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”Methode provençale” to make sparkling wines?

>> Sunday, February 13, 2011

Since quite a few year it has been forbidden to use the expression “methode champenoise” on sparkling wines made with a second fermentation in the bottle. In the future we may instead see “methode provençale”. Provence is enjoying the popularity of rosé wines but researchers have now developed a “new” method to make bubbly that is supposed to keep the wines fresher and lighter than other methods. Generally when making sparklers one adds some sugar (and yeast) at the end for the second fermentation. That is what they do in Champagne. If you do that you will inevitably increase the alcohol contents making a potentially heavier wine.

In the Provence method you start the winemaking by removing part of the must before fermentation. It is put in cold storage to avoid fermentation. When the wine has finished the fermentation that must is added back in, instead of adding sugar as you would traditionally. The result is that after the second fermentation the wine has the “normal” alcohol level, just like the still wine. In traditional sparkling wine making the sparkling wine will have a higher alcohol contents than the still wine due to the added sugar. The Provence method is still at an experimental stage and the wines do not have an AOC/AOP. They are simply called “vin mousseux de qualité”. In the future they hope for an appellation “rosé effervescent de Provence”. Around 70 wine producers are taking part in the experiment.

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