genetic defect of some vines that prevents correct and complete fruit setting (see). The flowers, although pollinated fail to produce grapes and fall, which is why the bunch that develops is sparse and incomplete (scattering). The Picolit represents a classic example of floral abortion.
a wine that recalls the flavours and sensations of unripe fruit.
loss, especially in young red wine, of some characteristics of sourness and acidity acquired during the vinification phase. Through ageing, the wine acquires its characteristic and distinctive personality. Ageing takes place both in the barrel and in the bottle.
instrument for measuring the pressure that is created during the second fermentation in bottles of sparkling wine made using the classic method, due to the action of the yeasts which metabolise the sugar present and transform it into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
the phase that follows flowering, in which each pollinated flower begins the process of forming a grape.
wine that has many well-defined nuances of aromas (bouquet).
pigments of various colours that are found dissolved in the cell juice of flowers, fruits and other parts of plants. In grapes they are found inside the skin of black grapes; during fermentation of the must in contact with the skins, the anthocyanins dissolve, giving the wine its characteristic red colour.
corresponds, in France, to the Italian DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin). It distinguishes wines of superior quality, whose production is regulated by law. The AOC is in the community category of VQPRD (Quality Wines Produced in a Specified Region).
a very important operation that – by combining wines from different grapes, vineyards and vintages from the same area or from several compatible areas – makes it possible to obtain a cuvée, in other words a very balanced and complete wine. Assemblage makes it possible to distinguish the personality and style of a brand and a sparkling wine.
large hermetically sealed vessel, used for the refermentation of sparkling wines produced with the Charmat method (see).
to pour a small amount of wine into the glass, rotating it so that the wine flows on the inner walls, then empty the glass before refilling it with the wine to be tasted. Its purpose is to prepare the glass for the wine and to remove any dust or micro-substances present from the sides. The same operation is also done with a carafe or decanter before pouring the wine from the bottle into it.
an American vine cutting, grafted with a European vine bud. Sold in bunches of 25, they are seedlings that have thick and well distributed roots that come out of a sprig called “rootstock” (the American base). On the opposite side is the graft point from which a bud (called a “graft” or “scion”) starts. This in turn produces the shoot, which is a healthy, robust and well wooded branch. The American roots, those that penetrate the soil, have little influence on the texture and flavour of the grapes produced. The cuttings come from specialised nurseries located in France, Italy and Spain; the largest Italian nursery – Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo – is located in Rauscedo (Pordenone, telephone 0472/948811) and annually produces over 150 million cuttings, sold all over the world.
barrel of fine oak used to refine the qualities of a wine or spirit. The main French wine regions use barriques of standard capacity, established by tradition: in Burgundy 228 litres, in Bordeaux 225 litres. In Champagne the barrique – called “pièce” – contains 205 litres and is still a recognised unit of measurement in bulk wine transactions. In the production of quality sparkling wines, some producers use oak barrels both for alcoholic fermentation and for the refinement of the wines that will later make up the cuvée or liqueur d’expédition.
the shape of the glasses varies according to the type of wine they are intended for, to better bring out and enhance the characteristics and quality of the wine they contain. They are preferably made of thin, colourless glass to highlight clarity and reflections. Sparkling wine glasses have specific requirements: the ideal is a fairly tall flute, in the shape of a slender tulip, with a pointed bottom, which facilitates the formation of perlage and froth. The flute should only be filled to 1/3 of its capacity to favour the development of the aroma and bouquet, which are conveyed upwards, making it possible to appreciate their finesse and complexity. Cylindrical glasses or glasses with smooth edges at too acute an angle are to be avoided because they are impractical and less effective for the reasons mentioned above. The coupe – wide, rounded and linked to memories of the past – is the most suitable for appreciating sweet and aromatic sparkling wines.
plastic capsule placed inside the crown cap before the second fermentation; its special shape facilitates the collection of sediments during remuage and maintains the compact form of the icicle which will be expelled by the internal pressure at the moment of disgorgement.
this expression indicates the classic method sparkling wine produced exclusively with white grapes, usually Chardonnay.
term used to indicate classic method sparkling wines produced exclusively with black grapes, usually Pinot Noir. Blanc de Noirs sparkling wines currently represent a very modest percentage of total production, both in Italy and in France.
the typical glass container of sparkling wines, with the characteristic domed bottom, particularly heavy and resistant in order to withstand all the manipulations and the internal pressure that reaches 6 atmospheres. Although the traditional three-quarter litre bottle is the most common on the market, there are several other sizes, often with unusual and bizarre names, with a biblical and mythical flavour, which are suitable for special or very special occasions.
