The first letter of the “Trentodoc alphabet” introduces a valuable resource in terms of quality. This is because in Trentino 70% of the territory is situated at 1.000 meters above sea level and the grapevines are cultivated up to 800 meters: a unique and distinctive feature, since no other Metodo Classico sparkling wine has vineyards at such high altitudes (with a consistent number of bottles produced). And imagine the splendid views from these vineyards, which give rise to unique bubbly, genuine sparkling wine from the mountains.
The adjective “Brut” indicates the dosage of the finished product: between 6 and 12 grams of residual sugar in every liter. According to the production regulation, it can be a Brut metodo classico sparkling wine in Non-Vintage, Millesimato or Riserva versions, white or rosé. A Trentodoc Brut is a dry sparkling wine and, from the first sip, immediately reveals its native territory, its versatility in pairing and its complexity.
This term refers to the blend of grapes that can be used to make a wine. The base wine, processed according to the Metodo Classico to become a Trentodoc, can be made, 100% or in different percentages, according to the production regulation, only of each of the following grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot nero, Pinot bianco and Meunier.
The letter “B” is dedicated to one of the most important steps in the production of Metodo Classico sparkling wine. The base wine (obtained from Chardonnay and/or Pinot Nero and/or Pinot Bianco and/or Meunier grapes) is bottled and yeast and sugar (the “liqueur de tirage”) are added. The bottles – closed with a crown cap – are then placed horizontally in the sparkling wine producers’ cool, dark wine cellars to age at a constant temperature of 11-13°C for a minimum of 15 months (but even for more than 10 years). It is here that the waiting starts and the magic begins… that of secondary fermentation with the “prise de mousse” that creates carbon dioxide, and which we call the “perlage” in the wine glass.
C for cage. Do you know what it is? Found on every bottle of Trentodoc (but also found on other wines in the sparkling wine category), it is an intertwined string of iron placed over the cork together with a metal capsule. It is used to secure the wine by sealing the bottle, so that the cork doesn’t accidentally pop off. Opening a Trentodoc requires attention: just think that the pressure in the bottle can vary from a minimum of 3.5 to a maximum of 5 Bars… in comparison, car tyres have a much lower pressure of about 2 Bars!
Controlled Designation of Origin DOC is important certification in the winemaking field, guaranteeing the quality of the production process and the origin of the wine. Trento, the “mother city” of sparkling wines from the mountains, is combined with the suffix DOC, giving rise to Trento DOC. It was the first DOC wine to be acknowledged in Italy, in 1993, and one of the first in the world.
Quality, origin and territory. This is Trentodoc Metodo Classico sparkling wine.
The identity of Trentodoc Extra Brut is defined by the final quantity of sugar in the bottle, which must be between 0 and 6 grams per litre. In addition to the dosage, decided by the enologist and producer, the other “ingredients” of the recipe of this Metodo Classico sparkling wine are are based on the Trentodoc production regulations, that establish strict standards along the entire supply chain. Extra Brut is appreciated for its dry and distinct character. It is especially for the more expert palates, for those who love unconventional sparkling wine.
This is the process by which wine is made and also the process by which carbon dioxide, the perlage, is developed in the bottle during the aging period on the lees in the wine cellar. This is why it is said that Trentodoc, and in general Metodo Classico sparkling wine, is a secondary fermentation wine! Its bubbles are therefore the result of secondary fermentation, which has a precise name. Which? We will explain it to you under the letter “P”!
In the production of Metodo Classico, disgorgement consists in the removal of exhausted yeasts which, during the rest in the cellar and the remuage, are deposited in the neck of the bottle. How is this operation done?
– Mechanically, using ice (à la glace): the neck of the bottle is frozen and the stopper is popped.
– Manually, (à la volée): the bottle is manually uncorked.
After disgorgement, the bottle is topped up with fine wine and sugars. Every sparkling wine producer has its own recipe and secret end ingredient, an important feature for the character of each Trentodoc wine.
According to the production regulations, four grape varieties can be used to make Trentodoc Metodo Classico sparkling wine. The main grape variety in Trentino is Chardonnay, which gives wine its finesse, long life and aroma, along with Pinot nero, an ancient grape, which requires a very careful cultivation, adds elegance body and structure to the wine. Pinot bianco, which gives sparkling wines their fruity aromas, and Meunier, which balances the acid notes and is also appreciated for its ability to adapt to various climatic conditions, are less used, yet present.
