When we have something to celebrate there is nothing better than opening a good bottle of sparkling. However, although this drink is more related to celebrations, know that you can enjoy it on any occasion. The sparkling wines in addition to being very refreshing, which makes them great for the hot Brazilian climate, are very versatile when thinking about harmonizing with dinner or desserts. However, even alone, in a relaxed or romantic moment, sparkling drinks are an excellent option.
Despite being a well-known drink, doubts about the sparkling varieties and the names of their production methods are common. Therefore, we are going to clarify everything about these two questions below and help you better choose the type of sparkling wine that most pleases your palate. Therefore, we will also give tips on how to harmonize better with each one of them.
Sparkling wine production methods
The main characteristic of sparkling wines is the bubbles present in the drink. These bubbles are the result of the second fermentation, where tirage liquor is added, which is a sugary liquid that contains yeast. However, it is these yeasts that make this fermentation release the carbon dioxide that is then incorporated into the liquid, thus forming the bubbles.
As for the main production methods, there are two, Champenoise (called the traditional method) and Charmat. So let’s talk a little about them next.
In the Champenoise method (traditional), the production is the same used by renowned French producers in the Champagne region. Therefore, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle itself. This typically takes more production time and also requires more manpower.
In the Charmat method, secondary fermentation takes place in pressurized stainless steel tanks. Therefore, the drink comes out of the stainless steel tank and is already bottled and ready to be enjoyed. The Charmat method was developed later than the Champenoise method and, as such, is known as the second method of sparkling wine production.
Classification according to sugar content
Each sparkling wine, in the production process, receives a classification corresponding to the sugar content present in the drink, which is obtained after removing the yeast residues and adding the expedition liqueur that, according to the amount of sugar contained in this liquid, will rate the drink.
Just to reinforce, the tirage liqueur is used to form the bubbles (sugar and yeast) and the expedition liqueur is used to measure the sugar (just sugar without the yeast). However, it is worth remembering that the best ratings and accompaniments are those that please you the most. You don’t have to stick to rules, the important thing is to satisfy your taste buds.
We’ll take a look at these classifications below and give you tips on the accompaniments that best harmonize with each of them.
Sweet Sparkling Wine or Moscatel
The sparkling wines with this classification are the ones that contain the highest concentration of sugar in their composition. The amount of sugar present in a sweet sparkling wine is more than 60 grams per liter. Sweet sparkling wines are mainly produced with the Moscato grape, and for this reason they are also known by the name of Moscatel.
So those with a sweeter palate will love this type of sparkling wine. To harmonize, the tip is to opt for chocolates, fruits, panettone, sweet foudues, in short, desserts and sweet dishes.
The Demi-Céc or semi-dry wines, as they are also known, are sparkling wines with a sugar concentration between 20 and up to 60 grams/liter. This category is one of the most commercialized precisely because it is between the sweet and dry classification, thus pleasing many palates.
Being in the middle ground in relation to sugar content, Demi-Séc wines are very versatile to harmonize. You can either accompany it with desserts, as well as with light savory dishes, such as seafood for example. That is, they are a “joker” of harmonization.
Dry Sparkling Wine
This type of classification has its sweetness percentage between 15 and 20 grams/liter. It is very common to confuse dry sparkling wines (séc) with Brut. But they don’t have the same residual sugar and you’ll see that below.
With regard to pairing, dry sparkling wines are great to enjoy with aperitifs and snacks and even not-too-sweet desserts.
This type of sparkling wine is also among the most commercialized and to enter this classification they must have between 8 and 15 grams of sweetness per liter. So here is the difference between Brut and dry sparkling wines, Brut are even drier.
As far as accompaniments are concerned with these sparkling wines, opt for savory dishes such as suckling pig, poultry, tuna, grilled salmon and neutral cheeses.
The Extra Brut sparkling wine to receive this name must have a residual sugar of 3 to 8 grams per liter. However, they are still not the driest of all.
When pairing, you can pair with more savory dishes such as pasta in white sauce, medium-ripened cheese, Iberian jamón, which will certainly bring a perfect combination.
Nature sparkling wine classification is the driest of all. This category has practically no residual sugar in the composition. The Nature ones have a maximum of 3 grams of sugar per liter and are given this name precisely because they are as natural as possible. Because this low sugar content is only obtained by removing the expedition liquor in the process.
To harmonize with a sparkling Nature, accompany it with dishes of animal origin such as beef or pork, it works great. However, even with baked fish you will achieve a good pairing.
We saw in this post what are the main production methods of sparkling wines, how to get their signature pimples, and how they are graded for their sugar content. In addition, we also saw how and why the classifications of this exquisite drink happen.
As far as pairings are concerned, we had the tips that gave you a good idea of what to pair with your sparkling wine. Although, of course, we know that taste is a particular thing. However, by harmonizing well, we managed to make the best of the flavor of each type of sparkling wine. Now grab your glass, your sparkling wine and let’s celebrate life!