Have you ever wondered what makes sparkling wine so bubbly? The answer is a technique called the méthode champenoise. This traditional method has been used for centuries and is responsible for giving sparkling wine its signature mouthfeel and taste. Keep reading to learn how the méthode champenoise works and why it's so important to the production of sparkling wines.
The Process of Méthode Champenoise
Méthode champenoise starts with still wine that has been aged in barrels or tanks for several months or years. The winemaker then adds a mixture of sugar and yeast, called the liqueur de tirage, to the still wine and seals it in a bottle. This process initiates a second fermentation inside the bottle that produces carbon dioxide—the engine behind that soft, bubbly mouthfeel in sparkling wine and Champagne.
Once secondary fermentation is complete—which can take anywhere from three to twelve months depending on the desired flavor profile—the bottles are riddled (or turned) by hand to make them easier to disgorge (or remove). During disgorgement, bottles are chilled upside down so sediment collects at their necks before they're opened. The sediment is then pushed out with pressure from additional liqueur de tirage added before corking and labeling.
The Benefits of Méthode Champenoise
Méthode champenoise delivers incomparable quality compared to alternative methods like tank fermentation or injection with CO2 gas because it enables winemakers to craft complex wines with an array of nuanced flavors, aromas, textures, and colors. It also contributes significantly to aging potential as well as shelf life since most wines produced using this traditional method will last longer than those produced using other techniques. Finally, méthode champenoise allows for variations in dosage levels (sugar added at bottling), which means winemakers can customize their wines' sweetness levels depending on their target market's preferences.
Méthode champenoise is a time-honored tradition among winemakers worldwide due to its ability to produce high-quality sparkling wines that last longer than those produced via other techniques. If you're looking for top-notch bubbles with complex flavors and aromas, look no further than méthode champenoise, available at We Drink Bubbles! With its labor-intensive yet rewarding process, it's no wonder why it's been around for centuries—and why it will continue to be used by winemakers far into the future!