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Spectator Wine

Ask Johnny!

29 February 2016

10:28 AM

29 February 2016

10:28 AM

Q. What does méthode traditionelle mean on a wine label?

It is the process (sometimes known as Méthode Champenoise) by which champagne and other top-quality sparkling wines are made, the bubbles being caused by a secondary fermentation in bottle. It distinguishes such wines from those sparklers such as Prosecco made by other cheaper methods.

Q. It’s okay to like screwcaps isn’t it?

You bet!  They will never have the same charm of cork and the associated rituals, but their convenience and success in reducing the number of spoiled wines has to be a good thing. Their introduction was very much a New World initiative and the finest wines from both Australia and New Zealand are now largely sealed under screwcap. Some top producers in Burgundy are also coming out in their favour.

And just imagine that screwcaps were the traditional seal and someone came up with the idea of stripping the bark of a tree, rolling and pressing it and shoving it in the top of a wine bottle to stopper it. They’d be laughed out of town.

Q. Do scotch whiskies really age in bottle?

No they don’t. They age in the barrel, and once they’ve been bottled all maturation ceases. It’s not like wine which continues to develop in the bottle.

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