Author: dr. Gabriella Mészáros

Sparkling wines

Sparkling wines

Traditional method sparkling wine refers to those sparkling wines containing so-called absorbed carbon dioxide. This is achieved by adding yeast and sugar to a finished base wine, which initiates a second fermentation process. Since the carbon dioxide produced during this second fermentation cannot escape, it is absorbed into the wine. Generally, fresh, light wines are used for this. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two varieties that may never be omitted from the ingredients of any serious traditional method sparkling wine.

Traditional method sparkling wine does not have to be aged, many are sold when they are ready for consumption. The best regions for sparkling wine production are those with slightly cooler climates and with soils rich in limestone. The Carpathian Basin’s characteristics make it suitable for this. If producers work with appropriate prudence, excellent base wines can even be produced on warm, volcanic soils. Although the two most popular varieties for base wine (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) are also cultivated in Hungary, some varieties native to the Carpathian Basin are popular too. Furmint, Hárslevelű, Olaszrizling and Ezerjó are all suitable for making good sparkling wine. The Hungarian wine districts with significant traditional method sparkling wine production are cool Etyek-Buda and Mór; however, some unique wines are also found around Somló, Tokaj, Eger and the Balaton.

So-called sparkling and semi-sparkling wines contain carbon dioxide which is added after their production, thus creating far simpler wines. The mousse is not as fine, and the bubbles are less creamy than in the case of wines produced by the traditional method.

All categories of sparkling wine have been gaining in popularity of late, and with good reason. A good sparkling wine is light, airy, fresh and fruity, meaning it goes well with most dishes. Many people love traditional, bottle-fermented sparkling wines and their more complex aromatics, mature, slightly yeasty aromas and flavours. Just ensure you drink them well chilled!

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