While enjoying brunch at virtually any establishment, the ubiquitous sparkling wine is flowing. Bubbles are a perfect accompaniment to food and add a festive note to the occasion.
Weddings, anniversaries and the holidays feature sparkling wines prominently. The thing these events all have in common is a celebration. Smart wine producers know this, and there are many new additions to the sparkling segment, from fruit infused sparklers to those mimicking popular fizzy cocktails.
Many people are aware of a difference between inexpensive brands and true “Champagne” however most do not know the details. Fact is, only wines from the Champagne region may be labeled as such as decreed by the French and adhered to by almost every country in the free world.
Every country except the United States: we have those “Two Buck Duck” wines attractively wrapped in colored foil sporting the word Champagne on their label. They are created using a process known as Charmat, whereby still wine is injected with carbonation to create bubbles.
French Champagne makers – and vintners around the world – use a process known as méthode champenoise to induce a secondary fermentation in the bottle itself, turning the still wine into sparkling wine.
When shopping, it is relatively easy to spot Charmat bubbly. The bottle is generally smaller and lighter and often there is no punt on the bottom, that deep indentation at the base of the bottle. It also must be labeled as Bulk Charmat Process.
Interestingly, Wikipedia notes that the Charmat process is only slightly less expensive than the lengthy secondary fermentation process leading to the conclusion that making methode champenoise wine is truly a labor of love.
When poured into the glass, there are many differences between Charmat and methode champenoise wines, the first being the bubbles. Charmat wines are carbonated and release large bubbles – pour soda into a clear glass, and you see them immediately. In contrast, natural secondary fermentation produces tiny bubbles that form delicate streamers rippling in the glass.
Back in the 60s Don Ho, a famous crooner from Hawaii sang:
Tiny Bubbles, in the Wine.
Make me feel happy, ah they make me feel fine.
They do and these days, those bubbles also come in pineapple! Years ago, winemakers noticed the brunch mimosa had morphed with other fruit juices being used. It was a natural progression to bottle their own version so consumers could easily enjoy flavored bubbles at will. Living in Temecula Wine County, it’s easy to find your favorite flavor be it raspberry, peach, orange, almond or pineapple.
Back in the 1600s, vintners in the Champagne region of France were vying with the legendary red Pinot Noirs produced in neighboring Burgundy and losing badly. Located north of Burgundy (cold weather wine) , their red vines struggled to ripen fully during the growing season yielding a lighter bodied wine. Cellar temperatures also dipped earlier in the fall, halting fermentation in the bottled wines but merely putting the yeast into a dormant stage. Come spring and POP! POP! POP!
Rumor has it that a monk named Dom Perignon discovered this phenomenon and labeled it an Act of God. The basis of that argument is certainly logical given monks were men of faith. Imagine you were to walk into a dimly lit cellar, and suddenly the bottoms of bottles began blowing themselves off and are flying at you, accompanied by the cacophony of explosions.
As it turns out, Dom Perignon spent many of his winemaking years attempting to staunch the bubbles in his Pinot Noir. He used thicker glass than his peers and was the first to use cork to seal wine. Eventually, he gave into the natural order of things and became a master at knowing when to bottle to retain enough sugar to induce secondary fermentation consistently each spring.
The moral of the story is that sparkling wines are perfect for any occasion because they may have been created by a deity.
Craveyon Sparkling Pêche Demi-Sec
Craveyon recently added Sparkling Peche Demi-Sec to their stable of premium wines. Light and bubbly, with a subtle whisper of peach and a satisfying finish, it is the perfect sparkling wine to keep on hand for every occasion.
Conveniently, your wine subscription from Craveyon will keep you well stocked so no excuse not to grab a bottle of bubbly anytime and pop that cork.