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Social Media links;
This week’s podcast on Champagne and Sparkling Wines; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/11/11/wine-guy-mike-for-november-11/
Youtube preview from this week’s show;
Last week’s podcast on Merlot and The Connoisseurs’ Classic & Auction; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/11/04/wine-guy-mike-for-november-4th/
Recent podcast; (full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/
NBC Montana Today TV Segment; Perfect Patio Wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Mike-Tornatore-8-7-12/-/14594602/15999458/-/67a5ri/-/index.html
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Sleep City Missoula www.SleepCity.com
Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to WineGuyMike show wines for the lowest price. Located in the heart of downtown Missoula.
Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.
This week WineGuyMike™ is going to be talking about the differences between Champagne and Sparkling Wine as a prelude to next week’s show. Next week I will be joined by my special featured guest, Jamie Stewart, who is the Brand Ambassador for Ferrari Sparkling wines. Ferrari began with a man, Giulio Ferrari, and with his dream of creating a wine in Italy inspired by the very finest French Champagne and Jamie will be sharing that story with us on next week’s show.
What is the difference between Champagne and Sparkling wine? Well let’s take a look and find out. Sparkling wines and champagne are still wines that have been infused with carbonation. True Champagne is made in France will be noted by the capital letter “C”on the label. Other sparkling wines called Champagne will by designated as “champagne”, notice no capitalization. Three grapes are used in Champagne, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. It’s white because only the juice of the grapes is used.
There are four methods of Sparkling wine production:
1. Carbon Dioxide Injection – soft drinks and inexpensive sparkling wines are produced using this method. It produces large bubbles that dissipate quickly.
2. Charmat Process – wine undergoes a second fermentation in large bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure. Prosecco and Asti are produced utilizing this method, smaller longer lasting bubbles result from this method. Many Sparkling wines are made using this method.
3. Méthode Champenoise – this process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention. During the second fermentation the carbon dioxide stays in the bottle and this is where the bubbles come from.
4. Transfer Method – the cuvee is bottled for the second fermentation which adds complexity. But the wine is then removed and stored in large tanks after it has spent the appropriate amount of time on yeast.
Champagne: The Champagne region of France not only produces some of the finest sparkling wines in the world, but some of the finest wines in the world too. Typically there is three grapes used in the blend for sparkling wines; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Different vintages are used to create the blend or better known as the “Cuvee”.
Champagne is expensive due to the traditional method of how it is made, Méthode Champenoise and techniques known as second fermentation. This process takes place in the bottle and requires hands on attention.
Pink Champagne is strained through the Pinot Noir grape skins, truly a delight. Méthode Champenoise is the true French fermentation process, this wine is fermented twice, once in an oak barrel, and it is during the second fermentation that the wine develops carbonation in the bottle and is aged for a minimum of one year.
Blanc de Blancs is true French Champagne produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape using the Méthode Champenoise process, producing white Champagne.
Designations of quality:
Prestige cuvee; This Champagne is the highest priced and is available only in small quantities. It is designated “Prestige” because the grapes come from the best grapes from the highest rated villages, it is made from the first pressing of the grapes, produced only as a vintage, and will have been aged longer than vintage and non-vintage Champagnes.
Vintage Champagne; Some select years produce an outstanding grape harvest. The Vintage Champagnes are aged for at least three years.
Remember a Vintage Champagne will be identified by an actual year marked on the label, but expect to pay a premium for this.
Non-Vintage Champagne; The majority of Sparkling wine on the shelf of a store is non-vintage. These are a blend of wines aged for two years.
How to Select your Champagne
Brut is Dry, Extra Dry is Semidry, Sec is Semisweet, and Demi-sec is Sweet.
Other sparkling wine Regions:
Loire Valley of France produces Crémant, while the Asti region of Italy produces Asti Spumanti, and Prosecco comes from the Veneto region. The Catalonia region of Spain produces the world’s most popular sparkling wine, Cava.
Prosecco is an Italian wine, generally a dry sparkling wine, usually made from grape variety Glera, which is also known as Prosecco. The Veneto region of Italy is where Glera/ Prosecco is grown and produced.
