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Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wines are produced by various methods of trapping carbon dioxide produced during a wine’s fermentation. The first and earliest versions of this are known as methodé ancestrale, in which the primary fermentation is simply allowed to finish in the bottle. The resulting wine boasts a gentle effervescence and in some instances residual sugar; it may appear turbid or hazy as well. Sparkling wines of Gaillac, Limoux, Bugey-Cerdon and the burgeoning "pét-nat" category are examples of this style.

By far the most famous is the méthode champenoise, the “champagne method.” Also known as méthode traditionnelle, metodo classico, or simply the “traditional method,” it is the most involved and labor-intensive process of producing a sparkling wine, in which a secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. At their best, the resulting wines possess great dimension, power and elegance; nearly all of the world’s most ambitious sparkling wines — including those of the Alta Langa DOCG — are made in this way.

The large majority of the world’s sparkling wines are made by the charmat method, in which the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in a pressurized vat, allowing it to retain effervescence through bottling. The most famous examples of this process are Italy’s festive sparkling wines: Prosecco, Asti, Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Acqui.