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Answers to frequently asked questions
What is the Classic Method?
The Classic Method (aka méthode champenoise which takes its name from the Champagne region of France) is a wine production process which includes a first fermentation, usually in stainless steel tanks, and a second fermentation taking place directly in the bottle activated by the addition of sugar and select yeast (tirage). When the second fermentation is complete the wine is aged on the lees, a lengthy process of maturation occurring in the bottle, which, in the case of Ferrari Winery lasts at minimum of 24 months for the basic label and over 10 years for the most important reserve in the house, the Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore.
What is Trentodoc?
Instituted in 1993 Trentodoc is the first DOC in Italy and the second in the world dedicated exclusively to the Classic Method. Giulio Ferrari’s dream to create the highest quality sparkling wine in Trentino is reflected today in the Trentodoc designation, made up of 40 different wineries joined together in one collective brand. The regulations are composed of strict rules of production: high quality grapes from well-defined locations in Trentino, stipulation of the Classic Method as the only process for production and a lengthy period of aging on the lees. The grape varieties included under the regulations are Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Meunier.
What is the Charmat Method? How does it differ from the “Classic” Method?
The Charmat Method is the one used, for example, for producing Prosecco. Fermentation takes place in pressurized tanks called autoclaves, and lasts a very short time (15-20 days). The wine resulting from this first fermentation is then filtered and transferred into another autoclave. In this case the wine does not undergo a second fermentation in bottle, nor does it mature on its lees (yeasts). Both the time and the technical complexity required to produce a Charmat Method wine are therefore notably inferior compared to those for one made by the Classic Method.
How are sparkling wines classified?
Pas Dosé: Also referred to as Pas Opéré, Non Dosato or Dosage Zéro. It means that at the end of its process of maturation, no mixture of wine and sugar (“dosage”) was added to the finished wine. This style is particularly dry.
Extra Brut: In this case, the dosage contains less than 6 grams of sugar per litre. This is a very dry sparkling wine.
Brut: In this case, the sparkling wine’s sugars are less than 15 grams per litre.
Demi-Sec: This is a sparkling wine created, generally speaking, for accompanying desserts. It has a sugar content of between 33 and 50 grams per litre and a sweet taste.
Doux or Dolce: This is made with a dosage of over 50 grams per litre of sugar.
What is meant by the word “Cru”?
This is a single vineyard or part of one, located in a particular zone, the wine from which displays well-defined taste characteristics. By extension, “cru” also refers to the wine obtained from grapes from that vineyard: this is usually of a higher level of quality than other wines.
What does “Cuvée” mean?
This is a blend of various wines with different characteristics, used to create the base wine from which a Classic Method sparkler will be produced.
What is the function of the yeasts?
They are the real creators of our sparkling wines: they in fact transform sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, thus triggering off the fermentation of the grape must (juice).
What is the liqueur de tirage?
It is a mixture of sugar and selected yeasts, added to the base wine in order to activate the second fermentation that will take place inside the bottle (the so-called “prise de mousse”).
What is remuage?
It is the operation (also known as “riddling”) whereby the bottles of Classic Method sparkling wine are gently rotated each day in order to encourage the sediment to slide down the neck of the bottle towards the crown cap that seals it.
What is disgorging?
Disgorging is the operation by which one removes the sediment deposited in the bottle, which has been transferred into its neck by the process of remuage. The year when disgorging took place is usually indicated on the back label and is a fundamental piece of information for the consumer when he or she purchases the wine. In fact, the characteristics of the wine in the bottle – if it is stored correctly in one’s cellar – will remain unaltered for about two years.
What is the liqueur d’expédition?
This is the name given to the syrup with a high concentration of sugar that is added to Classic Method sparkling wines before they are sealed with their final corks. It has the task of imparting just the right degree of mellowness and roundness to the wine. It is also referred to as the “dosage syrup”.
What is meant by maturation?
This is the period of ageing in bottle that a Classic Method sparkling wine undergoes, during which the yeasts work to create its distinctive characteristics.
What does “vintage” mean?
This is what a Classic Method sparkling wine is called when the cuvée comes from a single year. This can be seen from the label, on which the year of the harvest is shown. In general, vintage wines have a maturation process that lasts for over 24 months and, in the case of the most prestigious wines, even seven or eight years (or even more) is not uncommon.
What is the perlage?
This refers to the bubbles that are visible in the glass once a sparkling wine has been poured.
What is a pupitre?
It is a wooden rack, made up of two wide planks joined together so as to form an upside-down “V”. It is punctuated with holes, in which the bottles are inserted in order for remuage to be carried out.