Sparkling wine guide to raise a glass of bubbly
There are more and better sparkling wines to enjoy throughout the year, but more to celebrate during the festivities. Infobae elaborated a useful guide according to consumption occasions, styles, and types, to achieve a good selection.
The quality of all Argentinian wines has evolved non-stop since the new millennium was inaugurated, and that includes sparkling wines, a category quite well developed in Argentina since the early XX century, obviously inspired by Champagne wines. And even if the method and the grapes from such a region are still the preferred ones by the winemakers to achieve their best sparkling wines, the changes are very noticeable.
Basically what changed was the origin of the grapes to make the base wines, and the point of harvest. It is known that these must be tense wines, with a firm acidity in order to achieve a consistent second fermentation.
With the best possible grapes, the most important thing is to determine the point of harvest, and for that purpose work is done all year round, starting with winter pruning. Because that's where the plant is instructed on how much grape it will have to produce, beyond the care it takes throughout the ripening period. At the optimum point of ripeness, the grapes should be harvested and processed within six hours, always from whole berries.
One of the latest innovations to achieve this was to replace the 400kg bins with 200kg ones, thus avoiding that, during the transport from the vineyard to the press, the upper clusters of grapes crush the lower ones and the latter release juices that could start an undesired fermentation. Small details that cause great improvements in the final product.
The grapes sent are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the most famous in the Champagne region, and obviously the most appropriate for their characteristics. But they are not the only ones, since many bets on the classic Semillon, or on rescuing the Chenin, or on surprising with the freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc, or on the tractive force of the Malbec, among others.
The methods have not changed much, because Champenoise and Charmat are still the most used. The first one is the traditional one of the famous French region in which the foam is taken the bottle by bottle. While in the second it is achieved in large pressurized tanks.
However, there are some novelties in this aspect too, because the improvement of the wines encouraged many makers to leave their wines longer on flocks in search of greater complexities; some reaching up to 10 years. And in the almost Charmat region, more and more "lungos" are emerging, that is, with more time on the lees (up to a year). Many even decided to claim the ancestral method, of a direct fermentation in the bottle to give life to the local Pet-Nat (Pétillant Naturel), that is to say with small bubbles.
But the novelties have gone further, because this year a sparkling wine infused with orange peels, spices, and herbs burst onto the scene, ideal to be served with ice as an aperitif.
Among the types of wine according to their classification by residual sugar content, incorporated to the wine through the expedition liqueur, the most famous is still the Extra Brut, a category born in Argentina; the Brut, the most elaborated in Champagne, has grown a lot, as well as the Nature (without addition of expedition liqueur). Rosé is also a growing alternative. But the latest fashion has also arrived in the country, and light, slightly sweet sparkling wines abound, designed more for making drinks than for enjoying alone.
Today, the consumer has hundreds of labels in all price segments to choose from, in addition to the offer of imported wines: Champagne, Cava, and some Italian Prosecco. That is why Infobae has prepared a guide to make the selection more accurate.
Sparkling wine guide
Novelties, the labels are launched on the market throughout 2019
Mumm Léger, made from 100% Rosé Muscat grapes, lives up to its name, which in French means light.
Las Perdices Brut Rosé, from the 2019 harvest is made only with Pinot Noir grapes, achieving a fresher and more jovial wine.
Chandon Apéritif, inaugurates the category of bitter sparkling wines and seeks to bring appetizer lovers closer to the world of bubbles.
Deseado Extra Brut, made with Pinot Noir (40%), Chardonnay (40%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%) grapes, from our own estates in the San Patricio del Chañar valley in Patagonia.
LoSance Extra Brut, a blend of Chenin and Semillon grapes planted in our own farm in El Carrizal (Maipú), owned by María Sance (wife of Alejandro Vigil) and her brothers.
Vicentín Espumante Pinot Noir-Chardonnay, blend of grapes and terroirs (Luján de Cuyo and Valle de Uco), Champenoise method.
Escorihuela Gascón Extra Brut Rosé Champenoise, a 100% Pinot Noir from its farm located in Agrelo, Mendoza.
Kaiken Brut Rosé, the first rosé sparkling wine of the house produced by its renowned winemaker Rogelio Rabino.
Xumek Extra Brut, made with Pinot Noir from the highest vineyard in San Juan; Finca La Cienaga at 1450m.
Chakana Ayni Pinot Noir Nature, brand new sparkling wine made with organic grapes from Paraje Altamira, using the Champenoise method.
Cruzat Finca La Dama Extra Brut, is a blanc de blancs based on Chardonnay from Vista Flores (Valle de Uco), with 24 months on yeast.
Baron B 100 ème Anniversaire Baron Bertrand Cuvée Prestige, made from six different vintages: 1997, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012; each one tells a story.
Original and innovative, they are wines different from all others and with some unique characteristics
Dolores Navarro Correas Dulce, blend of Torrontés, Chardonnay and Moscato Bianco, aromatic and floral.
Sobernatural Frisante Rosé Wine, a Pet-Nat 100% Tannat, an organic, biodynamic and natural sparkling wine.
