Sparkling Wine Corks

A new theme for the blog my Fun Fact of the day. I thought some of you might be interested in the little titbits that come up during the wine tastings.

Today’s titbit is courtesy of Luke from the ‘Inside The Bottle Winetasting’ I did the other evening. 

If you drink sparkling wine, especially champagne or cava, you may have noticed a little star or shooting star printed on the bottom of the cork. Apparently this is one of 4 symbols you can find on sparkling wine corks which specify the method by which the wine has been made. The other symbols are:

⭐️ Champagne and other sparkling wines made using the traditional method of a second yeast fermentation, to add carbon dioxide fizz, which is done in the bottle by hand and is very man-hour intensive. The bottle has to be regularly turned and moved to a steeper angle (known as riddling). Once the desired level is achieved the yeast cap is removed. Champagne and Cava both use this method.

⬛️ Sparkling wines made by the Champagne/traditional method but the yeast cap is not removed giving them a much yeastier flavour or a bit sock like (as Luke put it….charming!)

🔵 Sparkling wines made by doing the second yeast fermentation in large stainless steel pressurised tanks, which is a much quicker process and less man-hour intensive. Prosecco is made using this method.

🔺 From what I could tell this is cheap sparkling wine where they’ve basically taken a normal wine and added carbon dioxide. A bit like putting it though a soda stream.

I did try to verify this information by googling it, but for once Mr Google let me down (😱 The horror that google does not know everything! What is the world coming to!)

It was forthcoming with the history of where the shooting star on Champagne corks comes from. Many attribute it to Dom Perignon an alcoholic monk who is said to have invented Champagne and upon doing so uttered the words “Come quickly, for I have just tasted the stars!”

A nice story, but according to one website complete and utter poppycock. Champagne was around before Dom Perignon, though he is attributed with designing the cork. The reason for the star is that in 1811 a large comet passed through the sky during harvest. The bubbly turned out in 1811 was so tasty that makers of sparkling wine decided to memorialise it forever.

Which story is true? Your guess is as good as mine!

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