Classic method and Charmat method: what are the main differences?

Classic method and Charmat method

Welcome to the article dedicated to the world of sparkling wine! Today, we will explore two widely used production methods: the Classic Method and the Charmat Method. If you are passionate about sparkling wines and bubbles, you are in the right place!

We will discover the characteristics of both methods, the differences that distinguish them, and the results they offer in terms of quality and effervescence. We will delve into the secrets of fermentation, refermentation, and maturation phases that make these sparkling wines unique in their kind.

Keep reading to learn more and choose your favorite!

Table of Contents

  1. Classic Method
  2. Charmat Method
  3. Differences between the Classic Method and Charmat Method
  4. Gastronomic Pairings: when to choose the classic method and when to choose the charmat method?
  5. Production regions of the best sparkling wines in Italy
  6. San Cristoforo Franciacorta
  7. Ruggeri
  8. Sorelle Bronca
  9. Bosca
  10. Cantine Monfort

Classic Method

Classic method

The production of wine using the Classic Method represents an ancient art based on a natural and complex fermentation process.

The Classic Method, also known as the Traditional Method or Champagne Method, is widely used in the production of high-quality sparkling wines.

One of its distinctive features is the secondary fermentation that occurs in the bottle, giving the wine its fine and persistent bubbles. During this process, a special yeast called liqueur de tirage is added to the base wine, initiating fermentation inside the bottle.

The interaction between the yeast and the wine produces carbon dioxide, which dissolves into the liquid, forming the precious bubbles. After this bottle fermentation, the wine rests on the lees for a variable period of time, ranging from months to years. It is during this phase that aromas and complexities develop, contributing to the fascinating character of the final wine.

At the end of the aging period, the lees are removed through a process known as disgorgement, which clarifies the wine, making it clear and transparent.

Finally, a small amount of dosage liquid is added, which can be a mixture of wine and sugar, to adjust the level of sweetness and complete the wine.

Charmat Method

charmat method

The production of wine using the Charmat method, on the other hand, represents a modern and popular technique for producing sparkling wines.

This method, also known as the Martinotti method, is based on fermentation in autoclaves, offering numerous advantages in terms of efficiency and cost.

During the production process, the base wine is transferred to an autoclave, where sugar and yeast are added to initiate fermentation. During this phase, the carbon dioxide gas produced dissolves into the wine, creating the lively bubbles that characterize sparkling wines. Once fermentation is complete, the wine is clarified and filtered to remove yeast residues.

The Charmat method is appreciated for its ability to preserve the delicate aromas of the grapes used and for producing fruity and fresh sparkling wines. Furthermore, it allows for greater consistency in the quality of the final product, making it a popular choice for both producers and consumers.

Differences between the Classic Method and Charmat Method

The main differences between the Classic Method and the Charmat Method in the production of sparkling wines include the fermentation process, aging time, aroma and complexity of the wine, as well as production costs.

The Classic Method offers a traditional and lengthy process, ideal for those seeking complexity and rich aromas. The Charmat Method, on the other hand, is a practical and efficient choice that produces lively and fruity sparkling wines. The choice between the two methods will depend on personal preferences and the occasion in which you want to enjoy these excellent bubbles.

In the Classic Method, the base wine rests on the lees for a variable period of time, which can last several years. This process imparts greater aromatic complexity, character, and depth to the wine. However, it requires more time and care in production.

In the Charmat Method, fermentation occurs in autoclaves. The base wine is mixed with sugar and yeast inside a large sealed container. The carbon dioxide gas produced during fermentation dissolves into the wine, creating the bubbles. The duration of this process is generally shorter compared to the Classic Method, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Wines produced with the Charmat Method often exhibit a fresh fruity aroma and immediate drinkability.

Lastly, production costs are generally higher for the Classic Method due to the extended aging period and technical complexities involved. The Charmat Method, on the other hand, is more cost-effective and allows for larger-scale production.

Gastronomic pairings: when to choose the classic method and when to choose the charmat method?

abbinamenti gastronomici

Discovering the ideal gastronomic pairings for the Classic Method and the Charmat Method is a delight for the palate and a unique sensory experience.

The Classic Method, with its elegance and complexity, pairs magnificently with refined and sophisticated dishes such as fresh oysters, fish carpaccio, or tartare-based appetizers. Its fine and persistent bubbles and enveloping aromas harmonize beautifully with the delicate flavors of seafood.

On the other hand, the Charmat Method, with its fruity and fresh sparkling wines, is perfect for accompanying informal aperitifs, appetizers, and lighter fish dishes. Enjoying a Charmat Method wine with vegetable crudités or fresh cheeses can enhance its pleasantness and drinkability. Furthermore, its lively bubbles and fruity flavor combine wonderfully with dishes such as sushi or tempura.

Whether you choose the Classic Method for special occasions or the Charmat Method for a more casual experience, both offer a wide range of culinary pairings, making every moment an unforgettable opportunity for taste and pleasure.

Production regions of the best sparkling wines in Italy

Italy is renowned for the production of high-quality sparkling wines, and several regions of the country stand out for their oenological excellence.

Among the main production regions of the best sparkling wines in Italy, we find:

  • Lombardy, famous for the Classic Method and the Franciacorta area. Here, thanks to mineral-rich soils and a favorable climate, refined and complex sparkling wines are produced.
  • Veneto, known for the Charmat Method, particularly in the Prosecco area, where fresh and fruity sparkling wines are produced.
  • Trentino-Alto Adige, famous for its high-altitude sparkling wines.
  • Piedmont with the renowned Asti Spumante.

These regions, with their centuries-old winemaking traditions and commitment to quality, are must-visit destinations for lovers of excellent Italian sparkling wines.

