What is the alternate French term to méthode champenoise that indicates a wine has undergone secondary fermentation in the bottle?
Besides true Champagne, name at least 2 other sparkling wines that are bottle fermented.
- Franciacorta (Italy)
- Cava (Spain)
- Cap Classique (South Africa)
- Crémant d’Alsace (France)
- Crémant de Bourgogne (France)
- Crémant de Bordeaux (France)
- Crémant de Jura (France)
- Crémant de Savoie (France)
- Crémant de Loire (France)
- Crémant de Limoux (France)
- Vouvray Mousseux (France)
For any sparkling French wine labeled ‘Crémant’, how many months does it have to spend sur lie?
Sparkling wine can be produced under what generic AOP in the Loire Valley?
Crémant de Loire
- can be either white or rosé, and the majority of production takes place in Saumur;
- méthode traditionelle;
- grapes include Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a few others.
Besides Crémant de Loire, name 2 other sparkling wine appellations in the Loire Valley and their permissible varietals.
- Chenin Blanc
- Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Both are made using méthode traditionelle and must spend a minimum of 9 months sur lie.
List the overarching steps to making méthode traditionelle wines.
- Primary Fermentation
- Liqueur de Tirage
- Secondary Fermentation
- Dosage/Liqueur d’Expédition
What are the first steps of making Champagne up through Primary Fermentation?
Grapes are picked and pressed, and the resulting wine after the first fermentation is a still, low alcohol (~11% abv), high acid, dry, neutral base wine called vin clair.
Are Champagne houses allowed to reserve a portion of their annual production in bulk to use for future blending?
Using reserve bulk wine helps the house achieve a consistent style for their non-vintage wines. Reserve wines also help add flavor and depth to non-vintage wines.
If a bottle of Champagne is vintage dated, how much of the wine has to come from that vintage?
100% of the wine must be from that vintage.
How is rosé Champagne made?
Rosé Champagne is made in one of two ways:
- Blending still red wine (Pinot Noir or Meunier) with the base white wine (vin clair);
- Saignée method where the wine gains color from short skin maceration.
Blending is allowed at any stage of the méthode traditionelle process up to and including the addition of liqueur de tirage.
Describe the Blending process when making Champagne.
What is the aim of Blending?
Blending is when base wines are blended together. In Champagne, different grape varieties are usually blended together, as well as villages, terroir, and vintages.
Aim: to improve balance, enhance complexity, and maintain a house style.
The finished dry wine is bottled and liqueur de tirage is added. The wine will then go through secondary fermentation in the bottle.
What is the liqueur de tirage?
The liqueur de tirage is a combination of wine, sugar, yeast, yeast nutrients, and a clarifying agent that is added to bottles after the wine is blended.
The liqueur de tirage starts the secondary fermentation.
Describe what it is and what happens because of it.
Secondary fermentation is a fermentation that occurs inside the bottle after the liqueur de tirage is added and the bottle is capped or corked.
Yeasts consume the sugar to create CO2, which dissolves in the wine, and the alcohol is raised approximately 1.2-1.3%.
Once the yeasts consume all the sugar, they die and fall to the bottom of the bottle. They stay trapped inside the bottle, allowing the wine to rest sur lie, until disgorgement.
Discuss the Aging step in the process of méthode traditionelle.
After secondary fermentation has completed in the bottle, the dead yeast cells (lees) break down and help with flavor development and texture in a process known as autolysis.
A méthode traditionelle wine can age for as few as 9 months and up to/more than 30 months.
What is riddling?
Riddling is the process of giving a swift turn to bottles by hand during the Aging process to manipulate and encourage dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle. The bottles are turned from their sides until they are fully upside down on their crown cap (known as sur pointe).
Today many sparkling wine houses use gyropalettes, which hold 504 bottles, to riddle their wines instead of hand riddling.
Disgorgement happens after the riddling process.
Disgorgement is the removal of the yeast “plug” that collected in the neck of the bottle from the riddling process.
The necks of the bottles are placed upside down into a freezing liquid which causes the yeast “plug” to freeze. The crown cap is quickly removed and the CO2 pressure from inside the bottle forces out the “plug” leaving a clear wine inside the bottle.
