Written by 2:48 am Food

Commemorating World Champagne Day

Bodega Zuccardi wine room (Photo: Bodega Zuccardi)

While every bottle of Champagne is a sparkling wine, not every bottle of sparkling wine is a Champagne. It is the world’s most notable sparkling wine, nonetheless; only wine produced specifically within the Champagne region of France, from grapes grown in the identical region, will be called Champagne. Ahead of tomorrow’s 2022 global commemoration of Champagne Day, we desired to explore the easiest of Argentina’s sparkling variety, which was first bottled commercially in 1902. Though sparkling wines are made using either the Charmat method or the classic (Champenoise) method, the name varies in several countries and areas outside of the Champagne region. Generally known as Espumante in Argentina (and Portugal), wines made using the normal or modern methods are also often called: Cava (or Espumoso) in Spain, Prosecco in Italy, Cremant in France (once produced outside of the Champagne region) and Sekt in Germany & Austria.

Traditionally, Champagne was made using primarily the Champenoise method which allowed for a natural fermentation of the grapes but proved very costly, time-consuming and labour-intensive. With this method, bubbles within the wine are produced within the second fermentation of the wine within the bottle; nonetheless, with the inexpensive, time-efficient Charmat method, this is finished in steel tanks. The production of Espumante grew slowly as local producers tried to emulate their French counterparts while wooing a demanding local market that preferred imported Champagne. This all modified starting in 1959 when Moët & Chandon chosen Mendoza as the situation for its first overseas subsidiary and over the many years has led to increased production of sparkling wines within the country. Back in 2005, there have been only 59 producers making Espumante but today, there are roughly 165 wineries that make sparkling wine in Argentina, mostly in Mendoza, but in addition in Neuquén, Rio Negro, San Juan and Chubut.

The expansion of Espumante production in Argentina can be reflected within the domestic consumption of the variability which has risen because the Eighties, with most wineries selling 80 per cent of their wines within the country with the remaining 20 per cent being exported to over 16 international territories. “Espumantes Argentinos” have, since their starting over 100 years ago, increased in consumption per capita, from 18 litres to 21 liters largely resulting from their quality. Wineries consistently allocate their best base wines to their Champenoise method and the country’s best exponents today are made with high-altitude Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It’s in these conditions that each grapes, essentially the most recognised on the earth for the sort of wine, achieve a definition of fruit whilst maintaining a high degree of natural acidity. Today there are numerous award-winning Argentine wines of the sparkling variety that allow consumers with essentially the most discerning of palates the chance to enjoy a terrific Espumante, absent any craving for its French counterpart. Thursday Food introduces you to 5 of the most effective sparklers from the house of Malbec:

Otronia Espumante 2018 is a 94-point 100 per cent organic Chardonnay variety that’s produced using the normal method by Bodega Otronia in Patagonia. The wine was aged for 25 months and has a soft pale yellow color, presenting aromas of toasted bread, fruits comparable to white peach, citrus alongside herbal and floral notes. On the palate, the soft bubbles provide a balanced, textured elegance, complemented by great acidity and a fragile sensation of unctuousness.

Alma 4 Pinot Chardonnay 2018, which comprises 70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent Chardonnay, is essentially the most classic of the Alma 4 range of sparkling wines by Sebastian Zuccardi of Bodega Zuccardi. This 93-point mix, aged for 20 months within the classic approach to second fermentation within the bottle, has a yellow color with a fragile coppery tint and regular bubbles. The wine expresses aromas of red fruit, pear, apple, dried fruit, toasted bread together with the elegant aroma of yeast. Within the mouth, it’s balanced with good structure and features stand out flavors of butter and toast with a luxuriously persistent finish.

Progenie II Brut Nature is the highest Espumante from Bodega Vistalba and is made up of 60 per cent Pinot Noir and 40 per cent Chardonnay grapes from its vineyards positioned in Mendoza. Produced using the Champenoise method, this 93-point mix has a continuing release of bubbles, coppery hues in addition to a compact and chronic foam when poured. On the nose, notes of white flowers and dried fruits are perceived while within the mouth, it has a well-marked acidity, making it vibrant and refreshing with hints of dried apricot.

Bressia Royale Brut Nature 2020 is a 93-point Espumante from Bodega Bressia, that stands out amongst Argentine sparkling wines for its delicate craftsmanship which follows traditional methodology. To the eyes, this wine which is aged two years, comprising 50 per cent Pinot Noir and 50 per cent Chardonnay, presents a golden tone of medium intensity with very high-quality bubbles. On the nose, it expresses aromas of delicate citrus and tropical fruit with good intensity, together with a marked presence of toasted and dry bread. On the palate it’s splendid, fresh, elegant and traditional, all at the identical time, with good structure and a persistent finish.

Estancia Uspallata Brut Nature is product of 100 per cent Pinot Noir and produced from vineyards planted at 2,000 metres above sea level in Lujan De Cuyo, the best in Mendoza. On the palate it’s vibrant, electric, fresh and spicy with incredible acidity, expressing notes of green apple. It’s pearly yellow in color with high-quality visible bubbles, featuring intense aromas of candied cherries together with hints of white flowers, traces of fresh yeast, honey and citrus. This 93-point Espumante, made using the Champenoise method, was aged for 14 months and, though very young, has good complexity.

Champagne is synonymous with elegance, celebrations and gatherings so, tomorrow, make sure to get a bottle of your favourite Espumante and share a toast together with your friends or colleagues or families because the world celebrates this bubbly variety. Salud!

An overhead shot of the vineyards at Estancia UspallataEstancia Uspallata
Bodega VistalbaBodega Vistalba
The vineyards at Estancia UspallataEstancia Uspallata
Alma 4 Pinot ChardonnayBodega Zuccardi
Bodega Vistalba vineyardsBodega Vistalba
An overhead shot of Bodega VistalbaBodega Vistalba
The vineyards at Bodega BressiaBodega Bressia
Bressia Royale Brut Nature 2020Bodega Bressia
Progenie II Brut Brut Nature Bodega Vistalba
Otronia Brut Nature Bodega Otronía

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