Sparkling Wines - Carbonation
Sparkling wine is a beverage that can be produced through different carbonation methods. The Traditional or Champenoise method, used to produce champagne, is considered of higher quality and involves a second fermentation in the bottle after the initial fermentation and bottling. The Charmat or Granvas method involves a second fermentation in large tanks before bottling, while the carbonation method involves injecting gas directly into the wine through an industrial process.
During the champagne-making process, a special cork is used to seal the bottle and prevent sediment from settling in the neck. The Champagne region, in northeastern France, is the protected designation of origin in the European Union where champagne is produced, mixing different types of grapes such as chardonnay, meunier, pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot blanc, arbanne, and petit meslier.
For optimal taste, it is suggested to serve champagne at a temperature between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius in a wine glass or a high tulip-shaped glass, while avoiding the flat pompadour glass. The origins of champagne date back to Roman times, although it was in the 17th century when some families in the Champagne region popularized the consumption of wine in the English and French courts. The monk Dom Pérignon introduced changes in wine production, including the harvesting of ripe grapes and the blending of wines from different plots.
The history of champagne is fascinating and full of interesting details. It dates back to Roman times, when the Champagne region in France was already known for its wine, called vinum titillum. In the 15th century, the term “champagne” was used in Paris to refer to this type of wine, although initially it did not refer to the region itself, but to uncultivated lands.
It was in the 17th century when some families in the region popularized the consumption of wine in the English and French courts. However, pale wines with low alcohol content, especially those bottled during the spring equinox, presented a worrying effervescence that caused bubbles to appear in the bottles and the corks to burst. Despite these problems, the production of this sparkling wine continued due to its popularity in England, and solutions were sought to control the pressure in the bottle.
In 1670, a monk named Dom Pérignon, belonging to the Benedictine Abbey of Hautvillers, introduced several modifications in wine production, including the selective harvesting of grapes and the blending of different types of grapes. He also perfected the bottling process, sealing the bottles with a special cork and allowing the second fermentation to occur in the bottle instead of in large tanks. In this way, he controlled the pressure and quality of the wine, and ensured that the bottle did not explode.
Although champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region and is protected by the European Union’s quality protection, the term “champagne” is commonly used to describe sparkling wine produced in various parts of the world, such as cava. To obtain the optimal taste of champagne, it is suggested to serve it at a temperature between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius in a wine glass or a high tulip-shaped glass, and avoid the flat pompadour glass. The history and production process of champagne are fascinating and contribute to its prestige and position as one of the most exquisite and appreciated wines worldwide.