Undisputed prince of Italian export all over the world, protagonist of the informal toast and Italian lifestyle. Italian Method Sparkling wines are beloved and popular all over the world.
The more I travel around the world and watch people’s faces light up to the declaration “I’m from Italy!”, the more I become convinced that we are a strange people.
Doing vs. storytelling
Ready to melt at the flattery of the “wow” of spectators and visitors of our planet, who, not surprisingly, see Italy as one of the most sought-after destinations for world travellers, we can barely feel pride in the works of Italian ingenuity, perhaps even looking at them condescendingly.
So, what the world celebrates as the “Italian Method Spumante”. It represents the synthesis in terms of quality, experience, technology and grape variety, but quickly defined with the best known French definition, without extolling (in the sense of narration) the specific details and advantages, which are not few.
Authenticity and narration
The technology applied to the wine industry has a long tradition in Italy. So it is no wonder that Italian plants for the wine industry are exported all over the world.
They are considered as the most reliable and the most cost-effective (best value for the money). The topic is not as fascinating as wine, but certainly the level of performance of the technologies developed in Italy is a source of pride and turnover for Italy.
Individually exceptional in creating…
We are a creative people. The lockdown has forced us to stay indoors, but our brains and hearts were still working at full speed, so I expect some surprises in the near future. But this genetic propensity is nothing new: the obsession for quality, the aesthetic need and the creative flair constantly push the Italian people towards new solutions. The Italian Method Spumante is the true expression of this.
Federico Martinotti (1860-1924)
He was the director of the Istituto Sperimentale per l’Enologia (Experimental Institute of Oenology) of Asti. In 1895, he was the first to understand the potential of modern technology (second industrial revolution) applied to the production of wine and, specifically, converting into an industrial process what until then had always been obtained only by hand with refermentation in the bottle.
From handcraft to industry
This was a radical turning point in terms of production times and costs, but that is not all. It was the discovery of a method that enhances and exalts the characteristics of aromatic vines, which in Italy are typical in many areas of the country, particularly in the north, where it is not by chance that the tradition of producing Spumante is more widespread.
The second fermentation in autoclave takes place in 15-20 days at most.
This short-lived contact of the Spumante base with the yeasts means that the interaction remains limited to the formation of the foam without interfering with the characteristics of the vine in an invasive manner.
…less effective in organising the resources
Around 1910 in France, Eugène Charmat picked up on this intuition, built the first plant and patented it, thus making the method famous. More than 100 years have gone by and this story is still unknown to most.
People, including wine lovers, discover it by chance. Even during the lessons where the difference between refermentation in the bottle and refermentation in tank is explained, this story is ignored.
An old sad story…
This European history knows other similar episodes: Christopher Columbus’ intuition is not listened to during his lifetime from the formal powers, and the navigator will be financed by Spain of that time, the telephone was invented by Antonio Meucci, but only later patented by Graham Bell.
Who drinks Italian Method Sparkling Wines?
The Italian Method Spumante wines are perfect for their audience: young, informal and with a great desire to turn every moment into a memorable “event”. These consumers do not even attempt to understand the wine, and its moment of consumption does not lend itself to research or meditation. If anything, they are inclined to open a second bottle.
Biodiversity goes well with aromatic grapes
Instead, the name Italian Method is associated with a series of typical Italian sparkling wines for their olfactory characteristics, such as Lambrusco, Prosecco, Moscato and Malvasia.
On the other hand, for those want to devote some attention to the vines, there are really many nuances to discover. Only behind the definition of Lambrusco there are several nuances and as many denominations of origin. And behind the generic Moscato there is another collection of types next to the well-known Asti.
Nowadays, biodiversity is becoming more and more important for wine lovers and sparkling wine consumption is a trend all over the world. The Tank Method allows to get the sparkle dispaying aromatic characteristics of the grape at the same time.
If we think of the undisputed prestige that the Traditional Method enjoys throughout the world, the wines produced with the Italian Method are simply revolutionary. Instantly appreciated by consumers and with an excellent quality/price ratio.
The hope for the future
As if to say, good at creating, a little less at recognising talent. The hope is that, at this complex moment in history, the current speed of knowledge-sharing and the open attitude of the younger generations will bring the necessary change to fill this gap.