Below are several wineries where you can taste excellent sparkling wines from the best production regions in Italy!

San Cristoforo Franciacorta

San Cristoforo

The San Cristoforo winery was founded in 1992 by Bruno and Claudia, who, driven by a great passion for wine, decided to embark on this journey.

The estate is divided into 10 hectares of vineyards, planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and is exclusively dedicated to the production of Franciacorta DOCG. Annually, they produce around 90,000 bottles, divided into six different types that are characterized by their unique identity, distinctive flavor, and elegant refinement.

Each vintage always represents a new emotion, accompanied by important decisions, thoughtful deliberations, and shared by the entire team.

The quality of their wines is determined by various factors such as sun exposure, microclimate, temperature variations from Lake Iseo, the hilly location, the proximity to Monte Orfano, and the morainic and limestone soil. All these elements are reflected in the glass and contribute to the production of excellent quality wine.

At the San Cristoforo winery, you have the opportunity to experience various experiences focused on the world of sparkling wines.

From vertical tastings dedicated to Pas Dosé to tastings focused on the difference between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you can immerse yourself completely in the world of the Classic Method.

Discover more on Divinea.com!

Ruggeri

Ruggeri

The milestone of Ruggeri‘s 70 years is a testament to a well-rooted history in Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Prosecco. Long-standing relationships of trust guarantee the grapes from over a hundred vine growers who are now part of the Ruggeri family.

The majority of the harvest comes from the so-called “Golden Triangle,” where the Glera grape reaches its maximum quality.

Ruggeri has become a reference point for the Valdobbiadene DOCG denomination thanks to its consistent quality, as evidenced by the numerous awards received: for the first time in history, a Prosecco, the Giustino B, was named “Best Sparkling Wine in Italy” by Gambero Rosso and received 92 points from Robert Parker.

In recent years, Ruggeri has also focused on the longevity of Prosecco, offering a range of vintages from the best selections. The company’s pioneering spirit led to the creation of the first sparkling wine made from grapes harvested from century-old vines and aged on the lees for five years in a protective autoclave.

Ruggeri‘s identity is clear and well-defined. It will certainly be a pleasure for you to share it with whomever you wish by visiting the winery and meeting part of the close-knit team.

Your experience will begin with a walk through the vineyards, where you will personally discover the challenges of heroic viticulture.

In the winery, the process of creating Valdobbiadene DOCG will be explained, immersing you fully in the Ruggeri philosophy and method. The experience will conclude in the new tasting room, where you will taste their wines accompanied by Pan da Vin, a local culinary specialty from the Ristorazione School.

Discover more about the winery experiences at Ruggeri!

Sorelle Bronca

Bronca

The boutique winery Sorelle Bronca was founded in the 1980s by Antonella and Ersiliana Bronca, inspired by their father Livio, who passed on to them the love for vines and good wine.

The winery is located in Colbertaldo, in the heart of the typical area of Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. With the support of Piero Balcon, Antonella’s husband, and Elisa Piazza, the Bronca sisters have successfully combined the ancient family traditions with new approaches in winemaking.

The winery owns vineyards throughout the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area, dedicated not only to the production of sparkling wines but also to red and white wines of the Colli di Conegliano, as well as olive cultivation.

The cellar experience will begin with a tour of the winery, where you will discover the history and tailored production philosophy of the Sorelle Bronca and the various winemaking methods for the Glera grape.

Finally, a team member will guide you through a tasting of various sparkling wines from the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene.

Book your experience at Sorelle Bronca now!

Bosca

Bosca

The Underground Cathedrals of Bosca are a UNESCO World Heritage site that celebrates the history of the company for almost two centuries. Located in Canelli, in the heart of the “Langa Astigiana” region, these cathedrals are a majestic and evocative place, characterized by imposing vaults and deep cavities.

The discovery of the historic cellars is made through a unique multimedia experience, including permanent installations, light shows, and projections.

Bosca, a sixth-generation family-run company, is committed to bringing the enthusiasm of Italian bubbles to the world, also offering aperitif wines and low-alcohol options. The goal is to provide a new and unconventional experience in the world of sparkling wines, making them accessible, everyday, and inclusive.

Present in over 40 countries, Bosca represents exploration and innovation in the sparkling wine industry.

A visit to Bosca is not just an ordinary winery tour. You delve into the Underground Cathedrals, and through a multimedia journey, you will understand the importance of these cellars for the company and the community of Canelli throughout the centuries.

The spaces are transformed into a permanent installation of lights, colors, sounds, and art. At the end of this exciting guided tour, a small tasting is offered. If you desire a more in-depth tasting, you can request it at the time of booking or on-site.

Discover the winery experience at Bosca now!

Cantine Monfort

Monfort

Cantine Monfort is a winery with a history dating back to 1945 when the Simoni family began marketing wines in Palù di Giovo. In 1965, after acquiring the cellars of Palazzo Monfort, the company moved to Lavis, a charming village north of Trento.

Today, Chiara and Federico represent the fourth generation of the family running the winery, carrying forward innovative projects to enhance the territory and preserve traditional grape varieties of Trentino.

The vineyards of Cantine Monfort are located in various areas of Trentino, recognized for the production of specific grape varieties. In these areas, the company is committed to preserving ancient indigenous varieties such as “San Lorenzo,” “Vernaza,” “Valderbara,” “Veltliner,” and “Nosiola,” in order to highlight the history of the territory and its traditions.

The winery visit begins with the discovery of the ancient cellar built beneath the town of Lavis. Chiara will talk about viticulture in Trentino, the territories, and the grape varieties that characterize the viticultural landscape of the province.

The tour will conclude in the tasting room where you can sample different glasses of wine and sparkling wine that characterize the winery’s production.

Book your experience at Cantine Monfort now!

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