The Art of Tasting

There are those who drink a wine and there are those who taste it. The difference lies entirely, or almost entirely, in the ways and rituals with which each glass is appreciated, transforming every single sip into a truly satisfying experience.
Experience and the use of specific expedients will allow you to appreciate the colours, the mousse and
all the elements that define the charisma of a wine.
Discover Cantine Maschio’s recommendations to enhance your tastings.


I metodi di spumantizzazione



Also known as méthode champenoise, it is a sparkling wine production process which consists in inducing refermentation in the bottle through the introduction of selected sugars and yeasts – liqueur de tirage.
The sparkling wine is then closed with a crown cap for the second fermentation; after disgorgement – the elimination of the crown cap and the fermentation residues contained in the bidule – the liqueur de expedicion is added and the mushroom cork is applied with the metal cage. Thanks to the fermentation, the carbon dioxide produces a pressure inside the bottle which can vary from a minimum of 3 up to a maximum of 6.5 bar.




Also known as the Martinotti method – from the name of the Italian inventor -, the name of the French engineer who patented and popularized it is more often used. Its peculiarity lies in the refermentation technique in large, closed, pressurized steel containers: the autoclaves.
Sugar or must and selected yeasts are added to the base wine, suitably stabilized, and the mixture is then left to ferment again in an autoclave at a controlled temperature of 12-18°C. Once fermentation is complete, the lees are separated by isobaric racking and the sparkling wine is stabilized by refrigeration at -3 or -4°C.

  • Serving temperature
    To guarantee that a bottle of sparkling wine is tasted at its best it is now a tradition to serve it in the ever-present ice bucket.
    An inadequate temperature causes an accentuated development of mousse in the glass and, consequently, the loss of the organoleptic balance of the wine.
    The best temperature to enhance the qualities of a sparkling wine is between 6° and 10°C.
  • The glass
    The shape of the glass is of fundamental importance for the tasting of a sparkling or semi-sparkling wine because it enhances the perlage and the organoleptic characteristics of the wine. The most suitable glasses are the long and narrow ones – the flute – or, more widespread today, the wider glasses with a pointed bottom, which thus favour the evolution of the bubbles. To obtain a satisfactory perlage, some glass manufacturers also offer engravings right on the bottom of the glass.

The colour


This is the typical colour of sparkling wine with the classic method. Its shade is influenced by the grapes used, by the action of the yeasts and by the length of ageing after disgorgement.


This is the emblematic shade of the Charmat method or of the ‘blanc de blancs’ wines, i.e. produced exclusively with white grapes.


The golden nuances distinguish wines that have spent long periods of ageing on the lees for refermentation.


This colour indicates the presence of red grapes vinified in white, leaving the pomace for a short maceration. Based on the more or less preponderant presence of red grapes, the tone of the wine can vary from a delicate pink to an intense shade of salmon pink.

The mousse

When pouring a wine, the first element on which attention is focused is the mousse. To appraise it, it is recommended to wait for the mousse formed in the first moment to subside: thus there is room for a lighter mousse, distributed along the perimeter of the glass.
Its appraisal must be done by holding the glass still and, only later, by slightly rotating it. To define the quality of a sparkling wine it is therefore necessary to analyse the following parameters:

  • Size of the bubbles: the smaller the bubbles, the better the quality of the sparkling wine. The size of the bubbles depends on the temperature and the times with which the second fermentation takes place.
  • Speed of mousse growth: the transition from the first mousse to the crown of the glass should take a few seconds, therefore growing rapidly and at a constant rate.
  • Persistence of the mousse: the perlage should persist for a long time and in large quantities.
  • Body of the mousse: in a quality wine the mousse is characterized by a reduced thickness and scarce body. The evolution of the mousse is also influenced by the cleanliness of the glass: a glass that is dirty or washed with soap could inhibit the formation of bubbles
  • The Bouquets
    Not everyone knows it, but the merit of the aerial diffusion of the bouquets is due to carbon dioxide contained in the wine. To be able to appreciate them in a sparkling wine, however, it is necessary to wait for the effervescence to subside, avoiding that the nasal mucous membranes are irritated by the intense initial release of this gas naturally present in the sparkling wine.
    The bouquets are influenced by the quality of the grapes used and by the production method: the Charmat method is particularly suitable for the development of floral, fruity and fresh bouquets; on the other hand, the classic method favours more full-bodied and complex bouquets, thanks to the action of the yeasts in the refermentation in the bottle.
  • The taste
    As far as taste is concerned, we can refer to the chemical equation that helps to define it: the greater the presence of carbon dioxide, the more decisive are the acidic notes of the wine. To mitigate the acidity of a sparkling wine and obtain a better balanced taste, a natural residual sugar is left in the case of the Charmat method. In the classic method, however, the addition of sweet solutions or distillates is used.
    This explains why the quantity of sugar is at the heart of the Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi Sec and Sweet classification.
    Want more advice? To fully appreciate the taste of a sparkling wine, avoid swirling the wine in your mouth to ensure that the carbon dioxide is not released too quickly.

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