Charmat doesn’t always mean Prosecco
15th October 2019
In the world of sparkling wines, there are two main methods of production, the traditional method that sees a second fermentation occurring in the bottle and the Charmat method where the fermentation happens within large pressurised stainless-steel tanks.
What exactly is Charmat Method?
Also known as the ‘tank method’ the Charmat method (patented in 1907 by the French winemaker Eugene Charmat) sees a sparkling wine produced where first and / or secondary fermentation happens in tanks. It is a faster process for making sparkling wines and usually results in less expensive wines such as Asti, Spumante and Prosecco. The wines are bottled under pressure from the tanks which in turn preserves the bubbles in the bottle that we all love and enjoy!
Charmat method wines are usually the fruitier style, the Glera grape that is famous for producing Prosecco particularly thrives when going through this quicker process and the results can be fantastic for sparkling wine lovers.
Charmat doesn’t always mean Prosecco.
Many people when getting involved in learning about wines will quickly realise that with sparkling wines there are mostly two methods to look out for. The first is of course what makes Champagne famous, the traditional method, which also covers many other sparkling wines regions and countries globally such as from Italy, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and more.
The second is the Charmat method (also known as Metodo Italiano) and is famous thanks to Prosecco in that nearly all sparkling wines from this region will be produced in this way giving younger and fruitier results. Though Italian in traditions, Charmat method is used by other wine regions and countries too, Lambrusco of Italy can lay claim to fine wines being produced this way and we can explore countries likes Slovenia, Georgia and even in the UK that are preferring the tank method.
It depends very much on what you are looking for in a sparkling wine and as with most things in life, what your budget is! Many would have to agree that traditional method wines are usually of higher quality, complexity, price and better for long term storing. Charmat method are usually easier to drink, fruitier, cheaper and though not holding a best before date, you will be advised to drink them within two years of production to get the best from them.
Five examples of Charmat Method sparkling wines that are not Prosecco:
Fitz Pink Sparkling Wine: “Red berry fruity aromas. Relaxed flavours, enjoyable and red fruity taste sensation.”
Grapes: Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Reichensteiner, Madeleine Angevine, Pinot Noir, Rondo
Bric Penina Extra Dry: “Sour cream, citrus and dried apricots on the nose. Yellow fruits in flavours.”
Grapes: Pinot Grigio
Vinakoper Capris Refosk: “Great red sparkling wine. Summer berry fruit flavours with hints of spice / oak / earthy notes. Not too heavy or overpowering as per some red sparkling wines. A trophy winning sparkling wine from the 2017 Glass of Bubbly awards.”
Vipava 1894 Zelen: “Touch of dried apricot, tropical and petrol in aromas. Full of pleasing flavours including yellow and green fruits along with a touch of damp hay.”
Badagoni Rosé sparkling wine: “Really enjoyable. Fruity with mostly strawberries in aromas and taste, An ideal summers day sparkling wine.”
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.