Domaine Bousquet Brut Rose, organic and certified blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Lagarde Dolce, made from White Muscat using the Charmat method, but with a single fermentation that stops to leave natural unfermented sugar (67gr/l).
Norton Espumante Grüner Veltliner, the first and only one in the country, a variety of white grape from Austria, grown at 1,040 meters in Agrelo, Mendoza.
Vinyes Ocults Brut Nature, a Pinot Noir traditional cult method with the signature of its author, Tomás Stahringer.
Alyda van Salentein Cuvée de Prestige Brut Nature, until now the only national sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (10%).
Osadía de Crear Brut Nature, 100% Pinot Noir of limited production, made with the Charmat method.
Costa & Pampa Extra Brut is perhaps not very original because of its varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir) or its method, but it is because of its origin, as it is the only coastal sparkling wine; from Chapadmalal.
Mosquita Muerta Nature Chardonnay, using the "eternal reserve method", in which the expedition liqueur is mixed with those of previous years.
Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda Brut Rosé 2015, a traditional method with 12 months of contact on lees to highlight its freshness.
Lindaflor Extra Brut de Malbec, a Champenoise by Marcelo Pelleriti whose transparent bottle allows all its shades to be appreciated.
Rosell Boher Encarnación, for many is just a blend based on Chardonnay with a touch of Pinot Noir, but it is the first of the house to have a higher proportion of white grapes in its history.
The Stradivarius Extra Brut Cabernet Sauvignon, born from Enzo Bianchi's vision, remains the only one in its category.
El Relator Tapado Chardonnay Extra Brut, is Pepe Reginato's most precious wine, with 84 months on lees, produced by the traditional method.
Classics of always, for their trajectory and nobility they are present in the tables of the Argentineans for decades
Montchenot Brut Nature, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that maintains its balanced and fresh style.
Navarro Correas Extra Brut, another classic of classics inside and out, a blend of Chardonnay (65%) and Pinot Noir (35%).
Norton Cosecha Especial Brut Nature, blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Second fermentation by Charmat method.
Fond de Cave Brut Nature, a classic blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made by the traditional method.
Extra Toso Chardonnay Extra Brut was the first traditional sparkling wine made in Argentina in 1922, and it is still valid today.
Vicomte De Rochebouet Extra Brut, the label is new but its maker has been making Argentinean sparkling wines for more than twenty years.
Bianchi Extra Brut Premium, although with this dress and label is quite new, it is undoubtedly one of the most traditional brands on the market.
Baron B Extra Brut, as always faithful to its style, but gaining freshness and definition with each harvest.
Soigne Brut Grand Cuvee, a classic blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a unique, mature and classic style.
Progenie I Brut Nature, since its release has been among the best exponents, remains in contact with its lees for 40 months before being slit.
Rutini Extra Brut, made from a classic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, using the traditional method.
Elegant and sophisticated, they stand out for their conception or for the style achieved
Chandon Cuvée Réserve Pinot Noir, traditional method with 24 months of contact with yeasts brought directly from France.
Fabre Montmayou Brut Nature, blend of Chardonnay (Luján de Cuyo) and Pinot Noir from Valle de Uco.
Rosa de los Vientos Nature, a pure Pinot Noir with all the out of Patagonia and the experience of Leonardo Puppato.
Norton Cosecha Especial Vintage 2014, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir produced by the traditional method.
Alyda van Salentein Cuvée de Prestige Brut Nature Rosé, made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from Valle de Uco.
DV Catena Nature, blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 30 months on lees, Champenoise method with the signature of Alejandro Vigil
Zuccardi Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Especial 2016, 100% Chardonnay de Tupungato that rested for 48 months on lees.
Luigi Bosca Bohème Brut Nature, one of the few made from the three famous grapes of Champagne, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
Cadus Método Champenoise Extra Brut, an original and balanced blend of Pinot Noir and Malbec that shows off its shades in the glass.
Rosell Boher Grande Cuvée Millésimée 2015, like the great wines of Champagne, is only given in special vintages.
Cruzat Millésime 2006 Brut, based on Pinot Noir and more than 10 years on lees, of which only 3000 bottles were made.
Simple and pleasant, these wines never fail and everyone likes them
Latitude 33° Sweet Rosé, reveals strawberry jam aromas and flavours that make it a very easy to drink sparkling wine.
Dolores Navarro Correas Extra Brut, blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.
Ruca Malen Extra Brut, Noelia Torres has conceived this natural sparkling wine from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Semillon.
Pascual Toso Brut, made from Barrancas Chardonnay.
Santa Julia Classic Cuvée, from this year the only sparkling wine in the line.
María Codorníu Brut Nature, is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with four months on the lees.
Sottano Extra Brut, blend of Chardonnay and Viognier from Tupungato (Uco Valley) with three months on lees.
Chandon Extra Brut, the most chosen by Argentines for decades.
La Linda Brut Nature, a pleasant blend of Chardonnay and Semillón
Casa Petrini Extra Brut, based on Tupungato Pinot Noir.
