Spumante, from its origins to today.

Spumante, from its origins to today.

Apr 21, 2022


Ilaria Rosa

Since ancient times, history has been full of references and episodes that mention the presence and use of sparkling or sparkling wines; starting from the Bible, passing to Homer's Ancient Greece and still Virgil's Aeneid, where we can find the very definition of "sparkling wine". The ancient Romans even went to great lengths to produce two types of sparkling wine; they had in fact devised a way to preserve the must at a low temperature, which was then poured into amphorae closed with cork, pitch and ash. Once the filling and sealing process was completed, the amphorae were lowered into very deep wells where cold water gushed out. This was because they had discovered that certain types of yeast at low temperatures fermented slowly, thus releasing a gas that made the wine sparkling.

Cenni di vino frizzante

The sparkling wine could be said to be a wine "born" twice: previously, as a base wine during the first fermentation; then, during the second fermentation with the development of carbon dioxide. There are two ways to ensure that so-called bubbles are formed: by adding carbon dioxide or by adopting a natural fermentation. The latter can in turn be obtained through two methodologies:

- Classic Method

- Martinotti-Charmat method

Let's see specifically what the Classic Method consists of. In order to use this type of fermentation, wines suitable for aging are used, added with sugar and selected yeasts for refermentation in the bottle. Once bottled, the wine will then be placed in the cellar, inside racks that keep it in a downward sloping position; here it will remain to ferment for 2 or 3 years. The most used wines to produce this type of sparkling wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Meunier and a base of Pinot Noir vinified in white.

Metodo Classico

As regards the Martinotti-Charmat method, it requires shorter times and less manpower, since the refermentation takes place in an autoclave. The origin of the double name Martinotti-Charmat, dates back to 1895 when the Villanovan Federico Martinotti invented and patented the controlled refermentation method in large containers; subsequently, adopted by French Eugène Charmat who, in 1910, built and patented such equipment. P.Thanks to the shorter processing times, the aromas and characteristics of the grape will prevail more in wines produced with this method. For the Martinotti-Charmat method, acidic wines are used, with little alcohol and particularly fragrant; among these, Moscato, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Ribolla Gialla and Glera (the basic grape variety for Prosecco) lend themselves well.

Metodo Martinotti-Charmat

In both cases of natural fermentation, the wine is bottled in the typical glass bottle also known as "Champagnotta", characterized by a particular thickness capable of withstanding pressure and the distinctive hollow bottom.

Mainly with Glera grapes vinified in white, Prosecco DOC is produced; a wine characterized by "its" by now typical floral and fruity aroma, which is produced exclusively in Veneto (approximately 80%) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (the remaining 20% approximately).

L'analisi visiva: la schiuma e il perlage

As with all wines, the analysis in tasting starts from the visual phase, follows the olfactory and finally the gustatory. Pouring the sparkling wine into the glass we will first evaluate the froth that is created, we will have to see it disappear towards the edge of the glass in 10/20 seconds; for the Martinotti-Charmat Method this happens more slowly than for the Classic Method. Let's now turn to color; for sparkling wines produced with the Classic Method it will tend towards gold while those produced with the Classic Method will be pale yellow. We arrive at the perlage, in order to better analyze it it is necessary that the glass is not touched for a couple of minutes since the temperature transmitted by the hands alters the grain. To better evaluate the bubbles it is recommended to use a good flute and make sure it is not wet.

We now suggest some tips to keep in mind to recognize and choose a sparkling wine in the best possible way; it is necessary to evaluate the persistence of the perlage. This starts from the base of the glass and rises to the surface tending to enlarge, but it is in the middle of the glass that the evaluation must be made: the smaller the bubbles are, the more slowly they will disappear and therefore the higher the quality of the sparkling wine you are tasting. They must also be present in high quantities. In the case of the finest wines, the fountain starts from the middle of the glass following a zigzag movement.

After the visual analysis we move on to the next one, that is to the olfactory investigation favored by the presence of carbon dioxide which pushes the perfumes upwards, facilitating their exhalation. Finally arrived at the gustatory test, when we taste the wine the sensation of "tingling" on the tongue that we perceive must be delicate and not aggressive. The optimal temperature to serve a sparkling wine and fully enjoy its fantastic organoleptic properties is 6-8 °.

In conclusion, given the differences between the two production methods, it has been ascertained that they arise gave MClassic method, which requires longer times, the finest wines characterized by greater body and persistent bubbles, we want to direct you to our best selection of Franciacorta and Champagne.

Wines less structured, younger, and characterized by a lighter flavor albeit very rich in the sense of smell, we have seen derive instead from the MCharmat method; and therefore we speak of the category of Prosecco.

And now the glasses and .. Cheers! 

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