• Quarter 20 cl equal to a flute
• Half 37.5 cl equal to two flutes
• 75 cl bottle equal to 6-8 flutes
• Magnum 2 bottles (1.5 litres)
• Jeroboam 4 bottles (3.0 litres) for a special table
• Rehoboam 6 bottles (4.5 litres)
• Methuselah 8 bottles (6.0 litres) for an exceptional occasion
• Salmanazar 12 bottles (9.0 litres)
• Balthazar 16 bottles (12 litres) for legendary encounters
• Nebuchadnezzar 20 bottles (15 litres) the ultimate
It is believed that sparkling wine gives its best yield in the magnum format bottle, because the ratio of the volume of wine and to the volume of the bottle is optimal for perfect development of the contents, during prolonged ageing.
international oenological term to indicate a large complex of olfactory and retro-olfactory aromas. The bouquet can be of three types: primary, when it presents fresh fruity and floral sensations deriving from grape juice; secondary for the sensations deriving from fermentation and ageing, and tertiary for the complex, fully developed aromas derived from the refinement of the wine and the oxidation of its components.
regulated international term to indicate the residual sugar of sparkling wines; a sparkling wine declared Brut must have a sugar content of less than 15 grams per litre. (see Sugar residue).
external part of the grape, covered with a whitish waxy patina called pruina, which protects the grape from water and humidity. The peel contains important substances, such as polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins, which give colour, aroma and taste to the wine.
distinctive metal disc, moulded and placed at the top of the wire hood, to ensure the cork is perfect sealed. Due to their bright colours and attractive decorations, they are collected by many enthusiasts especially in France, Spain and Italy. The oldest cappellotti have reached surprising prices.
cover, usually metallised, which covers the cork and the top of the neck of the bottles. In sparkling wines, the capsule is very long and decorative and highlights the name of the producer.
the region where Champagne is produced, located in the eastern part of the Parisian basin, 150 km north-east of Paris. Leaning against the primitive geological pillar of the Ardennes, it occupies the vast basin of what was once an inland sea. First a County, then under military rule, Champagne comprised 2,500,000 hectares (a twentieth of France) during the revolution. In 1970 the territory was divided into the districts of Aube, Haute-Marne, Marne and Ardennes and, in part, into those of Yonne and Aisne. Since July 22, 1927, the law has set the limits of the Champagne wine-growing area, which extends over 35,000 hectares of land of which about 32,000 are planted with vines.
White vine of Burgundian origin which, according to Bowers’ genetic research, derives from a cross between Traminer and Pinot meunier (Schwarzriesling), which gave rise to Pinot Noir. From a subsequent crossing with the white Gouais, Chardonnay and other vines such as Aligoté, Auxerrois, Melon, Gamay black and white (the grape of Beaujolais) and others are derived. (Bowers et al, 1999).
Chardonnay brings great elegance and finesse to the wine. It substantially contributes to the production of quality sparkling wines and is often used in a higher percentage in vintage wines and reserves; the “Blanc de Blancs” sparkling wine is produced using only Chardonnay.
oenological technique that has the purpose of causing the precipitation of solid substances present in suspension in the wine, thus obtaining clarity without altering its colour. It is practiced with organic substances (diatomaceous earth, egg white) which have the ability to coagulate and settle suspended particles.
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
term to indicate a slight loss of wine through the cork. In sparkling wine it would be a strongly negative factor because it also presupposes the release of carbon dioxide. If suspected in the case of a red wine, the bottle should immediately be consumed, otherwise it will certainly be adversely affected.
wine is made up of substances in a gaseous state (they go away immediately, as soon as the wine is opened), others in a volatile state (which evaporate over time), and others in a permanent or solid state (they remain in the wine for a long time). The first are: oxygen, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide. The second are: water, alcohol, higher alcohols, esters (or organic substances), acetic acid and other volatile acids, acetic aldehyde. The third are: sugars, glycerol, organic acids, mineral acids, tannins, colouring substances, gums, pectins and metals such as calcium, iron, potassium and copper. The presence of all these substances makes wine a foodstuff too. It has always been considered such, which is why wine has been the subject of trade and exchanges since ancient times.
front label, rear label, long capsule and collar make up the traditional packaging of sparkling wine bottles. Until the end of the 17th century, bottles of wine in France and the rest of Europe were completely “naked”: in the middle of the 18th century small pieces of handwritten paper began to be glued onto the bottles. The first real labels with elaborate decorations, comparable to those of the present day, were used by shopkeepers in Champagne around 1820.
term intended both as the moment of consumption and consumption in general. In the first case it is said: “sparkling wine should be drunk whenever you want it”. It is often consumed, wrongly, to accompany dessert at the end of a meal, but experts and gourmets offer it as an aperitif and throughout the meal, combined with appetisers, delicate first courses and fish, sometimes with meat depending on its characteristics. Spumante is a splendid wine to accompany the main dishes of the Italian gastronomic tradition.
cellar operation carried out after a few years of ageing. It consists of an energetic shake to which each bottle is subjected with the purpose of bringing the deposit back into suspension, detaching it from the glass and redistributing the yeasts in contact with the wine, to facilitate its ageing and development.
the structure, also called thickness, of wine that derives from the richness of the substances extracted from processing the grapes, namely colour, acidity, tannins, alcohol.
until 31 August 1994 it indicated a sparkling wine or a Champagne treated in order to develop less carbon dioxide and therefore with a more delicate froth than traditional sparkling wine (the bottle had a pressure of 4.5 atmospheres instead of the traditional 6).
