Sparkling Wines: Traditional Method and Charmat Method


The differences between traditional method and charmat method

The main differences between the Traditional method and the Charmat method start from the terminology.

Since only sparkling wines of French origin, more properly called Champagne, can be produced through the Champenoise method, the patented process in Italy is called Metodo Classico, which is translated with Traditional Method.

The Charmat method, known also Martinotti method, was invented by the Italian Federico Martinotti and further developed by the French Eugène Charmat.

In addition to the differences in the semantic field, however, there are further divergences regarding the processing technique. In both varieties, we start with a still wine to which only sugars and yeasts are added; the addition of carbon dioxide is forbidden.

In the Traditional method, the grapes are fermented into dry still wines. Various base wines are blended to form the cuvée, which is the final blend that will turn into sparkling. Finally, the cuvée undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle.

By contrast, in the Charmat method, there is only one fermentation, which takes place in stainless steel autoclaves.

Bollicine spumante

Fermentation of sparkling wines

Complex and fragile, the life of sparkling wine begins with a natural phenomenon: the alcoholic fermentation. In this phase, the yeasts transform the sugars present in the wine into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

In the Charmat method, the bubbles begin to form during fermentation. Here the selected wine, with precise indications on the individual aromas and on the structure, ends up in very large steel containers to implement a pressure seal; at the same time sugars and yeasts are added.

In the Traditional method, with constant pressure and low temperatures, there is also a second fermentation, where the yeasts feed on the sugars and produce a high quantity of carbon dioxide. Thanks to the pressure, the alcohol expands in the wine and forms the sparkling wine.

Once in the glass, we can fully contemplate the elegant bubbles, fruit of science and savoir-faire.

Traditional Method

The Traditional method makes sparkling wine through refermentation in the bottles.

This process originated in France, in the province of Champagne, famous all over the world for its sparkling wine.

According to tradition, in the distant 1600s, DON Pierre Pérignon, an abbot belonging to the monastery of Hautvillers, gave life to the method of refermentation on a trip to Limoux.

The development of this system is currently still unclear, despite the historical sources found.

Many scholars argue that Champagne was discovered almost by mistake. While preparing still white wines, DON Pierre Pérignon noticed the explosion produced by some bottles and understood that there was gas in the wine. However, the accuracy of this story is still debatable.

Nevertheless, Don Pérignon managed to conceive the fundamental role of the second fermentation and worked diligently to refine the technique.

Towards the end of the last century, many legal disputes were held to protect Champagne, its name, and its production. Eventually, the Champenoise method was renamed Classic method or Traditional method.

Charmat Method

Throughout the 1800s, sparkling wines were only produced through the Traditional method. However, in 1895, Federico Martinotti gave life to a process to create sparkling wine with shorter production times and lower costs.

Through the Charmat method, fermentation is initiated in large stainless steel containers.

This technique let us obtain special fragrant and fresh sparkling wines with an aromatic scent.

The time required for the entire procedure is notably shorter than Traditional Method, as time may compromise the typical aromas and freshness of the grape varieties.

Sparkling wine in Piedmont: our offers

Today sparkling wine from Piedmont has become some of the most appreciated wines of the world. Piedmontese winemakers select only special grape varieties, taking into account their ampelographic composition, production, and multiple winemaking techniques.

In general, Piedmontese sparkling wines have a characteristic straw yellow color, persistent bubbles, and fruity, savory, and pleasant palates.

Cantine Povero offers Gran Ruè Metodo Classico, Villarita Spumante Brut, Belvive Spumante Extra Dry, Moscato Spumante and Malvasia Rosè Spumante.

Gran Ruè Metodo Classico is obtained using only first-pressing must of the highest quality grapes. The slow fermentation in the bottle and the subsequent refinement “sur lie” for two years generate a sparkling wine with a pale straw yellow color with precious nuances. The flavor is dry and the bouquet is delicate, with notes of yeast, bread, citrus fruits, and withered flowers.

Gran Ruè is perfect to pair with aperitifs, raw fish, or fried foods.

Villarita Spumante is a wine appreciated and known for its intense bouquet.

The grapes are harvested a few days earlier than normal and then pressed and vinified using only first-pressing must. The fermentation through the long Charmat method gives us a wine with a straw yellow color with greenish reflections. The bouquet is very elegant with notes of ripe pear, white flowers, and citrus.

Belvive Spumante Extra Dry refers of a motto: “Life is beautiful”. “Belvive” is indeed the Piedmontese translation of “beautiful life“.  With its light yellow color and fresh and subtle aromas, this sparkling wine reminds us of the importance of the small beautiful things in life, such as a smile and listening to silence.

Perfect to be enjoyed together with aperitifs or to give freshness to dishes with fish, Belvive Spumante Extra Dry has notes of acacia flower, golden apple, and banana.

Through the Charmat method, we can also achieve excellent results with sweet wines such as Moscato Spumante and Malvasia Spumante.

With its yellow color and almost golden reflections, Moscato Spumante has a persistent and fine flavor. Moscato is named after the Greek word moskhos, a descriptor of a sweet and fragrant grape varietal that seems to recall musk. However, Moscato Spumante has also many other aromas such as orange peel, sage, honey, pear, roses, and apricot. Excellent to combine with any dessert, in particular panettone, Colomba (Italian Easter Cake), or sponge cakes.

Obtained using the aromatic black grape varietals of Malvasia, Malvasia Rosè Spumante has a peculiar bright cherry pink color.

The fragrant and fresh aromas together with its aromatic and sweet flavor have fruity notes such as raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry.

It is perfect in combination with strawberry cheesecake or tart with cherry jam.