With the letter “H”, only one word comes to mind: Hospitality. What does this have to do with Metodo Classico sparkling wine? Hospitality is one of the greatest sources of pride for Trentodoc sparkling wine producers. They happily welcome guests to their wine cellars and vineyards and they love to present and explain, to those who are interested, the excellent qualities of the sparkling wine they produce. A visit to a wine cellar, among the colours, flavours and aromas of our Trentino, is an experience not to be missed…
“L” for lees. What role do lees play in the Metodo Classico sparkling wine process? Lees are responsible for the essential secondary fermentation of the base wine, developing carbon dioxide (the bubbles!) and extending the range of aromas during the “prise de mousse”. Once their action is over, they settle in the bottle to be subsequently removed (we will explain how in the following letters of the alphabet). To make a Trentodoc, the lees need to remain in contact with the wine for a long period to enhance and refine it as much as possible.
Waiting and patience, this is the secret of an excellent Trentodoc.
“M “as in Millesimato, the Trentodoc wine that is obtained, according to the production regulations, after 24 months on the lees (see the letter “L”).
The term has its origin in the word “millesimato” that refers to the vintage year of the grapes, which is shown on the bottle label. It distinguishes Metodo Classico sparkling wines made from wines of a single vintage. Millesimato is made when there are special and important vintages. A toast with Trentodoc Metodo Classico Millesimato has a unique flavour, for a vintage to remember!
“N” for nature, where everything has its origin. Its generosity provides the Trentino region with unique characteristics for the production of Metodo Classico sparkling wine.
Trentodoc is the direct expression of an impressive geological conformation, altitude, climatic variety and sun exposure. The skill and love of Trentino winemakers and the dedication of sparkling wine producers do all the rest.
“O” OF TRENTODOC
The two “O”s of the Trentodoc collective trademark, created in 2007, represent one of the essential steps of the Metodo Classico process, i.e. riddling. The operation consists in periodically rotating the bottles which are positioned upside down on typical wooden racks (called “pupitres”), in order to slowly deposit the exhausted yeasts towards the neck of the bottle. The residual particles are then removed during the disgorgement phase. Originally, this operation was performed manually, but now sparkling wine producers can also use automated machines.
PRISE DE MOUSSE
The “Prise de Mousse” is another important step in the Metodo Classico sparkling wine process. A syrup (called “liqueur de tirage”) is added to the base wine, a mixture composed of yeasts and sugars that stat the second fermentation in the bottle. This process leads the wine to develop alcohol and carbon dioxide, and so responsible for the thin perlage when Trentodoc is filled into the glass. During this period the bottles are stacked horizontally in dark and cool environment, thus developing a pressure of about 6 atmospheres inside them.
A special climate, a unique territory in the world, Trentino and its mountains. This is how nature helps to create the quality of Trentodoc. But the territory alone is not enough: to make an excellent Metodo Classico sparkling wine, the expertise, passion and patience of winemakers are also required. This is also why Trentodoc is acknowledged by the most prestigious wine guides and by major wine contests.
According to the production regulation, at least 36 months are required for a Trentodoc to be recognized as a “Riserva”. However, with a great commitment, producers lengthen this period considerably, which can even extend up to ten years and beyond, to the full benefit of the final product.This is achieved thanks to the characteristics of the grapes, which have high acidity because of fluctuations in temperature. They are the best guarantee that wine will be able to evolve, withstanding time. The result is a great structure and body, developed and intense aromas: of ripe apple, nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts, candied fruit, citrus fruits, honey, sometimes pineapple and delicate notes of yeast and pastries. Trentodoc Riserva sparkling wines must indicate the year of production of the grapes on the label.
SPARKLING WINE PRODUCERS
Sixty-seven sparkling wine producers are affiliated with Istituto Trento Doc, large and small companies, united by quality as their common denominator. Each producer makes sparkling wines from the mountains, respecting fundamental principles to protect the ultimate quality of each unique Trentodoc wine, which must be made exclusively from grapes grown in Trentino and using the method of secondary fermentation in the bottle. If we then add their passion, their commitment and an ideally suited territory, the result is…Trentodoc!
Sugars are the protagonists of two stages in the Trentodoc Metodo Classico winemaking process.
The first stage consists of adding sugars and selected yeasts to the still base wine, which is then bottled, starting the second fermentation in the bottle. The second stage, after disgorging, is when the bottle is refilled with a mixture of quality wine and sugars. It is the so-called “liqueur d’éxpedition”, which exact content is a precious secret of each sparkling wine producer and makes each bottle of Trentodoc unique.
The Territory is not only a combination of natural, physical, chemical, geographical and climatic characteristics. But it contributes to creating a wine, making it more identifiable. This is what is meant by “wine linked to the territory”. And this is what the link between Trentino and Trentodoc means.