Tender summer nights, celebrations and holidays are not complete without a refreshing sparkling wine. But how to choose the right one?
Annamari Nikkel, a sommelier and the heard of Tallink Duty-Free wine category, introduces the different ways of making sparkling wine, which helps you choose the most suitable one, and highlights some of our Pre-Order’s most popular champagne-style sparkling wines, which are perfect for enjoying summer evenings and celebrating special events.
First, I want to tell you about the most delicious and most enjoyable sparkling wines, because each bubble has its own character: Prosecco, Spumante and Frizzante are easy-to-drink sparkling wines with light bubbles, but you can get a real bubble experience by sipping sparkling wines made by Champagne Method.
The Champagne Method is also called the classic or traditional method, and it is basically the technique of creating bubbles in the wine that is already in the same bottle from which you will later pour the sparkling wine into your glass. First, a regular “quiet” wine is made and bottled, then a little sugar and yeast is added to the bottle before it is closed – thereafter the yeast starts eating delicious sugar and this process produces carbon dioxide, or bubbles, which will be “trapped” in the bottle.
The classic method enables to make a sparkling wine with very intense bubbles, even so intense, that the pressure in the bottle can be as high as the pressure of a truck tire, which is 5-6 bars. But do you know how many bubbles there are in a single bottle of sparkling wine? Various studies have shown that a bottle of sparkling wine made by the Champagne Method contains about 50 million bubbles! When you open the bottle, only a few million bubbles get out.
As the consumption of sparkling wines has increased by about 60% in the last ten years, the selection of sparkling wines on store shelves as well as in the e-shop is so rich and varied that it is difficult choose. We will help you here and introduce our customers to the most beloved sparkling wines made by the champagne method.
Cremant is a sparkling wine produced by Champagne Method in France, but not in the Champagne region. By law, the name Champagne can only appear on the label of sparkling wines produced in the Champagne province.
Cremant wines are, as the name implies, slightly creamy and soft, as these sparkling wines may have a slightly lower pressure in the bottle – only 3.6-4 bars. Very enjoyable and made by good producers, it offers a good alternative to champagne.
In France, Cremant wines are produced in eight different regions, one of the most recognised being Alsace.
Pfaff Cremant Brut Blanc de Blancs, France, Alsace
Brut indicates that the sparkling wine is dry and Blanc de Blancs means that it is a white wine made from white grapes. Pfaff Cremant is made from two grape varieties customary in Alsace region: Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois. The sparkling wine is pleasantly fruity, with soft bubbles and fresh feeling.
Outside France, the name Cremant can be used in only one other area – in Luxembourg.
Bernard Massard Cuvee De L’Ecusson Brut, Luxembourg, Moselle
Bernard Massard has been one of our customers’ favourite sparkling wines for many years, and this is perfectly understandable, because its price-quality ratio is very good. Made from Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varieties, this, too, is a Brut or dry sparkling wine. The aroma has a slightly roasted and floral note, with a bright acidity and a long aftertaste.
Cava wines are certainly one of the most popular sparkling wines, all year round. All Cava wines come from Spain and 98% of them are made in Catalonia.
Miguel Torres, one of the world’s best-known wine producers, has been active in the world of wine for a very long time, but they started producing sparkling wines only a few years ago. Despite that the result is more than pleasing to all sparkling wine fans.
Torres Sangre de Toro Cava, Spain, Penedes
Made from traditional Cava grape varieties: Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel-lo. Fresh juicy citrus in aroma and flavour, with pleasant acidity and fruitiness.
“ITALIAN CHAMPAGNES”: FRANCIACORTA AND TRENTODOC
Usually Prosecco is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Italian sparkling wine, however, there are many other wonderful sparkling wines in Italy, and some of them are so good and of high quality that they are appreciatively called “Italian champagnes”.
Marchese Antinori Cuvee Royale Franciacorta Brut, Italy, Lombardia
Franciacorta is a region in northern Italy, more specifically in Lombardy, where they make sparkling wine by Champagne Method. This is where the legendary Italian winemaker Marchese Antinori makes a superb sparkling wine. Cuvee Royale Franciacorta is made, similarly to champagne, from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc grapes, and when you pour this sparkling wine into your glass you will see and feel fine dense bubbles, bright acidity, elegant citrus and a long aftertaste.
Ferrari Brut Trento, Italy, Trentodoc
Moving further north from Lombardy, you will find a small but good sparkling wine region of Trentodoc, where they make very dignified bubbles by using the traditional method. Giulio Ferrari established the Ferrari sparkling wine house almost a century ago, having acquired the techniques and secrets of Champagne Method in the Champagne region. The result of his work embodies high quality and elegance.
Ferrari Brut Trento is made by the classic method from 100% Chardonnay grapes, the sparkling wine is dry, but at the same time lush and aromatic, providing a flavour rich in juicy green apples, pears and white gooseberries. It is a must-try for a true bubble lover.
Ferrari’s quality has received so much recognition that even at the Formula 1 awards ceremony, champagne has been replaced by Ferrari Trento sparkling wine.
Which is the right glass for sparkling wine?
Recently, many wine experts have emphasized that sparkling wine must be served in an ordinary white wine glass, and they are right in this respect that the aromas and flavours of wine, in all their elegance and complexity, stand out best when in the wine glass. Flute-shaped glasses are good for receptions when a lot of glasses need to be placed on a tray or small surface, but beware that these glasses may “hide” the flavour profile of a sparkling wine, because carbon dioxide accumulates in the upper part of the narrow glass which leads to intense bubbles dominating every sip you take.
Since all the sparkling wines listed above are so good, you will definitely want to get the most out of their aroma and flavour, so I recommend pouring them into a white wine glass.