EEC regulation n ° 2045/89 of the European Council of 14/06/1989 specified new rules for the use of the definition “Crémant”, which was reserved exclusively for:
• quality sparkling wines produced in a specific region (i.e. sparkling wines with a controlled designation of origin) produced in France or Luxembourg
• wines that comply with the particular rules issued by the member state to regulate their processing (i.e. a decree or a law must establish the rules that apply to all wines that will be denominated “crémant”).
In practice, as regards France, the name “Crémant” would be reserved only for wines with the appellation:
• Crémant d’Alsace (Alsace)
• Crémant de Bourgogne (Burgundy)
• Crémant de Loire (Loire)
• Crémant de Bordeaux
• Crémant de Limoux
and others, without prejudice to the possibility, in future, of creating additional specific denominations.
Champagne producers, Italian producers of classic method sparkling wine and Spanish cava producers were thus forced to cease using it within a prescribed period.
In Franciacorta a valid solution was found, coining the term “Satén”, which replaced the definition “Crémant” for Franciacorta DOCG, while in Champagne no alternative term was found. Currently, the whole question is pending, awaiting a definition: Spain, in fact, which was forced to abandon the use of “methode champenoise”, also abandoned the use of “crémant” shortly after. As it was a term that many Spanish producers had been using for some time on their labels, Spain appealed to the European Council: the appeal was accepted but the new terms and how to use them have not yet been clarified.
French oenological term to which a very complex meaning has been attributed over time, making it difficult to translate into other languages with a single word.
It indicates a specific vineyard, even a small one, but which manages to express the typical characteristics of the territory in which it is located; cru also contains concepts of fame, originality and quality of a vineyard, therefore it expresses the “superior” characteristics of a particular soil, of the vines that are grown there and of the grapes that are harvested there. From a cru, wine of high quality is produced thanks to the climate, the type of soil, favourable exposure, the grape variety, the management of the vineyard and the centuries-old experience of those who manage it.
in French it has three distinct meanings:
• the must obtained from the first pressing of the grapes is defined as “cuvée”, what in Italian is called “mosto fiore”;
• cuvée is the result of the assembly of still wines from different vines, crus and vintages, which with the addition of sugar and yeasts will give rise to the second fermentation;
• cuvée, finally, is the name given to the most prestigious Champagnes (for example the Cuvée Louise by Pommery; the Cuvée Grand Siécle by Laurent-Perrier; the Cuvée Belle Epoque by Perrier-Jouët).
operation carried out on the must before the main fermentation, to eliminate the impurities present after pressing. In Berlucchi it takes place by simple gravity, leaving the must stationary for 10/12 hours, so that residues of skins, fragments of pulp cells and other suspended substances are deposited on the bottom.
slightly sweet sparkling wine, which goes very well with desserts. By law, the sugar content is between 33 and 50 g / l. (see Sugar residue).
set of rules that establish which and how many vines can be used to produce a DOC and DOCG wine. In which areas and in what conditions the grapes to be used can be produced, the yields per hectare and the vinification conditions. The characteristics of the wine in terms of chemical and physical aspects (acidity, alcohol level, etc.) and sensory aspects, the checks that must be carried out. Finally, for DOCG wines, the specifications also establish the ways they are bottled.
separation of the grapes from the stalk, that is from the woody part of the bunch that supports them. It is carried out just before pressing with special machines and relates to still, white and red wines. In the case of sparkling wines, de-stemming is not carried out because it could have negative effects on the quality and composition of the sparkling wine base.
very rare in classic method sparkling wines produced in Italy. Indicates a sparkling wine with a residual sugar content higher than 50 g / l. (see Sugar residue).
bursar of the Benedictine Abbey of Hautvillers; he is credited with having collected and codified the various experiences of his predecessors and contemporaries for the production of the first sparkling wine in the world, in the champenois method (méthode champenoise), today called the “classic method” or refermentation in the bottle.
operation of inserting the liqueur d’expédition immediately after the disgorgement. The liqueur is a solution composed of wine and variable percentages of sugar based on the type of sparkling wine to be obtained. The terms Pas dosé, Brut Nature or Dosage zero indicate the absence of “liqueur d’expédition”.
city in the heart of the Champagne region, where many of the most famous “Maisons” are based, such as Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Pol Roger and the Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wine (abbreviated in French as C.I.V.C.).
The C.I.V.C. is made up of representatives of those who cultivate the vines (vignoble) and those who make wine and market Champagne (négoce). Established in 1941, it aims to harmonise the interests of all those involved in Champagne, managing – in the common interest – the economic, organisational, technical (research and development) and social aspects of the entire sector.
analysis and evaluation of the characteristics of a wine using the senses. Together with chemical analysis it is fundamental to give an opinion on the quality of the wine. The senses that come into action, in order, are: sight, smell and taste.
they are volatile organic substances present in wine in variable quantities. They form part of the aromas that make up the bouquet.
the first labels printed on paper with a press are from 1700. Labels printed in series appeared on the scene at the beginning of the nineteenth century, due to the invention of lithography thanks to Alois Senefelder, a Czechoslovakian.
