WHAT IS SPARKLING WINE EXACTLY?

The name Sekt (German for sparkling wine) comes from the Latin siccus meaning dry. However, in many respects a moist and merry pleasure hides behind the name. The product that quietly matures in deep cellars fascinates with its tender sparkles and lively bubbles. But how do the bubbles get into the drink? It all begins with the choice of wine. Wines that are above all acidic and rich in fruit extracts are the ideal choice. The vintner's real tools are experience and skill of the trade in processing. Once the decision has been made regarding the choice of source wine, the second fermentation is set into motion.

FROM THE GRAPE TO THE PEARL - SPARKLING WINE PRODUCTION

Sparkling wine is produced with a second fermentation. A finished and carefully chosen source wine is mixed with a small amount of sugar and yeast which re-starts fermentation. The natural carbonic acid caused by this process is retained and becomes the sparkling wine's decisive attribute. Sparkling wine's quality is defined firstly by the source wine and secondly by the production process. A good source wine for sparkling wine should fulfil certain criteria, for example the alcohol content (80 - 85g /l) or the total acidity (7 - 10g/ l). White wines should have a low tannic acid content and also pH value.

THE CLASSIC PROCESS

This is the original practice in sparkling wine production; the méthode champenoise. This involves the second fermentation taking place in the bottle. After the second fermentation the sparkling wine sits on its yeast and matures for several months, sometimes even years, in a dark cool cellar. The bottles are then placed horizontally in a so-called shaking frame, are carefully turned every day for four weeks and at the same time they are positioned on more and more of a slant with the neck at the bottom. At the end of this process all of the yeast has collected in the bottle neck. The bottle necks are then placed in cooling fluids so that the yeast freezes. If the bottle is then opened the yeast plug bursts out. The minute loss of fluid is compensated for and the bottle is then sealed with a stopper.

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