What’s the difference between traditional vs charmat method sparkling wine?
It’s no wonder sparkling wine is so popular. Not only is it synonymous with celebration but it’s easy to drink, tastes great and the bubbles dance and dazzle your palette.
But despite being one of the most widely consumed varieties of wine, it’s one of the most complex to make as it requires two fermentations – one to make the wine and one to create the bubbles.
Here at House Coren, we create sparkling wine using two methods; the traditional method and the Charmat (or tank) method. But what is the big difference between the two?
The traditional method, also known as méthode traditionelle, has a first fermentation like any other wine but it also a second fermentation that happens inside the bottle. Wines created in this manner include Champagne, and more affordable varieties such as Crémant found in other principle French regions, Cava from Spain and Cap Classique from South Africa.
As a traditional method sparkling wine ferments it produces deposits of expired yeast particles, known as lees. Eventually these are removed but not before a significant amount time, also known as lees aging. At House Coren this will be for at least seven years.
The bottles are rotated by hand in a process called riddling and once sufficiently riddled, the neck of the bottle is frozen, and the lees are trapped in the ice. Eventually the cap is removed, and a plug of icy lees shoots from the bottle – so make sure to keep your distance! After this the wine is topped up with a mix of wine and sugar called dosage. Then it’s resealed and after at least a month, to let the wine and dosage mix, it is ready to be enjoyed.
So how is the Charmat method different? To start with the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in sealed tanks as opposed to the bottle. After this, deposits are filtered out, dosage is applied, and it is then bottled under pressure. Next it’s left to mix for a month before it’s ready to drink, making the total process only take a minimum of eight weeks.
This method is responsible for many sparkling wines consumed around the world, including Prosecco which currently makes Italy the world’s larger producer of wine. Our first product is created using the Charmat method.
Wines created with the Charmat method have a more freshly made fruit-driven character and sometimes even rival the quality of traditional method sparkling wines.
Come back to our website and follow our social channels to find out when our first sparkling wine, made using the Charmat method, is available for purchase. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the traditional method, but we promise it will be worth it.