In Italy the first labels appeared in 1820 on bottles of wine from the island of Elba but the first to use them in grand style was Francesco Cinzano Liquor Supplier of the Royal House, in 1852. In 1900 the first labels appeared composed not only of writing but with drawings, coats of arms, and decorations in bright colours. In 1950 the law began to dictate rules on mandatory information that must appear on the label to protect consumers.
adjective that indicates a sparkling wine of no particular quality, in which even the froth vanishes very quickly when poured into flutes.
a term that in oenology indicates the sediments of wine in the various stages of production. In the bottles of sparkling wine on the market there is never any deposit, which is completely expelled with disgorgement (see).
spontaneous biological and chemical phenomenon in which the sugars present in the squeezed grape juice are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the strains of yeasts naturally present on the grape skins. Sparkling wine undergoes two fermentations: the first (alcoholic fermentation) generally takes place in capacious stainless steel vats, or more rarely in wooden barrels; the second (second fermentation) takes place in the bottle.
Sugars and yeasts are added to the still wine obtained with the first fermentation (suitably assembled in the cuvée), after which it is bottled (tirage) and the bottles are left in a horizontal position for many months in the cellars at a constant temperature (11-12°C). The yeasts cause a second fermentation (which lasts about six months), transforming the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol; the fineness of the perlage and its persistence in the glass depend on the level of attention paid to this second fermentation (which must be slow and at a low temperature) and to the duration of ageing.
natural phenomenon that occurs in wine due to the action of particular bacteria. Malic acid, which characterises unripe fruits, and which has a pungent and highly aggressive acidity, is transformed into lactic acid, which is considerably softer and pleasantly sour.
the most ferocious enemy of the vine to date was the phylloxera, a small spider no bigger than a pin but very voracious, which attacked the roots, killing the plant in a short time. The Pylloxera Vastatrix, a term that gives a good idea, arrived in France from America at the end of the nineteenth century and spread in a few decades throughout Europe, destroying most of the existing vineyards, including, of course, the Italian ones. .
No effective way to combat it was found, but the solution was found by grafting a branch of a European vine onto the root of an American vine. The new “mixed” plant was planted, grew, and produced grapes. This grape kept all the original characteristics deriving from the European vine from which the branch was taken.
a wine that does not present vivacity, aromas and evident flavours.
a wine that has a pleasant and clear scent, in which aromas of flowers or yeasts can be distinguished.
a wine that clearly shows the characteristics of the area and the vine from which it comes.
characteristic of the wine obtained by fermentation in an autoclave.
distinctive structure made of wire that serves to firmly hold the cork stopper of sparkling wines; it is fitted with a special ring, to facilitate opening and removal. Between the cork and the cage there is a moulded metal disk (see cappelotto) the “plaque de muselet” which usually bears the symbols or the trademark of the producer.
usually a full-bodied wine, with a strong alcohol content but overall well balanced and with a pleasant taste.
wine colour, bright red and with purple hues.
the fruit of the vine, divided into two parts: the stalk or rachis, which is the woody part, and the berries. Depending on the type of vine from which it comes, the bunch may have different sizes, colours and shapes (simple, branchy, conical, winged).
creation of a layer of turf between one row and another of a vineyard. Is grass, which undoubtedly gives the vineyard a better aesthetic effect, more useful than bare earth?
Both solutions have advantages and drawbacks; the positive effects of grass, which must be kept short, are: ideal environment for animals and useful plants, control of soil erosion and easier absorption of water, greater support for the passage of agricultural vehicles, balance between vegetation and development of the vine for the benefit of grapes. The drawbacks: competition with the roots of the vine for the absorption of nutrients present in the soil, possible limitation to the development of the vine and accelerated exploitation of the soil, increased risk of damage from the cold, protection for some types of parasites.
alteration of wine clarity due to chemical or biological causes.
the vegetative phase of the vine in which the grains begin to change colour and function: in black vines they go from green to red, and in white vines they turn yellow, and they lose their ability to carry out chlorophyll photosynthesis, which they had up to that moment.
maturation process that improves the organoleptic characteristics of a wine, due to a complex series of chemical reactions, combinations and oxidative phenomena that occur through many substances present in the wine.
refinement phase of sparkling wine after the completion of the “second fermentation”. It gives the wine characteristics due to the autolysis of yeasts, with highly evolved and more complex aromas than those originating in the must. When ageing is extended beyond 4-5 years, it further enriches the aromatic and gustatory structure of vintage sparkling wines, achieved only in great vintages.
plant cells naturally present on grape berries, which reproduce in the must and cause alcoholic fermentation; they come in a wide variety of different types and are grouped into families. Yeasts are typical of the various wine regions: those used in Berlucchi are particular strains of Saccaromyces Bayanus, selected to enhance the characteristic aromatic and gustatory heritage of the grapes vinified in the three pressing centres of Borgonato (Brescia), Casteggio (Pavia) and Lavis ( Trento).
liqueurs are of two types:
• “liqueur de tirage” is a mixture of yeasts and sugar added to the “cuvée” to provoke the second fermentation.
