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WSET ® Level 2 Wine > Sparkling Wines > Flashcards

Flashcards in Sparkling Wines Deck (50)
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1
Q

What exactly are the bubbles in sparkling wine made of?

A

Dissolved carbon dioxide gas (CO2).

2
Q

How do bubbles get into wine?

A

A few ways:

  • Force carbonation (used for low quality, inexpensive wines);
  • As a by-product of fermentation, which can take place in tank or bottle (used for quality wines, e.g. Prosecco or Champagne).
3
Q

What are the 2 types of secondary fermentation used for quality sparkling wines?

Give an example of each.

A
  1. Tank Fermentation, e.g. Prosecco
  2. Bottle Fermentation, e.g. Cava and Champagne
4
Q

What is a “base wine”?

A

Base wine is a still wine that is a result of primary fermentation.

It is usually dry, low in alcohol (10-11%), and high in acid.

5
Q

Base wines are typically a blend of what?

A

Any of the following:

1. Grape varieties

  • e.g. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

2. Vintages

  • e.g. NV (Non-Vintage)

3. Villages/terroirs

  • e.g. Different vineyards across 2+ villages which can vary in soil type
6
Q

How is secondary fermentation initiated?

A

By adding a sugar + yeast solution to the base wine.

7
Q

What are the 2 major by-products of secondary fermentation?

A
  1. CO2
  2. Alcohol
8
Q

How much alcohol is created by secondary fermentation?

A

About 1.5%

9
Q

CO2 gas that’s created during secondary fermentation – how is that captured so that it stays in the wine?

A

By occuring in a closed vessel, be it a tank or a bottle.

10
Q

What is another term used for “bottle fermentation”?

Give 2 examples of wines that are bottle fermented.

A

Traditional Method (or Méthode traditionelle)

Examples:

  1. Cava
  2. Champage
11
Q

What is the main flavor objective for bottle fermented, or Traditional Method, sparkling wines?

A

Autolytic flavors, such as bread, toast, and biscuit.

Traditional method sparkling wines take on these bread-like flavors from their aging on the lees.

12
Q

In Traditional Method, what step happens after the sugar + yeast solution is added to the base wine?

A

The base wine + sugar + yeast mixture is bottled, sealed with a crown cap, and left to age for several months for autolytic compounds to develop.

Secondary fermentation happens inside that bottle and the CO2 is captured and dissolved in the wine; the CO2 will only be released when the cap is removed.

13
Q

What are some of the things that are created inside a bottle after bottle fermentation is complete?

A
  • Bubbles
  • Alcohol
  • Flavor compounds
  • Sediment
14
Q

What 3 grape varietals make up the base wine of Champagne?

A
  1. Chardonnay
  2. Pinot Noir
  3. Pinot Meunier
15
Q

What is the climate of Champagne?

A

Cool

16
Q

What makes the Champagne region ideal for making low alcohol, high acid base wines?

A

Because of Champagne’s cool climate, the grapes struggle to ripen so acidity is higher. Less ripening means lower sugars, so there’s less sugar for the yeasts to eat which means lower alcohol.

17
Q

The majority of champagnes are a blend of base wines across many vintages because _____.

A

blending produces consistency year in and year out.

18
Q

What is the term used on champagnes or other sparkling wines when the base wines are blends of different vintages?

A

Non-vintage (NV)

19
Q

What is a Vintage Champagne?

A
  • A champagne that is made of 100% of the grapes from the year stated on the bottle;
  • Only made in exceptional years;
  • See extended periods of lees aging;
  • Complex and age-worthy
20
Q

Describe the profile of a non-vintage Champagne and a Vintage Champagne.

Can you identify what their similarities and differences are?

A

Non-vintage

  • Dry
  • High acid
  • Under-ripe/just-ripe citrus
  • Fresh apple/crunchy pear notes
  • Light autolytic aromas + flavors
  • Not particularly age-worthy/better drunk young

Vintage

  • Dry
  • High acid
  • Mature citrus
  • Bruised apple/pear notes
  • Medium to pronounced autolytic aromas + flavors
  • Honey
  • Caramel
  • Mushrooms
  • Extremely age-worthy/benefits from extended bottle aging
21
Q

What is the minimum requirement of lees aging for non-vintage Champagne?

A

12 months

22
Q

What is the climate of Catalunya?

A

Warm

23
Q

How do the grapes destined for sparkling wine in Catalunya, a warm climate, retain their acidity?

A

Grapes are harvested early.

24
Q

Generally, which has more pronounced autolytic aromas + flavors:

  • NV Champagne
  • NV Cava

Why?

A

NV Champagne

Cava spends less time on its lees than Champagne, which translates to less pronounced autolytic aromas in the final wine.

25
Q

Where in Spain can Cava be made?

A

Most regions in Spain are allowed to produce Cava, but the majority of Cava is made in Catalunya in northeastern Spain.

26
Q

What 2 international grape varietals are allowed in Spanish Cava?

What do they add?

A
  1. Chardonnay
  2. Pinot Noir

Both add acidity and fruit character to Cava.

27
Q

The majority of Cava is made by which kind of producer:

  • small, family-run businesses making high-quality, age-worthy sparkling wines
  • big brands that make large-volume, uncomplicated sparkling wines
A

Big brands, such as Freixenet

Small producers work hard at crafting delicous, quality wines that punch above their weight. Producers to look for include Raventós, Avinyó, and Recaredo.