LoSance Brut, brand new Charmat sparkling method based on Chenin, Semillon.
Atemporal Extra Brut, Chardonnay with a touch of Pinot Noir.
Ideal to show off at the table, due to its balance of flavours and textures
X by Freixenet Extra Brut, with all the character of Gualtallary and the experience of the largest producer of traditional sparkling wines in the world.
Sottano Espumante Rosé Nature, 100% Pinot Noir from Valle de Uco, with 6 months of contact with its yeasts during the second fermentation.
Salentein Blanc de Blancs, limited edition that also features a full body label.
Chandon Brut Nature, a precise blend of Chardonnay (55%) and Pinot Noir, harvested between 1200 and 1400 metres above sea level, and produced by the traditional method with 18 months of contact with the flock.
Cruzat Premier Nature, blend of Pinot Noir and Luján de Cuyo Chardonnay. ($560)
Tinto Negro Brut Nature, with the signature of one of the most respected winemakers, Alejandro "Colo" Sejanovich.
Brut Nature Del Fin del Mundo, a 100% Patagonian Pinot Noir Champenoise method with 36 months on flock.
Alma 4 P Rosé 2015, pure Pinot Noir from Uco Valley, traditional method with 20 months on yeast.
Gran Dante Brut Nature, a traditional method developed by the Squassini family, with extensive experience in bubbles.
Luigi Bosca Prestige Rosé, 100% Pinot Noir
H. Schroeder Brut Nature, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a Patagonian touch, made by Leonardo Puppato.
Rosell Boher Brut, is one of the market references since the beginning of the millennium, blend traditional method of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
For multitudinous toasts, best value for money
Putruele Extra Brut, made in its modern sparkling wine cellar under the Charmat method, is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc from our own vineyards located in the Tulum Valley.
Argento Extra Brut, a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin and Semillón.
Pascual Toso Extra Brut, almost 100 years of experience in the service of bubbles.
Bianchi Extra Brut, the one with the famous star is one of the most requested at parties, balanced blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a touch of Viognier.
Trivento Brut Nature, blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Chandon Brut Nature Rosé, a blend of Chardonnay (63%), Pinot Noir (33%) and Malbec (4%), to give it the tonality, all from the Uco Valley.
Extra Brut Del Fin del Mundo, blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Vicentín Blanc de Malbec, a Champenoise that demonstrates the versatility of the emblematic variety
Lagarde Extra Brut, is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Semillon varieties.
Kaiken Brut, a blend of Pinot Noir grapes and Gualtallary Chardonnay
Saint Felicien Nature, with its classic character, fine and persistent bubbles, typical of the Champenoise method.
The best tips about sparkling wines
There are two main methods in the world for making sparkling wines. The traditional method or Champenoise, which is the one used in the Champagne region, in which the second fermentation is done bottle by bottle. The other method is called Charmat, and the frothing is done in large pressurized tanks. And although one does not necessarily guarantee the best quality over the other (because they are only methods), the artisan work that Champenoise requires, and the longer time that the wines spend in contact with its lees (dead yeast); up to 10 years; means that the winemakers use their best grapes to achieve the best possible wines. There is also the ancestral method; instead of second fermentation, the wines are bottled before the end of the fermentation, and therefore retain the last bubbles. It may be "more natural" but it does not guarantee consistency between bottles.
The low, open cups stopped being used a long time ago, and the flutes recently, although they are still a symbol of sophistication. In fact, sparkling wine is a white wine (with bubbles) and therefore looks better in a white wine glass.
Like any type of wine, the sparkling wine has its ideal serving temperature, although no one at home will be with the thermometer in hand. Especially in such hot weather. If it is served at frappé temperature, fresh from the fridge (4 degrees) it will be very good. It will mist the glass a little and with the degrees, it gains just served (two) and when it enters the mouth (another two), it will be the ideal temperature to appreciate its attributes and enjoy its refreshment. Of course, the cold turns off the character a little bit, and that is why the best exponents of it look more like 10/12 degrees.
But it will always be better to go cold when serving it, because it can reach the optimum temperature in the glass, than to serve it warm, since the only alternative to correct the temperature will be adding ice, and that ends up watering down the wine.
It is not done "plop", but not for bad manners but for security, since that supposes that the cork will fly out, and it is dangerous because it takes a lot of force since inside the bottle there are 6 atmospheres of pressure.
You have to support the bottle on the table with one hand up, and with the other, you take out the capsule. Then you grab the spout by placing the big finger of your less skilled hand on the capsule, and gently unscrew the wire (muzzle). This prevents the cork from flying off when it is loosened.
Without removing the muzzle, but loosened and always pressing with the big finger, grasp the bottle from below with your skillful hand, pointing towards nothing, and gently turn the bottle by making force from below. The cork will only begin to loosen, and the pressure will slowly pull it out. And instead of the "plop", you will feel the "pssst". If the cork is too hard, do the same, but hold the cork part with a dry cloth.