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Senior Member
Sep 30, 2009
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Banbury UK

Higher quality assessment is based on marketing​

Study: Champagne method is not superior to tank fermentation method

Sparkling wines produced using the Charmat method offer the same sensory quality as those produced using the traditional Champagne method. This is the result of a study by the University of Caxias do Sul in Brazil, which was published in the wine science journal Oeno One of the International Viticulture and Enology Society (IVES). For this purpose, sparkling wines were compared that were produced from the same base wines using the traditional method as well as the Charmat method. In the traditional method, the second fermentation of the base wine takes place in sealed bottles, in the Charmat method in a pressure tank. Both samples had the same maturation time on the same yeast. According to the researchers, no differences in physico-chemical compounds could be detected analytically with increasing ageing time of the wines. These results were confirmed sensory. The study ran for two years.
Other studies coming to the opposite conclusions had been carried out with sparkling wines from different base wines and fermentation temperatures or yeast contact times. In this study, the main variable was only the method of the second fermentation.
In their conclusion, the study authors come to the conclusion that the differences between sparkling wines made according to the Charmat and traditional methods are "subtle" and hardly change the characteristics of the sparkling wines. "The longer they age, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish the products by sensory alone. The method used to carry out the second fermentation does not define the quality of the sparkling wines. It is possible to assume that there are other factors that precede the second fermentation that may have a stronger influence on the product."
In another paragraph, they decidedly point out "that while there is marketing touting the quality of sparkling wines made by the traditional method, sparkling wines made by the Charmat method can have the same level of quality and ageing ability."
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