Home Sparkling Wines Metodo Italiano, aka the Charmat Process for Making Sparkling Wine (by request)

Metodo Italiano, aka the Charmat Process for Making Sparkling Wine (by request)


Making Sparkling Wine via Metodo Italiano

Metodo Italiano for Sparkling wineclick on illustration to enlarge

With my recent visit to Valdobbiadene, and the Prosecco of Nino Franco, I’ve received some messages asking if I could do an illustration explaining the process for making sparkling wine like Prosecco.

The approach differs from how wines like Champagne, Franciacorta, or Cava are made in that, with those examples, the secondary fermentation (which gets the bubbles in the bottle) occurs within the bottle in which the wine is later sold. This approach is called Methode Traditionelle.

With Prosecco, the secondary fermentation instead occurs within a large tank, and the wine is bottled after. This approach is known as Metodo Italiano.

Technically speaking, either method can be taken with any grape that can make sparkling wine. However, the two methods have differing effects on the final wine, and so many consider each to suit different grapes better than the other.

For example, the Methode Traditionelle generally requires higher acid levels in the original grapes, and so suits fruit like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which have naturally higher levels of acidity in cool climates.

On the other hand, Metodo Italiano has less impact on the flavors of the grapes, and so does well at preserving the original aromas and flavors of the fruit. For that reason, this approach does well at showcasing a grape like glera in its resulting Prosecco, which, at its best, has a pure fruit expression and accent of fresh greenery.

I’d already done a drawing of Metodo Italiano, so, here it is!

Cheers, and thanks!

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    • Yes, thanks, Alfonso. I’ve since found that out. In the States I’d only ever heard it referred to as Italiano. It’s also called Martinotti-Charmat since both men developed the approach.

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