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December 11, 2019

Where Do Sparkling Wines Come From?

Post by South Lyndale Liqours

by Daniel Brashi (Curator)

Dom Perignon, a blind monk, is credited with discovering how to make bubbles (by accident) and exclaiming, “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars.” Though there is no evidence he was blind. And likely sparkling wine has been made for a half century further south in Limoux.

Sparkling wines come from everywhere!

Sekt wines

Sekt - German or Austrian sparkling wines are often made in the traditional method. Formerly methode champenoise but after lobbying the European Union the term was restricted to be used only in Champagne. The process indicates the wine has undergone fermentation once and then a liqueur de tirage (small amount of sugar) is added and secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. This process is not exclusive to varietal and in the case of what will be poured Dec 28th the grape is Gruner Veltliner.

Come quickly! I am drinking the stars.

Below is a Sekt that we carry in-store.

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Blanc de blanc wines

Blanc de blanc - White of white. That is all the term means. White wine made from white grapes. Blanc de noirs is white of black. White wine made from black grapes.

In most cases, especially in Champagne blanc de blanc is made from Chardonnay though Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier and rarely Arbane (though less than a hectare remains in Champagne). But, something like the aforementioned Gruner Sekt is a blanc de blanc.

Below are some Blanc de blanc examples in our store.

Blanc de blanc sparkling wines

Cava wines

Cava - A place in Spain, Northeast Spain. The primary grapes are Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-O, though sometimes one might find Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Trepat (or Garnacha and Monastrell for rosé).

The similarities to Champagne can be uncanny. Some Cava rests on the lees for many years. During this time autolysis begins. In this process, there is a destruction of the lees (dead yeast cells) by their own enzymes. This is from where those toasty notes originate. The levels of sweetness also run the gamut the way Champagne does-from Brut Nature (bone dry) to dulce (sweet). Beautiful sparkling wines.

Below are some examples of Cava in our store.

Cava sparkling wine

Prosecco wine

Prosecco - fun, fizzy, light and juicy wine made from the Glera grape and in the Charmat method or Metodo Martinotti. Federico Martinotti patented the process in 1895 and Eugene Charmat improved upon in it 1907.  In this process wine undergoes first or secondary fermentation in large pressurized stainless-steel tanks rather than individual bottles and is bottled under pressure in a continuous process.

The wines come from Northeast Italy and specifically Valdobbiadine or Conegliano or a hyphenated version of the two. These are areas within the DOC. Prosecco can be sweet or very dry but has a unique mousse (thread of bubble) and always a specific flavor. Some of this is from the process, some from lack of Autolysis and some from the grape.

There are expensive exceptions wherein the wine is made like Champagne and does share similarities, but they are few. Unique to Prosecco and not often found outside of Pet-Nat is unfiltered sparkling wine. Col Fondo is a funky, cloudy less sweet/fruity style of Prosecco made in the most traditional style. The beads are very fine in Col Fondo and it is encouraged to give the bottles a little shake to get the lees moving.

Below are some nice Proseccos we carry in store.

Processo sparkling wineCol Fondo Prosecco sparkling wine
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