10 July, 2008

It’s the bubbles that make the fizz


With the summer and the nice weather starting to expand, people are enjoying the pleasures of a nice cold drink. The last trend in the area of wine, was Rosé. Especially here in Amsterdam, everybody was drinking Rosé in parks, in boats on the channels and on the terrasses.
But, as trends change, new drinks emerges and this year, the bubbles are in: Prosecco, cava, champagne. As long as it is cold and bubbly, you cannot go wrong.

But how do the bubble come into the fluid?

This is done in the production-process. Champagne is made of a combination of chardonnay (white grapes), pinot noir (red) en pinot meunier (red).
There are two fermentation-processes. First ‘silent wines’ (without bubbles) are made, then these are mixed. At the second fermentation process (méthode traditionelle) the wine is bottled and sugar and yeast is added. Then the wine is stored in the cellar – for champagne ideally minimal 15 months. Yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbonic acid, which creates the bubbles.

The bottle still contains yeast-sediment that has to be removed. For this, the bottles are placed diagonally in shelves, so the sediment moves to the cork. The bottleneck is then frozen and uncorked: the sediment will pop out. The champagne that is lost in this process will be supplemented with new wine, possibly with extra sugar and liquor. According to this process crémants, cava’s and spumantes are also made.

But prosecco is no champagne…

With prosecco the second yeasting takes place in a tank (méthode Charmat or cuve close), like most sekt, moscato and cheap bubbles. The tank-method makes the taste of prosecco different than wines of the méthode traditionelle. It is lighter and has a less complicated taste. Prosecco, made of the white prosecco-grape of Veneto (Nord-Italy), is not always sparkling: there is the tranquillo (not sparkling), frizzante (light sparkling) or spumante (sparkling).

Bubbles are light!

With the majority of bubbles, there is no need for a corkscrew and besides that, the drink is relatively low on calories. Wherever there are bubbles, there are no calories and the addition of sugars is relatively low. The ‘light’-variant (extra brut) contains 0-6 grams of sugar per liter), brut 6-15 grams, extra-sec 12-20 grams, sec 17-35 grams, demi-sec 33-50 grams and doux more than 50 grams of sugar.

Faster drunk of bubbles?

The right prosecco glasses
The right prosecco glasses

It is known that the bubbles quicken the transport of alcohol to the bloodstream. This causes a quicker uptake of alcohol and thus a faster buzz. But, as form of compensation, the sparkling wine contains a lower alcohol-percentage then normal wines.
To get less fast drunk, you can drink it out of a wide glass, although who wants to drink it the right way, should drink it from a long narrow glass, preferably made of crystal, because then the bubbles sparkle the longest.