After all of our discussion about deep, chalk cellars and meticulous hand labor it may be surprising to learn that many sparkling wines get their bubbles in a great big tank. Yes, bubbles by the tankful! A quick read of Keeping with Tradition will bring you up to speed on how champagne is made.
In the tank method the second fermentation happens, not in a bottle, but in a tank where the carbon dioxide bubbles are trapped under pressure. There is no need for riddling or long storage. The wine ferments quickly and is filtered into a new tank to remove all of the lees. Dosage is added to the entire batch at once and the sparkling wine is bottled.
The resulting wine will not have the yeasty, bready flavors of the traditional method. Instead it will taste like a still wine with bubbles. This wouldn’t be very tasty with the barely ripe chardonnay from Champagne, but how about a muscat or a riesling. These grapes have a lot of fruity flavor that you want to taste. These wines are not meant to age so go ahead and drink up. This is also less expensive than the traditional method so you can get some great deals to serve at a holiday party.
The tank method sparkling wine we have noticed most often on menus is prosecco. This sparkling wine comes from Northeast Italy in the Veneto area and is made from a grape named prosecco. Approximately 28 million bottles are made a year. Most are dry to slightly off dry and meet the 4 F’s: