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Champenoise or Charmat?

Regardless of the method, most important is the result. Sparkling wines are the same as “Champagne” but cannot be called Champagne unless they come from the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wines produced outside of the Champagne region can be labeled Méthode Champenoise, FranciaCorta, Cava.

Méthode Champenoise is rich and complex with smaller and finer bubbles, while sparkling wines made with the Charmat Method, have a pleasant acidity and are more citrusy with a robust perlage: Prosecco and Moscato Spumante.

Méthode Champenoise

The principle of the classic method is also based on secondary fermentation however this time it occurs in the bottle. The principle is substantially the same as the Charmat Method but the time needed to complete the process is completely different: starting from a minimum of three years. In fact, in this case the yeast is not only the agent causing the transformation from base wine to sparkling wine but it is also an element of primary importance in the flavor of the sparkling wine as during the long period of presence in the bottle it infuses its aromas into the wine.

Carefully chosen yeasts and sugar are added to the base wine made up of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero and Chardonnay: the bottles are closed with bidule capsules and crown caps and stacked in racks where the slow fermentation cycle commences at about 14°. Every 12 months the stacks of bottles are dismantled and the bottles are shaken energetically, after which they are repositioned in the stacks.

After at least 36 months the bottles are placed on riddling racks – wooden boards with neck holes for the inverted positioning of wine bottles. Riddling takes place, thanks to the careful turning of the bottles (they are moved about 1/8 at a time) and in about forty days the yeast is deposited into the bidule capsules. At this point disgorgement takes place: the bottles are placed upside down in a machine containing liquid glycol at –20° which freezes the wine held in the bottleneck within a couple of minutes.

With the bottles now inclined to about 45° the crown taps are removed and by effect of the pressure inside the bottle (of about 6 atmospheres) the frozen part containing the lees is automatically expelled. At this point the liqueur d’expedition is added – basically this is a compound of sugar and an extraordinary mix of wines aged in barrique for years. The liqueur d’expedition is required to infuse the sparkling wine with a particular flavour and it is for this reason that each company has their own particular recipe.

Liqueur d’expedition is added to the Bisol Riserva, Rosé and Cuvée wines but not to the Pas Dosé which as the name itself suggest is “without dosage” in its natural state. At this point the bottles are corked and left to age for at least one month.

Charmat Method

The production process starts by harvesting Glera between the middle of September and the middle of October. During the harvest, the grapes are picked by passing through the vineyard at least three times in order to guarantee their perfectly mature state. The grapes, placed in steel pipes, are gradually brought to a temperature of 8°, starting the cryo-maceration process that consists of maintaining the fermentation temperature for fourteen hours in order to enhance the aromatic characteristics of the grape variety.

The compound is then transferred to the pneumatic press – the historic Wilmess – where three different press cycles are carried out. After which most of the deposits have to be filtered out of the must and the fermentation period begins: Bisol use four different types of primary fermentation. The first takes place in steel vats with weekly racking and ends on average within 20 days. The second takes place in barriques with fifteen-day racking plus lees stirring every 7 days to keep the yeast in suspension.

The third type takes place in steel tanks without racking but with continuous tank agitation. The fourth occurs in steel tanks with frequent racking, every three days, and gradual temperature reduction. After fermentation and a brief period of aging we begin the preparation of the Cuvée: from our plots we obtain varying types of grapes, some of them stand out for their particular bouquet, others are rich in flavor while still others are characterised by sustained acidity. It is therefore very important to carry out careful selection and mixing of the various types in order to obtain perfect organoleptic balance.

This work involves the entire Bisol family together with trusted technicians and last for 10 days. At the end of this fundamental work period the sparkling wine bases are ready. ‘Charmat Method” means placing the base sparkling wine into great pressurized tanks with thermo-conditioning water jackets. Natural yeasts, needed to ferment the sugars, are selected and added to the base sparkling wine. The second fermentation takes place at a temperature of 12° converting the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The secondary fermentation usually lasts for about thirty days.

Fermentation is carried out in a sealed steel tank so allowing the carbon dioxide that develops naturally during fermentation to remain combined with the mass of wine so initiating the sparkling process. The product is then filtered one last time and after a cold standing period of 10 days (at minus 2° centigrade) it is ready to be bottled.

Is Cryomaceration the secret of Prosecco’s success? The cryomacerating process provides, acceptable, well-balanced, better-rounded wines, with a stronger body in the mouth. Therefore, by means of this process, a final product can be obtained with better characteristics than the wines made with traditional processes

One of the most important techniques used during wine-making is cryo-maceration. It consists in submitting the mashed grapes to rapid cooling, up to 281-283 K (46.4 – 50 fahrenheit), and maintaining this temperature for several days, in order to improve the extraction of the compounds contained in the grape skins, such as phenolic compounds and the primary aromas. Low-temperature pre-fermentative maceration is frequently used in elaborating white wines to encourage contact between grape skins and juices in order to extract the greatest amount of aromas and their precursors, both mainly located in the skin of grape berries. Wine prepared with grapes by the use of cryomaceration show more aroma intensity, stability of taste properties of the wine than wines prepared traditionally by maceration without cooling. The use of cryomaceration presents white wines showing high stability to oxidation and typical intensive varietal taste and aroma.

Cryomacerating process is used by the winemaker to enhance the varietal character of white wines. This procedure provides, acceptable, well-balanced, better-rounded wines, with a stronger body in the mouth. Therefore, by means of this process, a final product can be obtained with better characteristics than the wines made with traditional processes. READ MORE HERE…

Source: An inertizing and cooling process for grapes cryomaceration – Maria Carillo*1 · Andrea Formato1 · Andrea Fabiani2 · Giampiero Scaglione3 · Giovanni Pio Pucillo1
“1” University of Naples “Federico II”, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Portici, Naples, Italy
“2” Siprem International, Pesaro, Italy
“3” University of Naples “Federico II”, Department of Arboriculture, Botany and Plant Pathology, Portici, Naples, ItalyElectronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458 © 2011 by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and Bisol wine producers in Valdobbiadene. All photos are copyright 2012 Bisol – Via Follo, 33 31049 Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene (TV)

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