• “liqueur de dosage” or “liqueur d’expédition” is a solution composed of wine and sugar; it is added after disgorgement and determines the type of sparkling wine that is obtained: Brut, Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec. For the function of the liqueurs see “fermentation”.
distinctive wooden slats 1 centimetre thick, 3-4 cm wide and 30-50 cm long, used to consolidate the stacks of sparkling wine bottles stored in the cellar, in a horizontal position, during the second fermentation. At this stage it is said that the bottles are “sur lattes”.
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
In French this word has three distinct and very different meanings; it can mean, in fact, “unit of measurement” or “pomace” or “distillate of pomace” (a brandy similar to Grappa); is pronounced “mar”.
• As a unit of measurement it indicates the quantity of grapes contained in a traditional Champagne press and corresponds to 4,000 kg;
• it is the name of the pomace (skins, stalks, pips), i.e. what remains in the press after the grapes have been pressed;
• it is the name of the distillate (Marc de Champagne) which is produced by distilling the Champagne pomace.
in the case of grapes, it indicates the progressive stages of maturation, an important factor that conditions the quality of the wine; it is evaluated considering the relationship between sugars and acids in the juice inside the berry. For the production of quality sparkling wines, maturation is monitored as it progresses and harvesting occurs when the set of sensory characteristics of the grape tends towards perfection.
when grapes ripen, they double their volume, increase the intensity of their colour, reduce the thickness of their skin and soften their pulp. These are the visible signs of the right degree of ripening. Then there are invisible indications, such as the correct proportion of acidic and sugary substances the grapes should contain. However, these substances can be measured with simple instruments: the refractometer measures sugar content and the ??? measures acidity.
is the method used for the production of quality sparkling wines and involves a second fermentation in the bottle. According to EEC legislation, the champagne method prescribes a minimum ageing of 9 months, while the legislation for Franciacorta DOCG imposes at least xx months, increased to xx for the vintage. In practice, the winemaking of the best classic method Italian sparkling wines lasts on average from 2 to 3 years for S.A. wines and from 4 to 5 years for vintage wines. EEC regulation no. 3309/85 of 18 November 1985 (confirmed in article 6 of EEC regulation no. 2333/92 of 31 July 1992), reserved the use of the expression “Méthode champenoise” or similar, only to wines produced in the specific region of Champagne, granting a period of 8 harvests to producers from member countries (and to those from other French regions that produce sparkling wines with the champagne method) to comply with the directive. The term of use expired on August 31, 1994.
until the end of 1800 the only way to produce sparkling wines consisted of causing a second fermentation in the bottle, known by all as the champagne method.
To speed up the production process and reduce the high costs, due to the numerous manipulations required by the champagne method, the Italian Federico Martinotti, director of the Regia Enological Station of Asti, had the idea of making sparkling wine in a large watertight container, similar to an autoclave.
The idea proved to be valid and it was a French engineer Eugène Charmat who around 1910 built and patented the autoclaves that made it possible to implement the process devised by Martinotti; the success of his equipment was such that the method took his name.
The Charmat method makes it possible to obtain both sweet and dry sparkling wines and its speed (from a minimum of 30 days to 4-6 months) preserves the fruity and aromatic characteristics of the wines, so appreciated for Asti spumante, Moscati, Prosecco and aromatic Malvasia wines.
this term indicates the year of harvesting of the grapes used for the production of that particular wine. A vintage sparkling wine is a wine obtained from a particularly fortunate harvest, due to climatic conditions that brought the grapes to optimal ripening. This is why vintage wines have a different personality each year, because it reflects the climatic conditions of the year and the qualitative characteristics of the grapes of that specific harvest.
In other words, it could be said that each millesimato is first and foremost a work of nature, as that is what makes the characteristics of a certain vintage unique and special. What distinguishes the final product of these harvests from other sparkling wines produced according to tradition, is that vintage wines derive from the assemblage of wines exclusively from that particular year and are not mixed with wines of different years, as normally happens.
On the label (and often also on the cork) vintage wines show the year of harvest (the “millesimo” or thousandth). Furthermore, no vintage wine can be put on the market before until at least three years have elapsed since the harvest, but the best-known vintage wines are usually aged for at least 4-5 years.
the climate of a specific area, often even of a single, specific vineyard, which results from strictly local climatic factors and also human interventions. The distance between one row of vines and another, the shape assumed by the vine, the density of the foliage, grass left on the ground, and the presence of surrounding woods or natural elevation all influence the microclimate of a specific vineyard. The microclimate is measured up to a height of two metres.
the grape juice obtained by pressing fresh bunches of grapes; its composition is very complex and consists of hundreds of substances; the main ones are: 78% water, 20% sugars, 0.25% acids. In the production of sparkling wine the must is always white, even when it is obtained from black grapes (Pinot Noir), because the colouring substances (anthocyanins) that give the characteristic colour to the wine are present only inside the skin of the black grapes and not in the juice.
