Sparkling wines made in the French region of Champagne use the “traditional method” to get bubbles in the bottle. First, a base wine is made through normal fermentation in a stainless steel tank. Fermentation creates alcohol and a powerful gas called CO2, which is released into the air.
After the base wine is bottled, it undergoes a second fermentation right there inside the bottle. A dose of Liqueur de Tirage is added to the wine. This potion includes a bit of wine, sugar and nutrients. Once the bottle is sealed shut, the yeast get to work re-fermenting the wine because now there is fresh sugar to consume. But this time, the CO2 remains trapped and gas bubbles form inside the bottle.
The dead yeasts stay in the bottle for at least 12 months, creating additional rich flavors in the bubbly wine that gives it the famous Champagne taste. The yeast are then removed, and the bubbly wine is sealed with a heavy duty cork that traps the CO2 inside the bottle. The trapped gas is what we know as bubbles!
This method is used in Champagne, Crémant, Cava, and many more sparkling wines from around the world.
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