28
Q

Besides Spain and France, name some other countries and regions make Traditional Method sparkling wine.

A
  • South Africa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • California
  • Oregon
29
Q

What does the South African term Méthode Cap Classique indicate?

A

That the sparkling wine was made using Traditional Method.

30
Q

Besides Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, what other grape in South Africa is widely used in Méthode Cap Classique?

A

Chenin Blanc

31
Q

Most regions outside of Champagne receive more sunlight and are warmer in general than Champagne.

What fruit profile would you expect these regions to express in their wines?

A

Riper and more ample fruit aromas + flavors.

Note that in these warmer regions the grapes are grown in the coolest spots possible to help retain acidity and freshness.

32
Q

The sparkling winemaking method best for aromatic grape varietals is ______.

Why?

A

Tank Method because it avoids autolytic aromas + flavors; autolysis is not beneficial for aromatic grapes.

33
Q

Which technique is more cost effective:

  • Traditional Method
  • Tank Method

Why?

A

Tank Method is more cost effective because the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in large tanks instead of individual bottles, and filtration and disgorgement are done in mechanized, big batches.

34
Q

What is Asti method?

A

It’s a variation of Tank Method. It starts with grape juice (not a dry base wine) and produces sweet, low alcohol sparkling wines.

35
Q

What Italian region does Asti DOCG come from?

A

Piedmont in northwest Italy.

36
Q

What grape goes into Asti DOCG?

A

100% Moscato

37
Q

Asti DOCG wines are fully sparkling or gently sparkling?

A

Fully sparkling

38
Q

Compare Tank Method and Asti Method.

What style of wine results from each method?

A

Tank Method

  • Starts with dry, low alcohol, high acid base wine
  • Dry base wine goes through secondary fermentation in sealed tank, where bubbles are created and captured
  • Once secondary fermentation complete, wine is filtered off its lees and bottled under pressure
  • Final sparkling wine ~11-12% abv and dry

Asti Method

  • Starts with grape juice + yeast put into tank to initiate fermentation, and bubbles allowed to escape
  • Partly through fermentation tank is sealed to capture the CO2 being created
  • Yeasts filtered out before fermentation complete leaving residual sugar in the wine
  • Final sparkling wine ~8% abv and off-dry/sweet
39
Q

Where does Prosecco DOC come from?

A

Veneto in northeast Italy.

40
Q

What method is typically used for Prosecco DOC?

A

Tank Method

41
Q

What is the grape used to make Prosecco DOC?

A

Glera

42
Q

What are the styles in which Prosecco DOC is typically made?

A
  • Dry (Brut)
  • Off-dry (Extra Dry)
43
Q

Why is Glera (Prosecco DOC) made using Tank Method?

A

Glera is a semi-aromatic grape, and semi-aromatic and aromatic grapes produce better sparkling wines that show off their fruitiness (rather than autolytic compounds via Traditional Method).

44
Q

What labeling law is common between Champagne and Cava regarding their PDO status?

A

Neither Champagne nor Cava has to have its PDO/DO/AOC status on the label.

On their labels you will see just “Champagne” or “Cava”.

45
Q

Define riddling.

A

Riddling is the process of manipulating and encouraging dead yeast cells into the neck of the bottle by gradually turning bottles from their sides until they are fully upside down on their crown cap.

Today many sparkling wine houses use gyropalettes, which hold 504 bottles, to riddle their wines instead of doing it by hand.

46
Q

Define disgorgement.

A

Disgorgement is the removal of the yeast-sediment plug that collected in the neck of a Traditional Method bottle of sparkling wine as a result of riddling.

The neck of the bottle is frozen so the plug is a solid mass, the crown cap is removed, and the CO2 pressure that built up inside the bottle is so strong it forces out the yeast plug.

47
Q

What is the liqueur d’expédition?

A

The final dosage made up of wine and (usually) a bit of sugar which tops up a bottle of Traditional Method wine to replace any wine that was lost during disgorgement.

48
Q

What does the final dosage (liqueur d’expédition) do besides top up the bottle?

A

Dictates the final sweetness level of the wine.

The more sugar in the dosage, the sweeter the final wine will be, e.g. Demi-Sec will be more sweet than Brut.

49
Q

How are Traditional Method and Tank Method bottles usually enclosed?

A

With a thick mushroom cork and wire cage.

50
Q

Both Traditional Method and Tank Method start off the same way: primary fermentation occurs in tank resulting in a low alcohol, high acid base wine.

Describe the subsequent steps a base wine goes through for Traditional Method.

A
  1. Base wine + yeast + sugar placed in individual bottles to kickstart secondary fermentation
    • CO2 and ~1.5% alcohol created
  2. When secondary fermentation complete, dead yeast cells (lees) start to break down, a process called autolysis
    • autolytic flavors include bread, biscuit, toast
    • the longer the wine ages on the lees, the more the autolytic flavors intensify
  3. Riddling
    • move dead yeast cells into neck of bottle by turning bottles from sides to upside down
  4. Disgorgement
    • bottle neck is plunged into freezing liquid to solidify yeast sediment
    • crown cap removed to allow yeast plug out
  5. Dosage
    • bottle topped up with wine and, most of the time, sugar which determines final sweetness
  6. Reseal bottle