During soft pressing, to obtain sparkling base wines, the skins are not broken and subjected to moderate pressure so as not to colour the must; the skins then remain in contact with the must only during pressing and never during alcoholic fermentation.
is the name given to the largest bottle used for Champagne. The content is equivalent to 20 normal bottles, or 15 litres. For other names see “Bottle”.
N.D. Négociant Distributeur
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
N.M. Négociant Manipulant
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
distinctive and far from pleasant aroma and taste due to a cork exposed to various forms of accidental contamination. Unfortunately, this inconvenience cannot be eliminated, due to the difficulty of detecting it in advance and, in most cases, it is due to unwanted yeasts or the presence of fungal spores that attack the bark of the cork oak from which the cork comes.
Horizontal storage of sparkling wine bottles does not affect the acquisition of this taste in the least, since storing them in a vertical position would not eliminate the possibility anyway. The unusual taste is usually enough to discourage consumption: however, it has no negative effect on the purity and harmlessness of the wine.
the term indicates the set of carbon dioxide bubbles that develop in sparkling wine when it is poured into the glass. The “flute” shape best highlights the perlage which, when it is fine, continuous and persistent, denotes a sparkling wine of excellent quality.
duration of the sensations left by the wine in taste and smell. The higher the persistence, the better the quality of the wine.
black grape of Burgundy origin; according to Bowers’ genetic research, it gave rise to Pinot Noir, as a result of crossing with Traminer (Bowers et al, 1999).
It is called miller (meunier) because the white fluff that covers the buds that sprout from the black shoots in early spring is more abundant than in the other Champagne vines; one almost has the sensation that a miller has wandered through the vineyards sprinkling them with flour.
It is grown mainly in the “Vallée de la Marne” and in locations with the highest humidity and exposure to cold, because it is very resistant to diseases and frost; it plays an important role in the production of Champagne because it represents 37% of the areas planted with vines in the AOC area.
black grape of Burgundy origin which, according to Bowers’ genetic research, derives from a cross between Traminer and Pinot meunier (Bowers et al, 1999). It gives a sparkling wine body, structure and aptitude for prolonged ageing; with the Pinot Noir vinified in red the base wine used in the cuvée for the elaboration of rosé sparkling wines is obtained.
vertical, upside down position that the sparkling wine bottle assumes at the end of “remuage”. In this way, the bottles that have finished the remuage are kept “on their tip” waiting for the disgorgement.
operation that consists of extracting juice from the grapes, separating it from the solid matter: stalks, skins, seeds.
practice that determines the system of cultivation of the vine and the production of grapes. Pruning establishes the number of fruit buds left on the shoots and limits the vigour of the plant and the production of each individual vine. The most common short pruning techniques are: Cordon Royat, Chablis and the Guyot system.
the second fermentation that makes the wine sparkling, due to the carbon dioxide developed by the yeasts. In Franciacorta this phase can only take place in the bottle and in the whole area it is forbidden to produce any other type of sparkling wine and to use other winemaking methods.
special trestles consisting of two solid wooden panels joined at the top with a hinge; on each side there are 60 holes (120 in total), shaped so as to be able to insert the bottles by the neck, making them progressively assume the various positions required for the various phases of the “remuage”. At the end of the remuage the bottles are practically vertical, upside down, with the deposits collected in contact with the cork, ready for disgorgement.
the woody structure of the bunch of grapes that supports the berries.
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
one of the most important centres for Champagne. An ancient capital of France, it is a city rich in history and monuments, which also make it an interesting tourist destination. All the kings of France have been crowned in Reims cathedral, a jewel of Gothic architecture.
operation with which the deposit formed during the “second fermentation” is made to descend towards the bottle cap. The bottles placed with the neck down on the “pupitres” (or in chests of automated equipment) are periodically shaken energetically, rotated an eighth of a turn each time, and gradually tilted until (once almost vertical) the sediment is all collected in contact with the “bidule” under the cap; from this moment the bottle is ready for disgorging (dégorgement).
there are various types of automatic machines (Gyropalettes) or semi-automatic machines that make it possible to perform the “remuage” mechanically with constant and qualitatively perfect results. The operation, programmed and controlled by a computer, takes place day and night and does not require the presence of an operator. It allows time savings while safeguarding quality. It also requires significantly less space than that required by the “pupitres”.
yield is evaluated in both viticulture and in vinificazione. The first considers the quintals of grapes produced per hectare, the second the litres per quintal of pressed grapes. In Franciacorta, yields are defined and controlled by the Production Regulations, binding for all associated producers.
the different types of sparkling wines offered by the various producers depend on how much sugar is present in the wine; it is the addition (or not) of the liqueur d’expédition and its sugar concentration that determines the type of sparkling wine obtained. The law distinguishes them into:
• Brut (residual sugar less than 15 grams/litre): this is the driest and is an ideal aperitif. Connoisseurs appreciate it above all as a wine for the start of a meal: it goes very well with risotto, fish dishes and white meats; it is best not to accompany it with sweet desserts.
