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IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 International Congress on Grapevine and Wine Sciences 9 2ICGWS-2023 9 Comparison of ancestral and traditional methods in the elaboration of sparkling wines; preliminary results

Comparison of ancestral and traditional methods in the elaboration of sparkling wines; preliminary results


Top quality sparkling wines (SW) are mostly produced using the traditional method that implies a second fermentation into the bottle[1]. That is the case of sparkling wines of reputed AOC such as Champagne, Cava or Franciacorta. However, it seems that the first SW was elaborated using the ancestral method in which only one fermentation takes place[2]. That is the case of the classical SW from the AOC Blanquette de Limoux[3]. In both cases, SW age in the bottle during some time in contact with lees favoring yeast’s autolysis[4]. There is a lot of information about traditional method but only few exists about ancestral method. The aim of this work was to compare SW made by the ancestral method with SW made by the traditional method.

A grape must of Macabeo was fermented and when density was around 1005, it was separated in two sets. One was maintained in the tank until the end of fermentation whereas the other was cooled, filtered to reduce the yeast’s population and bottled for elaborating SW by ancestral method. The other set was used once alcoholic fermentation was finished for elaborating SW by traditional method.

As expected, the ethanol content of ancestral SW was around 1.5 % lower than that of traditional SW since it was not supplemented with sugar for the 2nd fermentation. No differences were found in titratable acidity, volatile acidity, pH or in protein content. However, the polysaccharide concentration was higher in the case of traditional SW which suggest a higher impact of yeast’s autolysis. In contrast, the foamability (HM) was higher in the case of ancestral SW, probably because its lower ethanol content. The wines were tasted by a trained panel which considers both wines positively.


1)  Maujean A. (1989) Histoire de bulles. Rev Franç Enol. 120:11-17.

2)  J. Robinson (ed) (2006) The Oxford Companion to Wine. Third Edition pp. 402–403 Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860990-6

3)  Dubois C. et al. (1998). Blanquette methode ancestrale. In: Oenologie: Principes scientifiques et technologiques. C. Flanzy (Ed.). Tec & Doc Lavoisier. p. 833.

4)  Pons-Mercadé P. et al. (2021). Monitoring yeast autolysis in sparkling wines of nine consecutive vintages produced by the traditional method. Aust J Grape Wine Res. DOI 10.1111/ajgw.12534


Publication date: October 13, 2023

Issue: ICGWS 2023

Type: Poster


Arnau Just-Borràs1, Ekaterina Moroz1, Pol Giménez1, Pedro Cabanillas1, Jordi Gombau1, Joan M. Canals1, Fernando Zamora1*

1Departament de Bioquímica i Biotecnologia, Facultat d’Enologia de Tarragona, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, C/Marcel.li Domingo s/n, 43007 Tarragona, Spain

Contact the author*


sparkling wine, traditional method, ancestral method, foam properties


2ICGWS | ICGWS | ICGWS 2023 | IVES Conference Series


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