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.


The sparkling processes



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 – the so called liqueur de tirage.

The sparkling wine is then closed with a crown cap for the second fermentation; after the dégorgement – the elimination of the crown cap and the fermentation residues contained in the bidule – the liqueur de expedition is added and the mushroom cork with the metal cage is applied. 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 called Martinotti method – from the name of the Italian inventor -, it is most known by the name of the French engineer who patented and made it popular. Its peculiarity lies in the refermentation technique, which is carried out 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 the best tasting conditions of a bottle of sparkling wine it is advisable to serve it in the unmissable ice bucket.
    An inadequate temperature can cause an eccessive development of froth 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 as it enhances the perlage and organoleptic profile of the wine.
    The most suitable glasses for sparkling wines are the long and narrow ones – the so called flûtes – or, more commonly used today, the wider glasses with a pointed bottom, which thus favour the evolution of the bubbles.
    To enhance perlage even more, some glass manufacturers also make engravings on the bottom of the glass.

The colour


This is the typical colour of sparkling wines produced 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 the dégorgement.


This is the typical shade of wines produced with 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 quantity of red grapes, the colour 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 froth. To appraise it at best, it is recommended to wait for the “first” mousse to subside: this leaves room to a lighter mousse, distributed along the perimeter of the glass.

Its appraisal must be done by holding the glass still and, then, by slightly rotating it. To define the quality of a sparkling wine it is 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 on the times of the second fermentation.
  • Speed growth of the froth: 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 a large amount.
  • 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 dirty glass, or washed with soap, could inhibit the formation of bubbles.
  • The aromas
    Not everyone knows it, the aerial diffusion of the bouquets is due to the carbon dioxide contained in the wine. To be able to appreciate the aromas 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 aromas 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 the taste of a wine is concerned, we can refer to the chemical equation that underlies it: the greater the presence of carbon dioxide, the more marked 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, instead, sweet solutions or distillates can be added. This explains why the quantity of sugar is at the basis of classification into Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Demi Sec and Sweet.
    Would you like 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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