Not All Bubbles Are the Same has welcomed the new academic year with a sparkling event which saw bubbles as the absolute star of the evening. After the summer (now long gone memories), and the beginning of their new university experience, Bocconi freshers had the chance to get to know our association, meet the current members and, most importantly, try amazing Metodo Classico wines under the wise guidance of our wine experts. Corte dei Roberto Brut, Trento DOC millesimato brut 2018 Levii, and Nutaru Spumante Frappato Metodo Classico Brut provided a unique tasting experience, but also left some of us wondering about the fascinating world of sparkling wines.

Well, when it comes to wines, do not let bubbles fool you: they may all seem the same, but they are not. Grapes, method of production, scents and tasting notes: these are only a few of the many differences that sparkling wines can hide behind their similar appearance. 

If you are struggling between Spumante, Prosecco, Franciacorta and other denominations, this is a simple guide to get acquainted with the amazing world of sparkling wines!


Let’s start from the basics: “sparkling wine” (Spumante in Italian) refers to a category of wines featured with bubbles (not a surprise indeed) due to the presence of carbon dioxide. Why do sparkling wines (naturally) contain CO2? Because they undergo a second fermentation in which yeasts turn sugars into alcohol and Carbon Dioxide, which eventually results in fizzy bubbles.

Be careful: Sparkling wines (Spumante) can be produced from any grapes, in any region, whereas specific denominations, such as Prosecco or Franciacorta, can only originate under specific circumstances (we’ll see them soon).


Usually indicated on the labels, such expressions are not commonly understood. But, the matter is simpler than it may seem: indeed these words refer to the spectrum of sugar content; the higher the level of sugars the wine has retained after the second fermentation, the sweeter the wine will be. In a nutshell, “brute nature/pas dosè” means that there are no sugars left; on the other hand, Doux or sweet wines have the highest content of sugars and are usually paired with dessert. Between those two categories, there are (ranked from the driest to the sweetest): Extra Brut, Brut, Extra dry (also known as Extra sec), Dry/Sec and, finally, Demi-sec wines.

So, unlike many people think, Extra dry wines are less dry (more sweet) than Brut wines (you can now exploit such information to act like a real wine expert!)


Have you ever heard people say that Prosecco and Champagne are the same thing? Spoiler: they are not.

First of all, as mentioned before, they are both sparkling wines (which is the generic denomination), but they are produced using different methods: Charmat Method (also known as Martinotti) and Champenois Method (also known as Classic, or metodo classico).

The latter method is used to produce wines with as diverse names such as: Champagne, Trento DOC, Franciacorta, Oltrepò Pavese and so on.

The former (Charmat), on the other hand, is the easier and quicker production method whereby Prosecco is produced. Under such a process, the second fermentation takes place within huge steel tanks, with added sugars and yeasts (remember? They process the sugar and let out the bubbles), for at least 30 days, expandable up to 9-12 months for the so-called “long Charmat”.

Things get a little more complicated when it comes to the classic method. Indeed, the main difference is that the base wine (called Millesimé if it is made from grapes of the same year, otherwise it is called “cuvée”) undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, after sugars and yeasts have been added. Such a mix of sugars and yeast is the famous “liqueur de tirage”.

Moreover, this process is much longer: the wines are left with their yeast (if you want to impress someone when ordering Oltrepò Pavese or Trento DOC, ask: “Quanto fa sui lieviti?”) on average 24/36 months, up to 120 months. To rest, the bottle is initially set horizontally, the bottle is then gradually rotated (this operation is known as “remuage”) until it reaches the vertical position. 

At this point, with the neck of the bottle facing down, it is frozen; this way all the remnants of yeast (Also known as: lees) from fermentation can be eliminated through the so-called “degorgement”. The final stage is the addition of a mix of sugars and wines, known as “liqueur d’expedition”. What’s inside? This is a secret recipe and each winery has its own: the only limit they have (and the only thing we know for sure) is that all components must be edible.

So, different methods of production, but also different grapes and regions: Prosecco can be produced only from Glera and only in an area between Veneto and Friuli regions (Prosecco DOC, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG and Asolo Prosecco DOCG). However, the Charmat method can also be used to produce wines other than Prosecco (see below some suggestions), which obviously will not be sold as “prosecco”, but generically as “sparkling wines”. Three elements allow a wine to be known as Prosecco: the region of origin, the grape and, of course, the method of production.

On the other hand, Metodo classico wines can originate from different regions (Champagne, Lombardy or even Trentino) and grapes (Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir). In this regard, in order to be legally marketed as “Metodo Classico”, each denomination (DOC, DOCG) provides strict rules about grapes and Cru (which basically means the location), besides, of course, the method of production. For example, if you make a great Metodo Classico from 100% Chardonnay, as prescribed by law for Trento DOC, but you do it in your garden in Carate Brianza (instead of in Provincia di Trento, as required by the regulation), well, you will not be able to sell your product as Trento DOC, even though the Grapes or the production method are the same.

But all these facts, do they really matter when you are tasting your wine? They surely do. Whereas the Charmat Method usually gives lighter and fresh wines with fruity notes and a coarse perlage, Metodo Classico wines have more structure and body with tasting notes strongly linked to the yeasts (like bread crust) and an elegant, delicate perlage.


Try it to believe it: here are some suggestions from our wine experts to really experience the difference between a good Metodo Classico and a good Metodo Charmat. Find them online (link below) and on Winelivery to taste bubbles as a true wine expert!

Classic Method

  • Giorgi 1870, Oltrepò Pavese DOCG, 100% Pinot Noir, 36 months on the yeasts
  • Francesco Maggi, Armonia, 100% Pinot Noir, 24 months on the yeasts (good structure, elegant and smooth on the palate)
  • Leone de Castris, FIVE ROSES METODO CLASSICO BRUT ROSÉ NEGROAMARO MILLESIMATO SALICE SALENTINO DOC (2019), 30 months on the yeasts (Sparkling brilliant wine of a light pink colour called “onion peel” with a fine and persistent perlage. The nose is rich and intense with hints of rose petals. To the palate it is smooth and elegant, enriched by a nice freshness. Perfect as an aperitif and with shellfish, nice also with medium aged cheeses
  • San Marzano, Calce, Vino Spumante di Qualità Metodo Classico Brut,100% Chardonnay, 30 months on the yeasts (perfectly suitable for slightly structured first courses, seafood and crustaceans with citrus dips)

Charmat Method

  • Azienda Agricola Guerrieri, Guerrieri Extra dry spumante; bianchello and Chardonnay (fresh and balanced on the palate; white flowers scents)
  • Cantine Sant’Andrea, Oppidum Spumante Brut IGT Lazio Moscato Spumante, 100% Moscato di Terracina (rich taste, with aromatic and almond notes well-balanced with a slight acidity)
  • Società agricola gli allori, Prosecco superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG millesimato “le Tose” 2021, 100% Glera (citrus, golden apple scents with an hint of peach)



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