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Argentina Wines: The Best Argentina Champagnes (Vino Espumantes)

Today we bring you our latest article on the  very best of Argentine wines.  This article talks about a favorite of many, Argentina’s Top Ten Sparkling, or Espumante, wines.  As usual we have the assistance of our good friend and fellow lover of the very best of Argentine wines, Andrew McCance of Buenos Aires Tours & Sightseeing Blog and Buenos Aires Stay.

“I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

Madame Bollinger.

While back at home in France, the French have fought hard to protect the use of the name “Champagne”, restricting it’s use for one of its most famous wine regions.  As the same time, however, many French Champagne producers have established their brands in Argentina and not surprising – the wines are some of the best and most sought after here.

Champagne in Argentina is produced using the Champenoise Methode which is very traditional French.  While this exacting technique makes Champagne very expensive on the European market, in Argentina sparkling wine produced using this method begins at only USD 3 to USD 4 (or around 12-16 pesos).  This makes sparkling wines here a great value and wonderful accompaniment for any gather of friends and family or for meals.

A Quick Lesson on Method Champagne

Champagne begins as a typically quite acidic high quality dry white wine or blend of wines, known as coupage, which is then fermented for a second time with a fresh dose of yeast and sugar in specially made and heavy weight bottles which are capped and placed in cool cellars for several months.  A second fermentation takes place at this time which releases CO2 as a byproduct.  As the bottles are securely capped, there is no way for this resulting CO2 to escape it dissolves into the wine raising its pressure to six atmospheres.  Thus this captured CO2 is what gives Champagne its wonderfully delightful bubbles that tickle your nose and senses!

The result of this stage of the process, is a deposit of dead yeast cells collects in the bottom of the bottle.  With non-sparkling wines, the producers simply remove the sediment by a filtration method before final bottling, however with sparkling wines this would also result in removal of the bubbles, so a little bit of innovation was required to remove the old yeast.

This leads to the next state of production, referred to as Remuage.  At this stage the wine bottles are placed on tilted shelves and then rotated slowly and eventually taken from a horizontal  position to an upside down position to capture the dead yeast cells in the neck of the bottle.  The necks of the bottles are then submerged to the level of the gathered sediment into a freezing liquid which results in a solid frozen plug of dead yeast cells.  At that point it is simply a matter of removing the cap of the bottles and that plug will be shot out as the result of the gas pressure inside the bottle.  This process is known as degorgement.

The next stage of this method of production requires the bottles then be topped off with a “dosage” of a fine reserved wine which will sweeten it according to the style desired.  This stage of the process is instrumental in determining the final quality and taste of the final product.  The particular “dosage” used can include aged Champagne, cognac or even crystal sugar with the driest Champagnes being described as Nature to Brut.

To conclude the Methode Champenoise the bottle is then corked and wired and you are ready for the fun to begin.

One of the great things about Argentina is that you drink what you like when you like and with whatever food you like, so do not get stuck on drinking the “right” wine for dinner or special occasions.  If you want Champagne, order away no matter what you might be eating.

When we created our top ten Argentine Champagnes (or sparkling wines) we focused mainly on listing the best wines at the best prices.  With that idea in mind, we did go ahead and toss in a few that are a bit pricey, but we felt were important to the list.

With no more ado, we present our top 10 Argentina Sparkling Wines, or Champagnes:

  1. Extreme Extra Brut by Cave Extreme – we make this number one for both its quality and price
  2. Navarro Correas Nature by Navarro Correas is a steal!
  3. Montchenot Nature by Lopez is another steal!
  4. Eternum 1999 Brut Nature by Chandon is our favorite reserved for special  occasions as it is pricey
  5. Bianchi Extra Brut by Bianchi
  6. Baron B Rose 2003 Brut by Chandon is our favorite pink champers
  7. Cava privada de Bianchi 2003 Extra Brut by Bianchi
  8. Trapiche Brut Nature by Trapiche is a great favorite hiked in price
  9. Paul Caraguel Extra Brut by Paul Caraguel
  10. Henri Piper Extra Brut by Cave Etreme

Baron B Extra Brut by Chandon is a local favorite; Rutini is acceptable but a poor value for its cost in our opinion; Mumm is available most places here and while a great favorite in Europe we prefer the local vintages here.

Read our other Argentina wines guides:

Argentine Malbec Wines
Argentine red wines
Argentina white wines
Rose wines and Dessert Wines
Argentine Champagnes and Sparkling Wines

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Posted by on Dec 16 2010. Filed under Argentina Wines, Headliners. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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