The winefully Magazine
SPARKLING WINE, PAS DOSE’ AND EVOLUTION OF TASTE
The world of taste has never stood still, over the centuries it has experienced constant evolution. These changes have always concerned both the sphere of wine and about food in general. Gualtiero Marchesi, for example, on the wave of Nouvelle Cuisine, has brought a great revolution in our country. Until then, the processing of ingredients, with very elaborate preparations, had a central role. It is precisely Marchesi in Italy who gives new dignity to the raw materials and the quality that distinguishes them, paving the way for an unprecedented style where the preparations are simplified, and the ingredients emerge with their intrinsic characteristics.
The same goes for wine. Around the eighties and nineties many enthusiasts loved full-bodied and very structured reds, produced using small barrels to ensure that the hints of wood significantly affect the wine itself. Even critics valued that type of label, and the market consequently did the same. Over the decades the picture has changed a lot and today we find ourselves in a period in which a different trend is consolidating, in some ways almost opposite. To describe it you have to take a step back. The world of tasting, among the various approaches, uses one that divides the scents of wine into hardness and softness. In the first group there are acidity, sapidity and tannins; in the second one there are sugars, alcohol and polyalcohols. Last ones include glycerin, essential for giving the wine viscosity, therefore density and softness. A well made wine, among the various characteristics, gets a balance between these aspects, or in any case a reasoned proportion upstream. Having clarified these two dimensions, we can say that for some years there has been a tendency to enhance hardness. Let’s leave aside the tannins, which derive from the use of the skins in the wine making process, and mainly concern red wines and the so-called orange wines. In wine shops you can find more and more often wines with greater acidity and freshness than in the past, more sharp. The sapidity is also enhanced: it can be reflected, for example, in subtle, barely perceptible iodized scents, or in clearer and more marked saline notes.
The world of sparkling wines is not excluded from this new wave. Indeed, if we talk about the Classic Method in particular, the theme takes on great centrality. In fact, we know that these wines are classified according to the quantity of residual sugars found in the bottle. Extra-dry, brut and extra-brut, for example, are words that identify a specific quantity of residual sugar. We can say that, due to a game of balances between the different dimensions that we have seen, the soft component will emerge more in a sparkling wine with more sugar. Conversely, a smaller quantity of sugars will leave more room for acidity and sapidity, therefore for hardness.
Today, in line with the above trend, there is ever greater attention for sparkling wines with a very low, or even zero, sugar content. The category is called zero dosage, or pas dosé; the name derives from the dosage of the liqueur d’expédition, the one that precisely determines the quantity of sugars that will remain in the bottle. More evident hardness means sharp wines, with acidity in the foreground and sapidity which can be expressed with salty notes, or notes linked to the world of minerals, including for example graphite.
Pas dosé are versatile wines, able for different occasions. For example the aperitif, where freshness plays a fundamental role to enjoy drinks without pairing, or at least accompanied by light appetizers. Also as regards the possible combinations for lunch and dinner, the zero dosages are highly adaptable and leave many doors open. Here is a possible direction, which starts from the absence or almost no sugar, and therefore from their characteristic of essentiality. In this sense, a combination with equally essential dishes such as raw fish, perhaps tartare, can be interesting, based on the quality and purity of the raw material, which is not even cooked, but only delicately seasoned.
One of the most interesting producers in the Champagne world is Tarlant. His “Zero Brut Nature“, in particular, is produced with a blend of grapes that include Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and other ancient vines. The management is organic, with great respect for nature and an approach that aim to the least possible intervention by men. First fermentation is in steel tanks, so the wine age in barrique for six months, then there is the second fermentation and the wine rest on the lees for at least six years, finally disgorging by hand. The perfumes stay between the world of flowers and that of citrus fruits, together with references to more enveloping sensations, such as those of honey. In the mouth it shows a very fine perlage, and, naturally, a prominent presence of the tendendcy of hardness: refreshing acidity, and a saline texture as a counterpoint. It has a great persistence, with the aromas that accompany the palate for a long time, leaving a beautiful memory of this artisanal maison that is increasingly sought after today.
Over 15 years in communication, today Graziano Nani is Branded Content Lead in Chora, where he deals with podcasts. Sommelier AIS, he writes for Intravino and takes care of @HellOfaWine on Instagram. He teaches wine communication at the Catholic University. He deals with the same theme in the “La Retroetiquette” podcast, of which he is co-author, and with speeches at dedicated events.