What is dosage or liqueur d’expédition?
Dosage/liqueur d’expédition is a liquid composed of wine and sugar syrup that is added after disgorgement.
The dosage determines the final dryness or sweetness level of wine made by méthode traditionelle.
How many grams of residual sugar in Brut Nature/Brut Zero?
0-3 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Extra Brut?
0-6 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Brut?
0-12 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Extra Dry?
12-17 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Sec?
17-32 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Demi-Sec?
32-50 grams per liter
How many grams of residual sugar in Doux?
50+ grams per liter
What are the three main grape varieties used in making Champagne?
- Pinot Noir
- Meunier (aka Pinot Meunier)
Is Champagne or Alsace the northernmost winemaking region in France?
Champagne is the most northern winemaking region in France.
There are 5 regions of Champagne. Which are the three most important?
The three most important regions in Champagne are:
- Montagne de Reims
- Vallée de la Marne
- Côte des Blancs
The other two regions are the Côte des Bars and Côte de Sézanne.
In which Champagne region is Chardonnay the dominant grape?
Côte des Blancs
What is the main type of sub-soil in Champagne?
The main sub-soil in Champagne is chalk, which retains water well.
What is the climate of Champagne?
Of the three main grape varieties used in Champagne, which one buds late and ripens early?
Pinot Meunier (aka Meunier)
This makes it better suited to avoid spring frosts.
Montagne de Reims and Côte des Bar are planted mostly to which grape varietal?
Which grape is most planted in Vallée de la Marne?
- buds late, so it can avoid spring frosts
Must all vineyards in Champagne be hand harvested?
Yes, Champagne vineyards must be hand harvested.
Mechanical harvesting is prohibitted.
Right after grapes are harvested in Champagne, are they left to concentrate their sugars or are they pressed immediately?
Grapes are pressed immediately after they are harvested in Champagne.
This lowers the possiblity for oxidation.
The first, free-run juice to come off the press is used to make the very best Champagnes.
What is this first press called?
The second press in Champagne is called _______.
Usually higher in pigment and tannin, some winemakers will use vin de taille in small amounts as a structural component.
What are the 6 key styles of Champagne?
- Non-vintage (NV, MV)
- Prestige Cuvée
- Blanc de Noirs
- Blanc de Blancs
What is the meaning of Blanc de Blancs on a bottle of Champagne?
Blanc de Blancs (‘white from white’) means the wine was made using only white grapes.
In the case of Champagne, that grape is almost always Chardonnay.
What is the meaning of Blanc de Noirs on a bottle of Champagne?
Blanc de Noirs (‘white from black’) on a bottle of sparkling wine means the wine was made using only black-skinned grapes.
In Champange, Blanc de Noirs means that the wine was made using only Pinot Noir and/or Meunier.
What is the other name used for Prestige Cuvée?
Tête de Cuvée
Most Prestige or Tête de Cuvées are vintage dated.
Describe some of the differences between non-vintage (NV) and vintage Champagne.
Vintage Champagnes must come from one single vintage; NV Champagnes are a blend of several vintages.
Vintage Champagnes are fuller and richer than NV Champagnes thanks to extended autolysis and bottle aging.
Vintage Champagnes also express more precision and intensity than NV Champagnes, reflecting the singularity of the vintage.
There are over 3,500 grape growers in Champagne, but not as many labels.
Where do all these grapes go?
Most grape growers will sell their grapes to a co-operative cellar or to a Champagne-producing house.
If the grapes go to a co-op, the co-op will process the grapes and then the co-op will sell the juice to négociants or BOBs (“Buyers’ Own Brands”) for supermarkets or other large outlets.
What is the Transfer method?
Transfer method, aka transversage, is just like méthode traditionelle up to a point: riddling. Transfer method is for bottles smaller than 375mL and larger than 1.5L.
After the wine has gone through secondary fermentation and has aged sur lie for a bit, instead of being riddled and disgorged bottle by bottle all the bottles are emptied out, all at once, into a large, pressurized tank. The lees are removed, the entire vat is filtered, and then the wine is put back into bottle under pressure so as not to lose any of its fizz.
