Frizzante is Italian for “semi-sparkling” and is a term used to designate a unique, fruity, and refreshingly low alcohol, semi-sparkling wine.
Frizzantes are produced differently from Methodé Champenoise or Charmant processed champagnes. The spritz is attained by the initial fermentation of the natural grape sugars. It is a tricky and challenging wine to make while retaining the natural carbon dioxide produced by the yeast fermentation.
The objective is to make a very fruity, fresh wine while at the same time making the fermentation environment for the yeast difficult, but still allowing them to ferment.
The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks under very cool conditions (43 degrees F). Yeast, like all of nature’s organisms, function more efficiently and rapidly at warmer temperatures. Most white wines are typically fermented at 55-65 degrees F. The key to making a Frizzante is to control the rate of fermentation with a very cool temperature, which also retains the fruitiness, as well as retaining the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast.
The fermentation must be closely monitored to assure the yeast are fermenting healthily, and to measure the percent of alcohol and sugar daily. If the fermentation temperature is too low the yeast will become stressed and produce H?S, yielding stinky “reduced” aromas.
At 5.5-6.0% alcohol, the fermentation tank is chilled to 30 degrees F, the yeast are shocked, fermentation stops, and the wine is quickly filtered and bottled at 32 degrees F. The key to CO2 retention in the bottle is maintaining a cold temperature, and filtering the wine as little as possible.
Joe Dobbes, Winemaker, Hinman Vineyards, Oregon
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