What does Effervescence mean in wine?

Wed, 06/22/2011 - 07:22 -- The-Wine-Man

Effervescence only concerns champagnes and sparkling wines, wines that have undergone a second fermentation - in the bottle, according to the Champagne Method or in a sealed vat, in the Charmat method.  Apart from its complexity, perceived by the nose and the mouth, to be examined later, the excellence of an effervescent wine is judged by the quantity, the size and the persistency of its bubbles, which alone can indicate the method used in its production.

It should be noted that champagne should never be served ice-cold.  It begins as a “still” wine, produced from the grapes of a great terroir.  Serving it chilled increases its naturaly acidity, which is the result of being grown in a col climate and soil of strong mineral content.  Besides, the carbon dioxide that is an element of its charm already adds a refrseshing aspect and brings out the scents that are such a pleasure for the nose.

Effervescence is of course, defined by the quality of its bubbles, first of all their finesse.  This is the term used to define their elegance, and their tendency to crowd together, one up on the other.  Envision the Olympic competition in aquatic gymnastics, and you get the picture.  There is no need for the contrary metaphor to describe a rough finesse.  Bottle fermentation is a rapid process.

The persistency of the bubble is either lengthy, medium, or short.  It’s a fairly easy test, for experience teaches one the minimum time required before a bubble should decently expire.

We also have to judge the quantity of bubbles.  If they are numerous, this is a product of great quality; if they are few and tend to rapidly disappear in the glass, this is a mediocre bottle.  Delicate stomachs shoudl abstain, if their finesse is rough as well, for this iseither a very middling champagne or worse.

The terroir and climate of champagne are unique, so the wine taster will always find these three parameters here.  But many of the sparkling wines of italy, SpainCalifornia, and Australia offer a competitive challenge when it comes to bruts.  Grape varieties with a good level of acidity, grown in mineral soil, produce some really lovely wines