How do bubbles get into Champagne?
How do bubbles get into Champagne? In one word carbonation.
Before the bubbles, Champagne is just wine, it becomes Champagne/sparkling wine with the addition of the bubbles. The wine base is made similarly to white wine only it is more tart. This is because the grapes are picked a lot earlier.
It all starts after the first fermentation of the wine. In a closed environment, additional yeast and sugar is added. All the sugar is used up by the yeast and releases carbon dioxide which pressurises the bottle and carbonates the wine. Then, one of four methods is used.
THE 4 DIFFERENT METHODS
METHODE CHAMPENOISE OR METHODE TRADITIONELLE
Champagne method (Methode Champenoise) – the wine is put through secondary fermentation in the bottle, and the wine stays in this bottle with the naturally produced bubbles until the consumer drinks it.
- This is the oldest and most time-consuming of the three popular methods of carbonation. If it’s not made in this way and in Champagne, France, it can’t truly be called champagne. Generally produces longer lasting small bubbles. This is a link that explains the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine.https://www.winecountry.com/blog/sparkling-wine-vs-champagne/
Tank Method (Charmat or Cuve Close)
- Just like the traditional method, yeast and sugar are added to the wine, not in bottles, but in huge pressurized tanks. The sparkling wine is then bottled under pressure as well. The result is an affordable sparkling wine with bigger more explosive fairly long-lasting bubbles.
The wine is put through secondary fermentation in the bottle, then all the bottles are emptied into a tank and the yeast sediment is filtered out. It is then rebottled under pressure.
Not a very commonly used method and usually a low quality base wine is used. Carbon dioxide is pumped into the wine then bottled under pressure. This produces inexpensive sparkling wine with explosive bubbles that don’t last for long. This is how soft drinks are carbonated.
Champagne bubble size – does it matter?
Each of the 4 main methods of making Champagne/sparkling wine affects the bubble . Smaller bubbles are an indicator of quality.
The fewer impurities in the still wine and the cooler the cellar in which this fermentation occurs, the smaller the bubbles.
Tiny bubbles are easy to discern in the mouth as they produce a finer bead than the larger bubbles created by coarse wine, fast fermentation or carbonation.
The smaller the bubbles, the better the fizz. However the size of the bubbles can also be affected by the glass.
The méthode traditionnelle process through which all Champagne and the finest sparkling wines are produced, creates small bubbles during the second fermentation in the bottle.
As Champagne/sparkling wines age they become less acidic and less bubbly. The trade-off is that the vintage sparkling wines have fascinating tertiary smells like hazelnut and brioche.
Whatever Champagne/Sparkling wine you may enjoy, it is always drunk with an air of theatre and celebration.
To quote local Champagnista, the pop of a Champagne bottle is the ‘sound of happiness.’
Studio fifty-three is delighted to bring Kiron back for another entertaining evening. This time we will be celebrating the inspirational women who pioneered some of the best Champagne houses in the world. FIND OUT MORE.