We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Welcome to the long long long overdue (Ashley would most likely want me to put one more long) Sunday Wine Down. Yes I’m back to try to teach you a little while you drink. Nothing like a little light learning while indulging in a beverage of one’s choice. Well, my choice this week as I write this articles is bubbles. I’ll stop right here just to let you all in on a little secret, Ashley and I love bubbles. This might be a bit of an understatement, so let me correct myself and admit we have a bit of an obsession over bubbles. I am far FAR from being ashamed about this habit because how can one not like bubbles? It is the epitome of happiness and is everything that is right in this world. So welcome to Sunday Wine Down Bubbles
Of course bubbles is not the proper name for the drink. I just like the term bubbles so I tend to use it quite often. Yet, depending on where these delicious tiny bubbles come from, they are referred to differently. If they are born in the region of Champagne, France they will proudly call themselves Champagne. If they roam around the hills of Veneto, they will go by the name of Prosecco. As you eat tapas on a hot summer day in Barcelona they might be referred to as Cava. Finally if they are being consumed by us sitting on our balcony in Healdsburg, CA they would be simply labeled as bubbles.
Many countries produce bubbles and they are all referred to in many different ways, and some claim to be superior than the other. Deep down we all know that one region reigns supreme in the bubble producing game and that is none other than Champagne.
The region of Champagne is world renowned and in the world of bubbles it is royalty. Personally I’m not a snob about my bubbles and enjoy them from all over the world but I would be a fool not to admit that Champagne takes first place. They have truly turned the process of making bubbles into an art form. Of course they were not the first but they are the most sought after. I’ll let you make your own judgement though throughout your bubbles research.
Bubbles can be made from both red and white grapes. There is no discrimination but the common varietals are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Blanc de Noir is sparkling made from red grapes and Blanc de Blanc is made from white grapes. You could also have a rose and a red sparkling which are a lot of fun, like a Lambrusco from Italy.
I would think though, the most important thing to know about bubbles is the process of how it is made. There are different methods on how to make sparkling but the most important and only one we will talk about is méthode champenoise. This term can only be used by champagne however, other bubbles use the term traditional method which is exactly the same.
In the traditional method the secondary fermentation is done within the bottle. When the wine is put into the bottle it is joined by a little sugar (liqueur de tirage) and yeast and then capped with a crown. The carbonation from the secondary fermentation is then trapped in the bottle. Once the bottle has been aged for a the proper amount of time according to region, it goes through the process of riddling. The bottle is placed at a 45 degree angle with the cap facing down. The dead yeast or lees consolidate at the neck of the bottle over time. During this process the bottle is shaken lightly and turned and replaced on the riddling rack.
Once this process is complete they disgorge the champagne by removing the lees from the bottle and then recapping it. Before it is recapped though they add a little sugar called a dosage to finish it off. This is the basic process. It is tedious and is traditionally all done by hand, and because of this patience the world receives happiness through a bottle of bubbles.
Now I know that we are drinking while reading this and our attention span becomes limited at the end of our drink. So I will stop here and encourage to go out and explore bubbles. Drink and if you want to learn more take the time to do so. The process is fascinating and is one of the many reasons why sparkling at the moment is at the top of my list for beverages to drink in 2015. So I hope you enjoyed this Sunday Wine Down and hope you learn a little along the way.
If you have anymore questions about bubbles please ask in the comments below. I would be more than happy to answer. Also if you would like to add your own two cents about bubbles please do so in the comments. I encourage conversation because in the end what is a good drink without good conversation. Cheers!