• Sec (between 12 and 20 g/l): dry wine (but less than Brut); indicates a sparkling wine with a medium sugar content whose content is between 17 and 35 g/l. It goes very well with some entrées, mousses, patés and not very sweet desserts.
• Demi sec (between 17 and 35 g/l) and Doux (over 50 g/l): dessert wines, for the end of a meal.
the set of flavours that are experienced after having swallowed the wine. A quality wine always leaves a pleasant aftertaste.
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
sparkling rosé wine, with its delicate colour of light pink tones, is suitable for consumption throughout a meal. Rosé is obtained by vinifying the Pinot Noir in red and adding it to the cuvée in the assemblage phase, before the second fermentation or, more rarely, partially vinifying the grapes in red (i.e. briefly keeping the skins in the must during alcoholic fermentation) .
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
has the purpose of eliminating the deposit due to the second fermentation from the bottle; it is done after remuage. The neck of the bottles, turned upside down, is immersed in a refrigerating solution at minus 30°C, which freezes about 2 cm of wine and forms an icicle that the “bidule” (see) compacts. When the crown cap is removed, the internal pressure expels the icicle, leaving the wine perfectly clear. The small amount of wine and froth that comes out during the operation is topped up with the liqueur d’expédition and the bottle is permanently closed with the traditional multilayer cork.
separation of the must from the solid parts through the effect of gravity.
regulations require that on each Champagne label there is a set of initials and an identification and control number, which identify the type and name of the producer.
• NM (négociant-manipulant) indicates a producer that buys grapes, musts or wines and almost always also cultivates their own vines, processing Champagne in their own premises. This category includes the great world-famous Maisons.
• RM (récoltant-manipulant) cultivate their own vines and process their own grapes. This accounts for a large number of usually small to medium-sized producers, which produce and market about one third of total Champagne production.
• RC (récoltant-coopérateur) cultivate their own vines and brings the grapes to a cooperative that processes and markets, or from which it collects the equivalent of the grapes conferred in the form of wine or bottles to be marketed on its own.
• CM (coopérative de manipulation) a cooperative to which members bring the cultivated grapes; it provides for the processing and marketing of the wines.
• SR (société de récoltants) vignerons from the same family who have joined together to pool their grapes and make wine, creating greater opportunities for assemblage and marketing.
• ND (négociant distributeur) a retailer who buys, labels and markets bottles made by the seller.
• R. (récoltant) those who cultivateA vines and have others process them and then market them on their own.
• MA (marque d’acheteur or marque auxiliaire) when the brand does not belong to the producer of the Champagne but rather belongs to the buyer (e.g. Fauchon, Peck). It can also be an auxiliary brand to the main one, developed for specific or commercial needs of the buyer or seller.
said of a wine when its aroma recalls spices.
layer formed by myriad tiny bubbles that are created on the surface when a quality sparkling wine is poured. In analysing the qualities of a sparkling wine, its size and quantity are assessed by observing the thickness of the froth on the surface of the wine, its duration and persistence after the wine has been poured into the flute. Finally, we observe the “ribbon” or the rim of froth that remains for hours in the glass or in an opened bottle.
see the item Abbreviations on Champagne labels
it winds for 80 km through art, nature, good food and the vineyards that cover the Franciacorta region south of Lake Iseo. It allows you to visit the cellars, enjoy tastings under the guidance of producers and oenologists, and appreciate the typical gastronomy of the area (casoncelli, beef in oil, lake fish).
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the set of components of the wine. Often the term is used as a synonym for body.
it is said of wine that has a tannin flavour. In other words, appealing, astringent, like when you eat an unripe persimmon. It is typical of wines that are not yet ripe.
natural substance with a complex compound chemical structure that is widespread in woods, fruits, barks and leaves. It has an astringent effect. In grapes it is present in the skin, in the pips and in the stalk and can be transmitted to the must during the pressing and fermentation phase. The substances contained in the tannin oxidise and pass from yellow to brownish red, contributing to the colour of the wine due to anthocyanins (see). The tannin is also transmitted by the wood of the barrels used for ageing.
final closure of sparkling wine bottles with the special cork stopper, before packaging and shipping.
the sparkling wine cork is distinctive, perfectly cylindrical in origin and in the shape of a mushroom after bottling. For sparkling wines, special conglomerate stoppers are used, at the base of which two virgin cork washers are applied to ensure the best quality and pressure resistance. The cork used in sparkling wine stoppers must not be too hard or too soft to ensure good elasticity at the base in contact with the wine; the upper part made of conglomerate has been designed to withstand the considerable torsion required to uncork the bottle. The main producers of sparkling wine corks are Portugal, Spain and Italy.
