The Charmat method and the Classic method: what is the difference?

In the world of winemaking, there are many methods of achieving character and style in wine. Both the Classic method than that Charmat are commonly used for production of sparkling wines, but what’s the difference between the two? The main difference between the two techniques is that one is longer than the other. The alternative method “Charmat”Was invented to help small producers to create quality sparkling wines in a shorter time and therefore costs are also lower. As the name suggests, it was conceived by the Charmat vintner in 19th century France and its invention has become known as the “Charmat method” from the name of its inventor. The Classic methodinstead, it has been around for hundreds of years and requires a larger investment.

What is the Classic method?

The Classic method is the traditional process for the production of sparkling winewhich involves adding a still wine yeast. The grapes are fermented until they have almost finished their natural process and the carbonic acid that builds up inside the wine acts as a source of carbon dioxide. The oenologist then waits for the bubbles to start forming and stops the fermentation process by adding a special enzyme called “arrestor”. If the bubbles are formed too soon, they will be large and will make the wine seem less fresh; if you let them form too late, the bubbles will be very small and the wine will seem flat. The Classic method it is a more laborious process than the Charmat method, but it also produces a more structured, more complex and noticeably more wine more alcohol. It is a method used almost exclusively for the production of still wines that will be aged in the bottle for many years.

What is the Charmat method?

The Charmat method consists inadd CO2 to sweet and still white wine and letting it ferment in vats, containers or vats. It is a process used for the production of sparkling wines and is obtained by adding a yeast with grape juice, water and sugar. The yeast is allowed to thrive on this solution until it has transformed all the sugar into CO2 and alcohol. In the Charmat Method, CO2 is left to accumulate inside the wine and form bubbles in a natural way. This is achieved through the use of a pressurized fermentation tank. The wine is pumped from the fermentation tank into a large CO2-rich still wine tank. The CO2 pressure in the large tank keeps the wine in the small tank at a higher pressure. When this CO2-laden wine is bottled, the pressure drops and the CO2 is released in the form of small bubbles.

The difference between the two methods: a matter of time

The main difference between the two methods is the time it takes for the wine to be made. With the Classic method, the grapes are fermented to the point where they are almost exhausted and then it is allowed to rest while the fermentation is stopped with the arrest. In this process the bottles must rest for a period between 6 and 30 months. The Charmat methodinstead, it involves pumping the sweet juice into a tank where it is fermented at a high temperature until it is transformed into CO2 and alcohol; the CO2 is then released in the form of bubbles. The fermentation process in this method takes place between 1 and 6 monthstherefore in much shorter time than the classic process.

The best Italian sparkling wines
The winemaking tradition in Italy is secular and so are the sparkling wines have become a real e own excellence of the beautiful country. This is thanks to an obsessive care in the cultivation of vines, to one harvest done as a work of art and in particularly favorable climatic and territorial conditions. To obtain the best sparkling wines, in fact, an intense but not too hot light exposure is necessary, a refreshing temperature range between day and night and draining and calcareous soils at the right point, which allow the cultivation of aromatic and fragrant vines, perfect for sparkling wine.
Between the best Italian sparkling wines undoubtedly falls within the Foss Marai, produced in the Valdobbiadene Hills, UNESCO heritage. Here, the commitment to the production of fine sparkling wines it is a real philosophy. Each glass of Foss Marai sparkling wine carries the history of the vines with which it was produced, of the land in which it was cultivated, of the passion with which it was worked.

Article written by PinkItalia editorial staff

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