Prosecco is mainly produced as a sparkling wine in either the fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante, gentile) styles. Prosecco spumante, which has undergone a full secondary fermentation, is the more expensive style. The various sparkling wines may contain some Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio wine. Depending on their sweetness, Proseccos are labeled “brut”, “extra dry”, or “dry”, with the brut being the driest.
Unlike Champagne, Prosecco does not ferment in the bottle consequently the wine goes off or gets old quickly and should be drunk as young as possible, preferably within one year.
Prosecco is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made, sparkling wine that is low in alcohol, about 11 to 12 percent by volume. Created from predominately Prosecco grapes in the northern Veneto region of Italy in the foothills of the Alps. Prosecco is light, affordable, and fun. This Sparkling wine is aromatic and crisp, with nuances of yellow apple, citrus, pear, white peach, and apricot. Today’s Proseccos tend to be dry and very bubbly and typically will present itself as light, fresh, with an initial intense bouquet/aroma, but simple and straight forward compared to Champagne.
Prosecco is made using the Charmat method rather than the Champagne method, the French method of making sparkling wine. The Charmat method is a second fermentation in pressurized tanks rather than in individual bottles. The shorter, tank fermentation is preferable for Prosecco because it preserves the freshness and the flavor of the grapes.
Asti Spumante is a sweet sparkling wine with a mellow effervescence. It is produced in the province of Asti and made from the Moscato grape. Spumante is a fruit forward sparkling wine that is grapy, and has low alcohol content usually around 8%. Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling wine that is frizzante in style and for my palette I find these wines to be more refined than the Asti Spumante.
Cava originated in the Catalonia region at the in the late 19th century. Originally the wine was known as Champaña until Spanish producers officially adopted the term “Cava” (cellar) in 1970. Cava wines are fermented and aged in the bottle in underground cellars. Today 95% of Spain’s total Cava production is from Catalonia.
Cava is produced in different styles ranging from dry to sweet; Brut Nature, Brut (extra dry), Seco (dry), Semiseco (medium) and Dulce (sweet). Under Spanish Denominación de Origen laws, Cava can be produced in six wine regions and must be made according to the Traditional Method with second fermentation in the bottle. The grapes used to produce Cava are Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Malvasia. The Chardonnay grape is a late comer to the scene despite being a traditional grape used to produce Champagne. It was not introduced in the production of Cava until the 1980s.
In order for the wines to be called ‘Cava’, they must be made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise. Wines made via the low-cost Charmat process may only be called ‘Spanish sparkling wine’. A rosé style of Cava is also produced by adding in small amounts of red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha or Monastrell to the wine.
Cava made by the Champagne method, is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne. Cava is usually made by the Coupage method, whereby must, a.k.a(grape juice) from different grape varieties is subjected to the first fermentation which is blended until it is consistent with the wine that the winemaker wants to produce . After the Coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added. It is then cellared for the second fermentation and aging.
Crémant is produced in the Loire Valley of France and is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of the Champagne region. Crémant has to be aged for at least one year and it is handpicked. The producers are also limited as to how much can be harvested, this all according to the French A.O.C.
Crémant de Loire’s are a blend of the Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. In Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne, must be composed of at least thirty percent Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris while Aligoté is often used to complement the blend. The Languedoc region in the south of France produces Crémant de Limoux. This Sparkling wine is produced from the indigenous grape Mauzac, with Chenin blanc, and Chardonnay rounding out the wine in small amounts.
The Crémant Sparkling Wines are pressurized less than Champagne and therefore have a larger looser bubble but are still terrific to drink.
Thank you for joining me once again and be sure not to miss next week’s show as Jamie Stewart the Brand Ambassador for Ferrari Sparkiling Wines joins me live on the Trail 1033 & u 104.5 FM, you can also live stream; http://bit.ly/pVLaBr
In the meantime please try these nice wines that I recommend, affordable wines for value minded wine lovers. Cheers!
Be sure to visit Liquid Planet, “The Best of Beverage”, in the heart of downtown Missoula, a great selection of wines and wonderful wine shopping experience.
The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™
From my table to yours,