Is Now the Prime Time for Croatian Charmat Method wines?

Valentina Silović

Image of a pizza and Enosophia Winery Nice To See You Sparkling Wine
Photo credit: Enosophia, Nice To See You

August 25, 2023 – Sparkling wines hold an undeniable allure, symbolizing elegance, festivity, and joy in every effervescent sip.

As Wine & more writes, the best wines to savor during this heat wave are sparkling, refreshing ones. Among the stars of this effervescent galaxy, Prosecco and sparkling wines made using Prosecco or Charmat Method stand as beloved icons, capturing hearts worldwide with their bright and fruity personality.

In this exploration, we focus on the Charmat Method wines responsible for Prosecco’s unique character, as well as the Croatian wines produced using the same method.

Image of a beuatifuly decorated table with food and Enosophia winery Today Rose sparkling wine
Photo credit: Enosophia, Today Rose

Understanding the CHARMAT Method WINE Production

Prosecco, hailing from Italy’s Veneto and Friuli regions, primarily employs the Charmat Method (also known as the Martinotti Method).

This method entails conducting the second fermentation – responsible for the bubbles – in large pressurized tanks. The outcome is a sparkling wine marked by bright fruit flavors, floral fragrances, and a light, fresh character.

Prosecco Method (Charmat Method or Martinotti Method) explained:

  • Second Fermentation: In the Prosecco method, the second fermentation occurs within pressurized tanks, distinguishing it from the individual bottle approach.
  • Shorter Aging: Compared to the Champagne method, aging is briefer, yielding a fresher, fruitier essence.
  • Fruit-Forward: The emphasis lies on preserving the fruity and floral grape aromas, resulting in a wine with a vibrant and light profile.
  • Ease of Production: The Prosecco method’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness set it apart from the labor-intensive Champagne method.

Why the Charmat Method for Prosecco?

The Charmat Method is the favored choice for Prosecco production due to its capacity to maintain the wine’s vibrant fruitiness and floral aromatics.

Additionally, its efficient production process allows for widespread accessibility and enjoyment across various occasions.

Several key reasons underscore the preference for the Charmat method:

  • Bubbles and Effervescence: The method generates delicate, smaller bubbles, lending a lighter and fresher mouthfeel compared to other methods.
  • Refreshingly Youthful Profile: Charmat-made wines are meant to be enjoyed while young, offering a refreshing and youthful taste shortly after production.
  • Time-Efficient Production: The streamlined process leads to accessible and cost-friendly Prosecco wines, contributing to their popularity.
  • Texture and Mouthfeel: The method imparts a soft and light texture, making Charmat-made wines versatile for diverse occasions.

Prosecco cannot be made anywhere in the world. The term “Prosecco” is protected by a designation of origin, such as DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), which ensure that wines labelled as Prosecco adhere to specific quality and production standards.

It refers specifically to wines produced in certain designated regions in northeastern Italy, primarily the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.

The European Union’s regulations have established the geographical boundaries and production standards for Prosecco wines.

These regulations protect the authenticity and quality of Prosecco by ensuring that wines labeled as Prosecco are made from specific grape varieties (primarily Glera) and adhere to production methods defined by the region.

Prosecco wines produced outside these designated regions cannot legally use “Prosecco.” However, similar sparkling wines made using different grape varieties and production methods may exist in other parts of the world.

Some Croatian wineries, such as Enosophia, use their own autoclave tanks to make sparkling wines using the Charmat method

These wines cannot be labelled as Prosecco but can rival many Prosecco wines in their style and affordability.

Charmat Method Sparkling Wines in Croatia

Croatia embraces the Charmat Method, infusing local varieties with bubbles and allure. Pioneering this approach, Enosophia Winery introduced autoclave tanks, resulting in remarkable Charmat-made wines.

Three distinct styles of Croatian Charmat Method sparkling wines are:

  • Nice To See You: A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The process involves swift pressing, sedimentation, and separate fermentation of the grape varieties for around 12 hours at a controlled temperature of 16 °C. The wine then rests with its fine yeast sediment for three months, all the while being gently stirred. This is followed by multiple yeast inoculations to initiate secondary fermentation within autoclave tanks, a process that spans 14 days. Post-fermentation, the wine undergoes a five-month yeast autolysis. Subsequently, filtration is undertaken, preparing the wine for bottling. The result is a delicate and unobtrusively vibrant aroma, tinged with mild fruitiness, prominent sour cherry notes, and a subtle hint of yeasty characteristics. The recommended serving temperature is between 6-8 °C (43-46℉), in either a sparkling wine glass or a white wine glass.
  • Today Blanc: 100% Graševina. The grapes are harvested when the acidity is at its peak, and sugar levels are lower. After pressing, fermentation takes place over a maximum of 14 days at 16 °C. The wine then matures with its fine yeast sediment, undergoing periodic stirring once or twice a week. After this phase, secondary fermentation commences within autoclave tanks, lasting up to 14 days at the same temperature. Yeast autolysis, occurring for approximately 1.5 months post-fermentation, contributes to the wine’s character. Today Blanc is a splendid choice as an aperitif, showcasing vibrant citrus notes, a refreshing quality, and a touch of floral elegance.
  • Today Rose: This variant is crafted from the Frankovka (Blaufrankisch) grape. After the initial fermentation of the base wine at 16 °C, secondary fermentation unfolds within autoclave tanks, extending for 12 days. The wine then matures on its yeast for a duration of 2 months. The resulting Sparkling Frankovka is a harmoniously balanced rosé effervescent, offering an unexpectedly enduring presence on the palate. It combines clarity and grace, contributing to its overall freshness and appeal.

Many wine lovers enjoy the affordability of these bubbles compared to other sparkling or Champagne wines, which adds to its widespread appeal.

Croatian Charmat Method wines are affordable and have delightful and vibrant characteristics, making them perfect for enthusiasts who want to enjoy sparkling moments without spending too much. These wines can be enjoyed as a casual aperitif, a centrepiece of celebrations, or paired with various cuisines.

They offer an accessible and enjoyable way to experience the world of effervescent pleasures.

NOTE: The article was originally written at


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