Above: Alicia Lini shows off a classic method wine as it ages in bottle.
Despite the fact that we are living during a global wine renaissance, when there is more information about wine and winemaking available to consumers and professionals than ever before, there is still a lot of confusion regarding sparkling wine production.
Part of our mission here at the Lini Lambrusco USA blog is to help fans of our wines navigate the often complicated landscape of sparkling wine across the world.
So let’s begin with some basics.
Nearly all sparkling wine is made by fermenting the wine twice, the second time in a pressurized environment. CO2 is a natural byproduct of fermentation. And so when you ferment wine in a pressurized environment, the CO2 is captured and it gives the wines their bubbles.
There are two primary methods employed by sparkling winemakers.
The tank method is often called the Charmat method by English speakers (the name comes from the Frenchman, Eugène Charmat, who patented a new model of pressurized stainless steel vat for the production of sparkling wine in 1907). In Italy, it is also called the Martinotti method after the Italian professor who perfected it in the 20th century.
A still wine is produced, called the “base” wine. It is then re-fermented in pressurized, temperature-controlled vats.
The classic method is also known as the traditional method. It’s exactly the same as the Champagne method. But in accordance with European law, “Champagne method” can only be used in Champagne, France where the eponymous wines are produced.
A still wine is produced (the base wine). The wine is then re-fermented in bottles.
There’s a lot more to both methods. But this is a great place to start.
Lini makes both tank method and classic method Lambrusco. And it also produces classic method Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.