How does a wine become bubbly?
When yeast and sugars are together in an enclosed environment, the yeast will eat the sugars, releasing carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide has nowhere to go but into the wine, and this will make it bubbly.
What makes the difference in the final product ?
Making a wine sparkling usually happens during a second fermentation, but it could also be through the first one. If it’s happening as a secondary one, it makes a huge difference where it is happening and how long the wine is aged in contact with dead yeast cells, called lees.
Firstly. Champagne. Yes, we went there. This has to be from the region in Champagne. It’s labour-intense and time-consuming. A base wine is used for a secondary ferment (yeast, wine, and sugar combine) creating a bottle fizz. The wine will undergo a second fermentation in the bottle, allowing it to age on lees (dead yeast) to build texture and richness. The lees are then disgorged and eliminated from the bottle to leave the Champagne tasting and looking as pure as crystal.
Get swept away with the creamy, pillow-like soft, and bright bubbled NV Lelarge-Pugeot Tradition Extra Brut Champagne. Honeyed and crème caramel notes. Not sweet though with dry saline and refreshing toasty notes. Or the very very special grower’s 2013 Lelarge-Pugeot Les Meuniers de Clemence Champagne made from 100% Pinot Meunier that is aged for 4 years on lees. Sea spray and nutty almost oxidative notes. Crisp acidity, layered vinous texture, fruit purity, pumpernickel, toasty notes, good finish. Pair with oysters.
Ancestral Method aka pétillant-naturel, or Pét-Nat
This is the oldest method of bubbles. There isn’t a real secondary fermentation. Instead, the wine is bottled while it is still fermenting. Some may disgorge and rebottle, but many leave it as it is, giving the wine its cloudy look. However, this means all the yeast fall to the bottom. So expect delicious sediment and cloudiness. If it’s your first time trying a Pét-Nat, we cannot recommend enough the 2020 Entre Vinyes Ornic Pet-Nat, which has got just so much fruit. Think citrus, apples, and melons with a touch of residual in there. However if you’re looking for the perfect summer drink, right this way. This Pink Pét-Nat from The Other Right uses Pinot Gris for an unforgettable vibe and a splash of Noir as a finishing touch. This is freedom in a bottle. It’s dry, light with forest berries and raspberry sherbet. Banger.
Tank Method (Prosecco)
Named after the Italian town the wine was derived from, Prosecco wines are an easier and cheaper way to make sparkling, with the second fermentation happening in the tank. During this second fermentation, winemakers mix the base white wine with yeast and sugar in a large tank and then send the wine through a filtering system. The result is a style that tends to be more fruit and flower-driven and is usually on the sweeter side of the spectrum. We recommend either the wild and crunchy 2019 Dirty Black Denim Carménère Piquette that has been left on lees for 2 .5 years (wow) or the elegant 2020 Costadila 280 SLM Glera Prosecco, with hints of grass, pears, and apples on the nose.