Australian Sparkling Wines – How are they made?

Australian Sparkling Wines – How are they made?

In August 2010 Australian winemakers collectively sighed as a major deal as part of the ongoing free trade agreement with the European Union was passed. This deal officially banned Australia from labelling their beverages with drink names based on geographic location including champagne, port and sherry.

In more recent times the EU labelling laws have been expanded prompting calls to ban the use of the word Prosecco. The word Prosecco is named after a small Italian village Prossecho located near Trieste where the grape and wine originated. In 2009 Italy registered Prosecco as a geographical indicator and ordered the village of Prossecho to also do the same.

The move by Australian winemakers to adopt the word sparkling in replacement to Champagne was an obvious one and it was adopted world-wide with ease. Alternatively, if Prosecco is also to be banned, its replacement wine name may not be quite so obvious. Possibly we will turn to a word such as Bubbly and Cuvee, which would touch instead on the way in which, prosecco can be made.

When something like this happens, a name change, it is tricky business. The use of any given word is powerful. Words cannot change reality but they can change how people perceive reality. In the case of labelling the word Champagne, Prosecco and Sparkling sets an expectation in the mind of the consumer about the taste of the wine, the quality and in turn the way in which it was made.

There are many different ways to make champagne, sparkling and prosecco. While there are six ways winemakers can choose to make their sparkling wine we have selected the methods applicable to Tahbilk wines.

Traditional Method

Known as Methode Champenoise in the EU it is the classic way to produce sparkling wines. Arguably the most appreciated method in terms of quality this process occurs uniquely entirely within the bottle. This process goes through secondary fermentation in the bottle, ages in bottle on its lees and then after a minimum of 9 months is disgorged, topped up and re capped.

Tahbilk wines produced using this method:

Tank Method

Known as the Charmat Method the major difference between tank and traditional is secondary fermentation occurs in tank, not in the bottle. Tank method Sparklings are also filtered. These two differences mean the wines can taste less creamy and instead crisper on the palate, still with the yeasty characters you would expect in a good sparkling. As the process is more affordable so are the wines in general.

Tahbilk wines produced using this method:

Carbonation

This is the simplest of all sparkling wine methodology, the most cost effective way to make a wine sparkle. In this process there is no secondary fermentation and the wine once cold stabilized is injected with C02 as it makes its way to be bottled. You won’t get the yeasty characters in a carbonated wine and the bubbles won’t linger for as long. What you will get is a refreshing, light, bright and vivacious palate.

Tahbilk wines produced using this method:

The choice for Tahbilk in choosing a method to make sparkling wines comes down to being able to create a wine which delivers on taste and price. We use a variety of methods to ensure diversity in our wines but stylistically you will find all our sparkling wines are an excellent representation of the fruit grown from our Estate.

And next time you pick up a sparkling wine it might just be worth asking – how was this made?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *