How Fortified Wine Is Made
Whether a fortified wine ends up sweet or dry all comes down to timing. If a winemaker adds spirits to the wine before fermenting is complete, the result is a sweet fortified wine. Conversely, if the winemaker adds spirits after the fermentation process is finished, the outcome is a dry fortified wine. Why? Because fermentation breaks down the sugar in grapes to produce alcohol.
So, if you have more sugar left in the wine , you end up with a sweeter product. If you have less sugar, you produce a drier wine. For more fun facts on the winemaking process, be sure to check out the Usual Wines guide on how wine is made.
How Sparkling Wine Is Made
Sparkling wines are made from still wines, such as Chenin Blanc, French Colombard, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, which serve as a base for the next stage of this unique winemaking process.
A triage a blend of the base wine, yeast nutrient and a source of sugar is added to the base wine and the mixture is fermented a second time in a sealed container which traps carbon dioxide producing the effervescence or bubbles.
How Red Wine Is Made
Red wines are fermented with the grape skins and seeds at warmer temperatures than white wines. The skins float to the top forming a cap during fermentation and must be moistened regularly with juice to extract color and flavors. Red wines are usually fermented for a period of five to ten days and then are filtered, clarified and preserved with the addition of sulfites. It is common for red wines to be aged in oak barrels for a period of about one to two years. As with whites, the vintner may choose to blend at this stage.
The wine is then finished, filtered and clarified before bottling. In some rare but important instances, generally among small, ultra-premium wineries, no or only minimal fining and filtering is carried out in an effort to capture the maximum amount of natural flavor components.
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How Port Wine Is Made
Port wine grapes are handpicked during harvest in mid-September. However, handpicking doesnt necessarily suggest a superior technique.
Typically, grapes are handpicked when the tractors struggle with the terrain.
Indeed, the Duoro terraces and steep slopes are too narrow for tractors and protected by UNESCO. Nevertheless, winemakers are able to renovate them or build new ones with permission.
Although most wine is fermented from a single grape variety and occasionally blended later, port wine grape varieties are processed together.
How Port Wine Is Aged
Although all the different types of port are produced in a similar way up to this point, it mostly the ageing process where they begin to diverge.
Port is lauded for its qualities after extensive ageing. Therefore, producers have a legal obligation to sell no more than 30% of the wine after two year-minimum ageing period.
During the ageing process, port wine evaporates while in the barrel, which is known as the angels share. Compared to most alcoholic spirits, its quite low at just a 2% annual loss of liquid.
The local climate and the cellars humidity ensure that the alcohol and water evaporate at a very similar rate so the port doesnt lose its strength. Meanwhile, the aromatic compounds, sugars, and acids do not evaporate. Consequently, long ageing results in a smaller albeit highly concentrated volume of wine.
Steel tanks may occasionally be used during the ageing process. However, as they are largely hermetic and inert, they are mostly used for storing rather than ageing the wine.
Some port wines styles such as Garrafeira may occasionally be stored in inert glass dame-jeanne or demijohn bottles. Although these reduce oxidative maturation, they dont eliminate completely. Nevertheless, port wines that would suffer from further wood influence can benefit from this form of storage.
Meanwhile, the majority of port ageing primarily employs oak casks.
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A Flavour In A Haystack
Wine wouldnt be the first drink to be artificially mimicked , but it could be the most complex.
For all the worlds love of wine, our understanding of which components are most important for the taste and finish of a wine is patchy at best. A bottle usually contains around 1000 different compounds, making the challenge of identifying those that are fundamental for flavour significant.
So the team decided to combine chemistry with the expert taste buds of a qualified sommelier. Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry and other tools, the team analysed the composition of wines including Chardonnay, champagne and Pinot Noir, identifying key flavour molecules like the esters ethyl isobutyrate and ethyl hexanoate and their concentrations .
They then mixed these molecules and tinkered with their proportions, and had their sommelier test their resulting concoctions.
Tony Milanowski, a winemaking expert at Plumpton College in the UK, has his doubts. Some flavour compounds like fatty acids and esters may be difficult to dissolve straight into a synthetic batch. These are usually produced as microbes ferment the grapes, gradually releasing the chemicals in forms that are able to mix with the other compounds present.
But Chua and Lee are not deterred. The big secret here is that most compounds in wine have no perceptible impact on the flavour or the aroma, says Lee.
Taste And Flavor Profile
Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine. In fact, it’s one of the sweetest wines you can find, but the intense sweetness is balanced by plenty of bright acidity. With strong flavors of honey, citrus, stone fruit like peach and dried apricot, and juicy tropical fruits like mango, ice wine made from white grapes still retains a freshness on the palate. Red grape ice wine has notes of berries like strawberry and some light spice. Both can exhibit a floral nose and a lingering, silky sweet finish and tend to be low in tannins.
The exact characteristics of ice wine will vary greatly depending on the grape varietals used and the treatment. Some ice wines are aged in oak barrels, adding a layer of complexity.
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How Wine Is Made
Wine is one of the most natural and simple food beverages on earth one that will, literally, make itself. Yeast cells, one of the key components in the winemaking process, are naturally present on the outside of grape skins. Once the skins are broken, the yeasts convert the natural sugars in the fruit to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, beginning the process of fermentation.
Find out more about specific types of wines below.
Other French Sparkling Wine
There are also some other French appellations for sparkling wines, which do not carry the name Crémant. Some of these are exclusively sparkling wine appellations, and some are appellations allowing both still and sparkling wine to be made. The term Mousseux is French for “sparkling” and can refer to a sparkling wine made using methods other than the méthode champenoise such as the Charmat method, while Crémant can only be used for wines that have been made using the méthode champenoise.
Cava is produced in varying levels of which are: brut nature, brut , sec seco , semisec semiseco and dolç dulce . Under Spanish laws, Cava can be produced in six wine regions and must be made according to the Traditional Method with second fermentation in the bottle and uses a selection of the grapes , , , , , and . Despite being a traditional Champagne grape, Chardonnay was not used in the production of Cava until the 1980s.
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How To Make The Perfect Red Wine Spritzer
Our ultimate red wine spritzer recipe is similar to a classic Spanish recipe sangria.
Sangria is a little different from a traditional wine spritzer because it’s usually served much sweeter, it contains sugar or simple syrup, and sometimes has brandy in it. However, for this version, weve tried to keep it simple and a little lower in the alcohol department.
Sangria is a classic party drink, so if you like this recipe, share it at your next BBQ or summer soirée.
What Should You Pair Them With
Ice wine is generally very sweet, which is advantageous as it means it can be used as a dessert wine, an aperitif, or a wine to pair with the main course. It typically goes very well with anything spicy, salty, fruit-based or with aged cheeses.
For more wine stories, interactive learning guides and a whole lotta’ winefollow Adrian on Vivino.
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How To Store And Bottle Homemade Wine The Right Way
Now that you know how to make wine at home, lets talk about how you should store it, a process just as important.
Great taste is all in storage, many wine experts and enthusiasts say. And theyre right. Theres a lot more to the ritual than filling your wine bottles and stashing them away at a dark corner.
Winemakers take great pride in storing their bottles in mint condition, and this process begins with your bottle.
Is Natural Wine Better For You
Theres a lot of chatter about natural wine being healthy, but thats a hard distinction to make. Alcohol is alcohol, stresses Feiring. Its a toxin and drinking too much can lead to hangovers, as well as longer-term health problems. Still, there are arguments for drinking wine in moderation, which, according to nutrition and weight loss expert Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, means one 5-ounce glass per day for women and two 5-ounce glasses per day for men. At those levels, says Cassetty, alcohol is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
You can also argue that natural, organic or biodynamic wines are better if you want to avoid pesticides. While natural wine is made with organic grapes, theres no certification, so if you prefer to see a label, go for organic or biodynamic, just know that either of those may contain additives.
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May Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Several studies show that drinking wine is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. This health benefit is likely due to its alcohol and polyphenol contents.
One study including 124,000 people observed that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol was linked to a lower risk of heart disease and death due to all causes .
Whats more, an analysis of 26 studies discovered that light to moderate wine intake up to 5 ounces per day was linked to a 32% lower risk of heart disease .
Compared to white wine, orange wine is higher in polyphenols, so drinking it will likely afford you the same heart health benefits as drinking red wine.
Its important to note that the heart health benefits of wine are related to light to moderate wine intake. Conversely, heavy alcohol intake increases your risk of heart disease (
While white wine isnt high in resveratrol, orange wine is a better source of this compound, as its fermented with the resveratrol-containing skin and seeds of white grapes .
Is Natural Wine Always Cloudy
Sometimes natural wine is cloudy, because it is not fined or filtered, two steps that keep conventional wine nice and sparkling, says Feiring. However, natural wine can be clear if the winemaker takes the time to let it settle so any cloudy bits fall to the bottom. Not fining or filtering wine also explains why natural wine sometimes has a lot of sediment in the bottle.