What is Tank method? Give an example of a tank method wine.
Tank method is when the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in a pressurized tank.
After the wine completes secondary fermentation it is filtered, a dosage is added (liqueur d’éxpedition), and the wine is bottled without aging. Tank method wines are fresh and delicately fruity.
Tank method tends to produce larger bubbles that fizz at the surface when poured and then dissipate quickly.
Prosecco is an example of a Tank method wine.
What are 2 advantages Tank Method has over méthode traditionelle?
Tank Method is a lot cheaper than traditional method in that there is no riddling individual bottles and it is produced in bulk, ensuring consistent quality.
Tank Method also preserves fresh fruit aromas, making it better suited for aromatic grape varieties.
German Sekt is made mostly from which grapes?
- Riesling (predominant grape)
Most German Sekt is made using which method?:
- Méthode Traditionelle
What is the difference between Sekt, Deutscher Sekt, and Deutscher Sekt bA?
Sekt is made of base wines blended from France and Italy with some German grapes using the Charmat, or Tank, method.
Deutscher Sekt is sparkling wine made in Germany from 100% German grapes. Most are produced using Charmat method but there are a few producers who use traditional method.
Deutscher Sekt bA is sparkling wine that’s made in Germany with grapes from a specific anbaugebiete (region), e.g. Mosel.
What grape is used to make Asti?
Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Asti DOCG is made using a variation of which method?:
- Méthode Traditionelle
Asti is sweet + fruity, roughly 7%, and does not display any autolytic character.
How many atmospheres of pressure does Asti have?
4-5 atmospheres of pressure
What is the cheapest way to make sparkling wine?
Force carbonation (like Soda Stream)
Disadvantages of force carbonation include big, aggressive bubbles that dissipate quickly.
How is sparkling Shiraz made?
The base red wine is fermented dry and bottled. Made using méthode traditionelle, a small liqueur de tirage (sugar and yeast) is added to start the secondary fermentation. It’s bottled under crown cap and left to ferment and mature, anywhere from a few months up to 3 years.
Bottles are riddled and disgorged, then sweetened with either a mixture of wine and syrup or with an Australian Tawny. It is closed with a Champagne-style cork and wire cage.
How is Cava made?
Cava is made using méthode traditionelle, just like Champagne.
What are the 3 traditional grapes that can go into Cava?
What about rosé Cava?
The traditional grapes allowed into Cava include:
Rosé Cava is made with Garnacha + Monastrell.
What are the 2 recently added grape varieties permitted for Cava?
- Pinot Noir.
Both add additional levels of fruit and acidity to Cava.
What is the birthplace of Cava?
Cava originated in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia in Alt-Penedès, Catalunya.
What is the minimum number of months Cava must spend sur lie before it is disgorged?
What are the two principal regions for Prosecco?
- Prosecco DOC;
- Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG.
What is the DOCG for Prosecco?
Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
Prosecco DOC and Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG are made with this grape.
Prosecco is made using which method?:
- Méthode Traditionelle
What do the terms ‘Cartizze’ and ‘Rive’ mean on a bottle of Prosecco?
That the grapes came from an exceptional vineyard site.
Cartizze is a large vineyard itself in Valdobbiadene
In what styles is Prosecco made?
- Extra Dry
Why does Prosecco display somewhat higher levels of residual sugar than Cava or Champagne?
Prosecco fermentation is interrupted by chilling and filtering, leaving some natural sugar remaining in the wine.
Crémant d’Alsace: which grape(s) are permitted and which are not permitted?
Permitted: Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois, Chardonnay
NOT permitted: Muscat and Gewurztraminer
In New Zealand, grapes for sparkling wine are grown in every wine region except ________.
In South Africa, if a producer is a member of the Cap Classique Producers Association, how many months must their sparkling wines spend sur lie?
Producers not in the CCPA can age their Cap Classique for only 9 months.
Name 2 AVAs in the United States making premium sparkling wines.
- Los Carneros AVA
- Anderson Valley AVA
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the grapes generally used.