In a nutshell, what makes champagne bubble is carbonation.
If that simple fact bursts your champagne bubble, then take heart. There are three ways to get the bubbles in the bottle, and one is a long, slow, traditional, romantic method.
Before the bubbles, champagne is just wine; it becomes sparkling wine with the addition of the bubbles.
all starts after the first fermentation of the wine. Then, one of these
three methods is used to put the bubbles in the bottles:
1. Méthode Champenoise: Also called méthode traditionelle.
After the first fermentation, a little yeast and sugar are added to the wine, triggering another fermentation. The bottles are capped at this time with a simple beer-bottle type cap and placed in a riddling rack where they stay for at least 15 months. The bottles are slowly turned almost upside down so that the lees, the fermentation residue, settles in the neck of the bottle.
The bottle necks are then quick-frozen, freezing the lees. The cap is removed and the lees go flying like a cork. Sounds messy.
A dosage, a little wine and sugar combo, is now quickly added to the bottles. The bottles are corked and caged, and laid to rest for several more months or even years before they're ready for market. The extra fermentation produces the bubbles naturally, which last a long time after opening.
2. The Tank Method: Also called Charmat or cuve close.
3. Bicycle Pump Method:
Understanding what makes champagne bubble is just one good conversation-starter to know about sparkling wines. Read...