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Semi-sparkling wines have less carbon dioxide than regular sparkling wines. Their bubbles develop during a second fermentation in tanks. This fermentation is interrupted before the wines are fully sparkling. They are produced in many countries.


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Methods in the production of semi-sparkling wines

There are three different methods to produce semi-sparkling wines:

  • During carbonation still wines are artificially impregnated with carbon dioxide.
  • Fermentation of must within pressurised tanks. Carbon dioxide cannot leave the tanks and accumulates in the wine.
  • Wine with a certain amount of unfermented residual sugar is fermented to receive natural carbon dioxide. This second fermentation is also done with Süßreserve – unfermented grape juice – that is added to the finished wine.

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MicoTener method


Most producers of frizzante use the carbon dioxide developing during the first fermentation. It is later added to the wine, which generates a semi-sparkling wine. Natural carbon dioxide of the wine can be purified and added exactly according to laws and statutes. The so called MicoTener method is one possibility to add the gas to the wine. Natural carbon dioxide from the wine is forced into the wine with high pressure. The fizz of the finished product is then fine, homogeneous and long lasting. It can be compared to sparkling wine that has been fermented after the Méthode Champenoise in bottles for several years. The MicoTener method even reduces little faults in the wine. At this time it is only used in the Sektkellerei Gibbert in Germany.


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Secco from Germany

Semi-sparkling wines from Germany are wines with a minimum alcohol content of 8,5 % and have at 20° C a carbon dioxide pressure of 1 to 2,5 atmospheres. They are noticeably fizzy. Semi-sparkling wines from Germany are called Perlwein and this name has to appear on the label. Perlweine are a special group of Drinks. Neither do they belong to the group of sparkling wines nor to still wines (wines without carbon dioxide). It is not allowed to sell semi-sparkling wines in bottles for sparkling wine, since Perlwein is not subject to the German sparkling-wine tax and could be confused with Sekt.

Where semi-sparkling wine is produced with the addition of carbon dioxide, it has to be stated on the label.

Until the early 1950s frizzante was a popular drink in Germany. After that it lost its importance. It reappeared only recently at the end of the 20th century through the import of Italian products called Prosecco frizzante. Today it is very popular again and German semi-sparkling wines are well liked. They are mostly sold as "Secco".


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Sternliwein from Austria and Switzerland

In Austria semi-sparkling wine contains up to 40 g residual sugar per liter and up to 12% alcohol. At 15 °C it must have a carbon dioxid pressure of 0,5 to 2 atmospheres. In Switzerland semi-sparkling wine is called Sternliwein and only produced from grapes of Vinifera grape varieties. It must have a carbon dioxide pressure of 1,6 to 2,5 atmospheres. If carbon dioxide is added artificially in part or completely the label bears the words "mit Kohlensäure imprägniert" (impregnated with carbon dioxide). The alcohol content must be more than 8 %.


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Prosecco frizzante from Italy

In Italy semi-sparkling wine is called Prosecco frizzante. The name Prosecco is protected under European law and can only be used for wines made from the grape variety Prosecco and produced in the Italian regions Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.


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Taste of semi-sparkling wines

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Semi-sparkling wines are slightly sweet. This sweetness is needed to balance the acidity of the carbon dioxide.

See also:
wine,
white wine,
red wine,
rosé wine,
Sherry,
Port wine,
sparkling wine,
Champagne,
Sekt,
Cuvée,
Assemblage,
blended wine,
grape varieties,
vintage wine and
German wine quality categories.


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