In Quebec, you can easily find bubbly from twenty or so different countries—for all tastes and budgets—to use in cocktails or to celebrate a special occasion. So many bottles to choose from! To help you navigate the wine aisle and choose the perfect one for you, we’ve outlined the three most popular methods of production.
Yeast and sugars are added to still wine (no bubbles) and immediately bottled. A second fermentation, which occurs inside the bottle, creates the bubbles we all know and love so much. This method, originally from France’s Champagne region, is the most appreciated in terms of quality and refinement. It’s the method used for making Champagne, but also for various French Crémants, Spanish Cavas, Franciacorta wines, and other sparkling wines around the world.
Sparkling wines made with this method undergo their second fermentation inside a large stainless steel tank rather than individual bottles. These tanks are reinforced, allowing them to withstand the pressure caused by the CO2 that is released during fermentation. The wine is then bottled directly from the tank, without extended lees contact, which lowers production costs considerably. The most famous sparkling wine made using this method is Prosecco.
This method entails pausing fermentation mid-way and transferring the wine from tank to bottle, where it will finish fermenting, trapping the CO2 in the process. Wines made using this technique are authentic and approachable, with lively bubbles. Some of the more popular appellations include Clairette de Die, Limoux, and Gaillac, as well as Pét-Nat (naturally sparkling) wines, a variety that is rapidly gaining in popularity.
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Illustration: Valérie Bertrand