Sparkling wine—WSET courses
I regularly teach about the different styles of sparkling wine on the WSET courses: the Level 1 introduces Champagne and Cava; Level 2 we add Asti, Prosecco, Sekt, Crémant, Saumur and New World sparkling wine; Level 3 much more detail on these sparkling wines. It is not unusual for me to over-hear ‘I don’t like Champagne’ on the sparkling wine sessions, but, as with still wines, there are many different styles of Champagne and other sparkling wine. English sparkling wines are not included but if I am running a course in Hampshire or Dorset then I will include one.
Sparkling wine—what makes them different?
Firstly, let us categorise sparkling wine into its two main styles: fruity wines that are fizzy, Prosecco, Asti, Sekt, i.e. tank/Charmat method sparkling wine; and wines that are fizzy and toasty/bready/biscuity. The secret is in the yeast, when it runs out of food (sugar) it starts self-destruction, and that, thereby, creates the taste of lees (dead yeast), dough, pastry, brioche etc. So someone who really likes their sparkling wine to be a Prosecco, for example, may not be convinced by ones that have more unusual flavours to them too.
If we want a sparkling wine with flavours of self-digested yeast (yum), such as Champagne, Crémant, English Sparkling Wine, Cava, Traditional Method, etc., then we need to go for the ones where the wine has spent time and a lot of close contact with Monsieur Lie. This is known as the traditional method of making sparkling wine, those that have had second fermentation and maturation in bottle. So the longer the sparkling wine sits on its yeast, the greater the intensity and complexity of the wine, thereby giving a very different styles of sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine—competition time!
To celebrate 2018 and my nomination for and for being shortlisted as Educator of the Year by WSET (results announced 22 January 2018) we are holding a competition on our Facebook page for £120 worth of course vouchers here, good luck!!!
See you in 2018!
Erica & Helen