Franciacorta, are for sure the most emblematic ones of the two categorises, but this is just part of the story. Anyway, do you know the difference between them?

Metodo Classico vs Metodo Charmat

First of all, let’s explain the difference between the two methods of production. To produce a sparkling, the wine has to undergo a second fermentation in an airtight container to keep the bubbles inside of it. There are two different methods to do this process:

  1. Metodo classico: aka Classic Method, Champagne Method, Champenoise Method;
  2. Metodo Charmat: aka Metodo Martinotti or Tank Method.

For both the starting point is a base wine to which the winemaker adds sugar and yeast to start the second fermentation. In the first case, this process takes place in the bottles, which are placed with their neck facing down and rotated continuously so that the sediments settle on the cap. Once the process is over, the neck of the bottles is frozen and the cap is removed so that the pressure pushes out the deposit. Last but not least a dosage is added into the bottles to replace the missing wine and to decide how dry the final product will be.

The famous pupitre where winemakers do the remuage for sparkling wines
The famous pupitre where winemakers do the remuage for sparkling wines

In the second case, the fermentation takes place in a big stainless steel pressure tank called autoclave. Being under pressure, the autoclave can keep the carbon dioxide, developed during the second fermentation, inside the tank. To eliminate residual yeasts, the wine is filtered and then the dosage is added before bottling.

Prosecco vs Franciacorta

Prosecco and Franciacorta are probably the most renowned Italian sparkling wines, but they differ in:

  • The production method
  • The wine production area
  • The grape varieties
  • Body, flavours and aromas
  • The pairing with food

Prosecco is produced in Northeast Italy (Friuli Venezia Giulia and almost all Veneto) using Glera as the main grape variety (at least 85%). It is a charmat-method-sparkling wine, with a light body characterized by freshness and fruitiness. For this reason, it pairs perfectly with finger foods, appetizers, row fish, shrimps, sushi and Asian cuisine. The Franciacorta is produced in a small area called Franciacorta (as the wine itself) between the city of Brescia and Lake Iseo (both in Lombardy). The grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco. Franciacorta is a classic-method-sparkling wine, thus resulting in a rich wine, with a fine perlage and aromas of bread due to the rest on the yeasts. Therefore, it is the perfect match for seafood, shellfish, oysters and risotto. Do not miss the opportunity to taste these amazing wines on a Prosecco or Franciacorta wine tour.

Franciacorta wine bottles
Franciacorta wine bottles

Not just Prosecco and Franciacorta

There are many others wine which can be produced in the sparkling way. Talking about the typical wine of Verona and Lake Garda, it is quite common to find, especially in the boutique wineries, Soave, Lugana and Custoza in their sparkling version. At Cantina Tessari, a family-owned winery in the heart of the Soave classic region you can taste their Soave sparkling produced with the charmat method on a Soave and Amarone tour. In Sirmione, just a few minutes from the shore of Garda Lake, Cascina Maddalena produces a Lugana Spumante Metodo Classico, that you can enjoy paired with a fabulous lunch on a Lake Garda, Lunch and Lugana tour. Do you feel like popping into the fabulous world of the Italian sparkling wines? Then hop on a Pagus minivan. We wait for you!

Sparkling wine tasting
Sparkling wine tasting

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