Charmat Method

June 16, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

The Charmat method is one of the main techniques used to produce sparkling wines. It is also known as the tank method, Martinotti method, metodo Italiano, or cuve close.  It was invented in 1895 in Italy by Federico Martinotti, and in 1907 a Frenchman by the name of Eugène Charmat adjusted and patented the process. Up until this moment, many sparkling wines were made by the traditional method of Champagne where the bubbles are created by a second fermentation inside each individual bottle.  The Charmat method permitted winemakers to produce sparkling wines in volume, faster, and at a lower cost. 

The process begins similarly to that of many other sparkling wines: with a low alcohol, high acid base wine.  In the Charmat method, the base wine is put in a pressure-resistant stainless-steel tank, called an autoclave, and a mixture of yeast and sugar is added.  A second fermentation starts as the yeast feasts on the sugar, producing alcohol and CO2. This increases the alcohol content to around 12% and 3 atmospheres of pressure (compared to Champagne that has approximately 6 atmospheres).  The wine is put through a pressure-resistant filter, altered with a mixture of base wine and sugar to achieve desired style, and bottled. 

Prosecco, known for its freshness and pronounced aromatics, is the most well-known sparkling wine made in the Charmat method.  Try a bottle of Canella or Mionetto Prosecco with Caprese salad or pesto and tomato bruschetta for a taste of an Italian classic.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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