this cap is now widely used to seal bottles during the second fermentation. In ancient times, even in this phase the stopper was made of cork, held by a distinctive metal clip. Compared to the cork stopper, the crown cap ensures an excellent hermetic closure, avoids any problem of unwanted odours and offers better resistance over time, because it is made of stainless steel.
when used as a wine-growing term, it includes a set of factors that are much more complex than simply the composition of the soil. The concept of terroir encompasses, in fact, the type and composition of the soil and subsoil, the slope, the exposure, the microclimate, the trend and distribution of rainfall during the year, the number of hours of sunshine, temperatures and daytime and nighttime temperature ranges: these are all elements that contribute to determining the characteristics and quality of the grape, and therefore of the wine produced in that particular area.
the phase of filling the bottles for the second fermentation. After having meticulously mixed the yeasts and sugars with the wine that comes from the assemblage (cuvée), the bottles are filled and corked, which begins the “second fermentation” phase.
cellar operation carried out to separate the clear wine from its natural deposits.
fruit of the vine that has specific characteristics and peculiarities depending on the grape variety from which it comes, the soil and the area in which it is grown.
originally the vitis vinifera produced only black grapes; white grapes are due to a genetic mutation of some strains, which have no longer been able to synthesise anthocyanins, the colouring substances found inside the skin of black grapes, and which, dissolving in the must during alcoholic fermentation, determine the more or less intense red colour of the wine.
the different grape varieties whose wines are joined together, in certain proportions, to obtain a desired result. This technique makes it possible to obtain a wine with characteristics different from those that would be obtained from a single grape variety. Many great wines are the result of skilful blends of wines from different grape varieties (the renowned Bordeaux wines derive from the famous “Bordeaux blend”, also adopted in other wine regions in France and around the world with excellent results).
the added sugar determines the type of sparkling wine; by law the various definitions according to the sugar content are:
• Brut Nature or Pas Dosé residual sugar less than or equal to 3 grams/litre
• Extra Brut sugar content between 0 and 6 grams/litre
• Brut sugar content below 15 g/l
• Extra Dry from 12 to 20 g/l
• Sec from 17 to 35 g/l
• Demi Sec from 33 to 50 g/l
• Doux (sweet) over 50 g/l
the set of harvesting operations up to its conclusion. In Berlucchi, to obtain quality wines, the grapes are harvested exclusively by hand and placed in small boxes of 18 kg, to ensure that the bunches reach the pressing centres intact and in perfect condition. The harvested grapes are pressed within 3 hours from the moment the bunches were picked from the plant.
indicates the land planted with vines. It is generally organised in ‘filari’, a series of plants arranged in a row at a predetermined distance. There must also be a certain distance between one row and another, to favour the sun’s rays, to allow agricultural machinery to pass and allow for agricultural work.
“Vitis vinifera” not grafted onto American vines, as was normal before phylloxera devastated European vineyards.
Today in Champagne there are two small plots of half a hectare each, with vines “on the original foot”, in Aÿ, owned by the Bollinger maison. Only in propitious years, 2,000 bottles of Champagne called “Vieilles Vignes Françaises” are obtained which, from an oenological point of view, represent a rarity, as there are no longer other vines of this kind in Europe.
the person who cultivates the vine; he can elaborate his own wine or sell all or part of the grapes he harvest.
plot planted with vines. It also indicates the overall area suitable for producing a particular wine.
the solid part of the grape that remains after pressing. It is made up of stalks, skins and seeds. Grappa is obtained by distilling the fresh pomace.
the seeds contained in grapes. They are rich in tannins and fatty substances from which you can also obtain an edible oil (grape seed oil) used in the kitchen for seasoning or cooking.
wines of high-quality vintages from previous years; they are used in assemblage to form the best cuvées to give greater balance and body.
the flavour of a wine with all the right credentials in terms of aroma, flavour and alcohol content. The resulting taste is defined as balanced and harmonious, substantially very pleasant. The vinous flavour is evident in good young wines. It also generally refers to wines whose scent recalls that of the must.
Italian name of vitis vinifera, a plant of very ancient origin which is believed to originate in the region of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). It comes in 8000 different varieties, for wine and for eating, with black and white berries.
international experience has shown that not all grapes are suitable for sparkling wine; the vines that have given the best qualitative results are: Pinot nero and Pinot meunier (black grapes), Chardonnay and Pinot bianco (white grapes). Pinot meunier (miller) is grown almost exclusively in Champagne, in the Marne valley, for its robust characteristics and its ability to withstand the humid climate and frosts.
an operation that consists of adding sugar to the must before alcoholic fermentation. A winemaking practice used to improve the quality of the base wine in those regions or in those seasons in which the ripening of the grapes was not sufficient. In Italy it is not allowed unless there is a specific derogation established by law in relation to the negative characteristics of the harvest.