Wine: because the refermentation without sugar (and with the must) is possible


A new way for wine seems possible, that of refermentation in the bottle. A story that blends ancient knowledge with new ideas.

There is a new way for Italian bubbles : the wine that referments with the must . For some years now some producers of bubbles in the Bel Paese have gone beyond the classic refermentation in the bottle , improving their wines in finesse, creaminess , loyalty to the vine and the territory. It is the way of the grape and that’s it, of the elimination in the bottle of everything that does not come directly from the grape . Just the addition of a minimum quantity of sulfur, necessary, and a little yeast selected for someone, understandable given the risk of finding unpleasant aromas in the wine, if one works only with indigenous yeasts.

How the refermentation is obtained

The refermentation in the bottle to obtain sparkling wines has always been based on the addition to the base wine of a liqueur de tirage , that is a solution of yeast and cane or beet sugar , with the task of starting a second fermentation and transforming the still to sparkling wine , from 1 to 2.5 bar of pressure in the bottle, or sparkling wine, over 3 bar in the bottle. In recent times, however, the practice of refermenting wine with the addition of grape must in the bottle instead of sugar is spreading.

Buscemi, the Pythagorean archimede of wine

The oldest of the wines refermented in bottle with grape must of which we have news is the 82 year old Gaspare Buscemi , artisan oenologist in Cormons (GO).An idea born of ancient knowledgeForerunner of modern natural enology, already praised by Gino Veronelli and nicknamed the Pythagorean Archimedes of wine for his inventiveness and ability to build himself the machinery to make wine. Gaspare uses fresh must to start the second fermentation of his Perle d’Uva Metodo Classico since 1987. He still keeps a few bottles in the cellar. To inspire him were the peasant wines that refermented spontaneously and unexpectedly in the bottle. Those made with grapes harvested close to the first cold temperatures and which did not have time to turn into completely dry wines before being bottled. Atfirst mild spring temperatures the yeasts dormant from the frost woke up and ate the residual sugars producing carbon dioxide which remained trapped in the bottle. Sometimes the wines exploded, others turned into sparkling nectars and loved by the local inhabitants such as the famous Romanella or Cannellino di Frascati, Aglianico del Vulture or wines from Oltrepò.

The Pearls of Grape Buscemi would be the first sparkling wine made with liqueur de triage based on must. The reason that led Gaspare to develop it is that “ the must, unlike pure sugar, also contains mineral salts, aromas and flavors; it therefore enriches and reinforces the balance of the wine instead of providing only alcohol, Co2 and glycerin. A little like the difference between eating a carrot or taking beta carotene supplements, the pleasure of taste and the advantages of also taking fiber and mineral salts in the first case are evident “, he tells us over the phone. We tasted the 2002/2003 Cuvèe refermented with 2004 must. Complexity and intensity in the aromas, creaminess and flavor on the sip make it an excellent product characterized by a rare quality / price ratio.

In Franciacorta: Arcari and Danesi and SoloUva

Relatively more recently born but already known among lovers of good wine are the two Franciacorta realities Arcari and Danesi and SoloUva . The first has been active since 2006 and is located in the municipality of Coccaglio, on the top of Monte Orfano, a relief to the southwest of the appellation characterized by soils rich in iron capable of conferring interesting mineral notes to the wines. The two founders, Giovanni Arcari and Nico Danesi , have decided to produce only vintage Franciacorta . SoloUva instead rises between Adro and Erbusco, and is a young and brilliant reality led by Arianna Vianelli and Andrea Rudelli.

The two wineries work together a little on all fronts and share the same production method which consists of harvesting the grapes when fully ripe and storing a part of the must obtained at 0 ° C. Once ready, the base wines are refermented in the bottle by adding selected yeasts and a part of the preserved must. Finally, after disgorgement, we proceed with the dosage through the use of a liqueur always prepared with grape must instead of cane sugar or beet. An innovative production method in Francicorta, capable of bringing into the bottle even more richness of aromas, body and recognizability of the territory and of which, in all probability, we will hear more and more often.

Coming to sparkling wines with a fascinating background is the reality of the brothers Marco and Gianni Storchi , in Montecchio Emilia (RE) in Val D’Enza.The technique is similar to that of mother yeastThey produce a Reggiano Rosso called Pozzoferrato : a sparkling Lambrusco made from Ancellotta, Malbo Gentile and Maestri grapes. The technique is that of the pied de cuve or fermentation foot, a concept similar to that of the mother yeast for bread. During the harvest they keep aside a little must and store it at 1 ° C. In February they take a part of it, bring it to room temperature and partially ferment it, just enough to select the right yeasts , that is, those that will not give unwanted stinks. They then add this self-produced fermentation starter together with the calculated dose of must to their base wine and bottle it for the second fermentation. After a few months the wine enters the market without disgorging.

The new way of wine

These examples indicate that a new and fascinating way is possible . The replacement of simple cane sugar, or beetroot, with grape must today has become one more possibility in the world of Italian bubbles. There are those who think that it is a question of useless efforts or marketing ploys, but in the age of less is more and the search for the maximum territoriality of wines, the practice intrigues and attracts a lot. If you have tasted these or other wines refermented in the bottle with the addition of must let us know what you think in the comments below. Because in the end it is your opinion that matters. Good toasts.


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