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How Is Natural Wine Different From Organic And Biodynamic Wine
Though it sounds natural, organic wine can have any of the additives allowed in conventional wine, as long as theyre organic, says Feiring. Biodynamic wine is more complicated, because the term biodynamic really refers to farming not winemaking. Its possible to get whats called Demeter certified, which means certain rules are followed in the winemaking process and the wine could be close to natural, but its important to note that some biodynamic wine is essentially conventional wine made with biodynamic grapes.
How Do You Check The Alcohol Level
Easy! A hydrometer will do the job. Unlike store-bought wine, a homemade wines exact alcohol content is much more to tell.
But here are key points to remember:
- Higher sugar level means higher alcohol
- Freezing wine after fermentation will lead to a mixture thats close to a brandy in terms of alcohol levels
- To lessen wine, add more fruits or grapes
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How Blush Wine Is Made
Blush wines, such as White Zinfandel, White Grenache or White Cabernet, are in contact with the skins for a very short periodusually six to eight hours, a process referred to as limited maceration. Fermentation is halted before all of the sugars can be converted to alcohol, giving these wines a slightly sweeter or off-dry taste. The other two methods of producing rosé wines are pressing and bleeding. Read more.
Development Of An Automated Method For Selected Aromas Of Red Wines From Cold
The aroma profile of red wine is complex and research focusing on aroma compounds and their links to viticultural and enological practices is needed. Current research is limited to wines made from cold-hardy cultivars . The objective of this research was to develop a fully automated solid phase microextraction method, using tandem gas chromatography-mass spectrometry -olfactometry for the simultaneous chemical and sensory analysis of volatile/semi-volatile compounds and aroma in cold-hardy red wines.
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Should You Decant Sauternes Wine
Yes, absolutely. Decanting Sauternes wines help them fully release their delicious sweet fruit aromas. Especially older bottles that you stored for several years benefit from contact with oxygen. Give them up to 30 minutes to open up. Younger styles typically dont need more than 15 minutes.
As the serving temperature is crucial, you might want to chill the wine while decanting. Ice buckets or ice tubes are proper tools for this purpose.
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Does Natural Wine Taste Like Cider
Natural wine is often described as having funky or sour aromas and flavors that are reminiscent of cider and this, explains Feiring, is because natural wine like cider has a slower fermentation. The longer a wine ferments, the more opportunity for it to be exposed to oxygen, which contributes to those cider-y tastes and smells. While this is common, its not the rule.
One thing we can say about natural wine is that its not easily categorized as far as flavor profile and thats one of the joys of it, notes Feiring. Theres a greater range in flavor and aroma depending on the winemaker and grapes.
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Why Opt For A Wine Spritzer
Much like the Italian favorite, the Aperol Spritz, wine spritzers are a quintessential summer drink. Not only are they fruity and refreshing, but they pair beautifully with classic picnic dishes and BBQ favorites.
Better yet, these wine cocktails are perfect to enjoy with brunch. Not only do dry spritzers pair easily with smoked salmon, eggs, and hollandaise sauce, but sweeter wine spritzers are perfect with maple-covered pancakes or waffles.
Wine spritzers are a great option if youre looking for cocktail recipes with less alcohol. Compared to a large glass of white or rosé wine, a white wine spritzer made with seltzer is far lighter on the booze. If youre looking for a low-alcohol wine, a spritzer may be just the ticket.
Because the seltzer dilutes the wine, a large white wine spritzer is around 6-8% ABV on average. By contrast, a large Pinot Grigio on its own comes in at 12% ABV. While neither of these are particularly high compared to other alcoholic drinks, opting for the spritz is the perfect choice for those looking to cut down on their alcohol intake.
Where Port Is Made
Port wine is produced in Portugals Douro Valley, located in the northern part of the country. Most ports are red, although white and rosé versions exist. The main grape varieties used to produce port are touriga nacional, touriga franca, tinta roriz , tinta barroca and tinta cão. More than 50 varieties are permitted in port vinification, though these five are by far the most commonly used.
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Nonlinear Behavior Of Protein And Tannin In Wine Produced By Cofermentation Of An Interspecific Hybrid And Vinifera Cultivar
Wines produced from red interspecific hybrid grape cultivars typically have lower tannin concentrations than wines produced from vinifera cultivars, which can be attributed to the lower concentration of tannins and higher concentration of tannin-binding proteins of interspecific cultivars. We hypothesized that blending of grapes prior to fermentation would result in final wine tannin concentrations lower than those predicted from the individual components due to protein-tannin binding, but that this effect would be absent from monovarietal wines blended postfermentation.
Does Natural Wine Cause Fewer Hangovers
Alcohol is dehydrating, interferes with sleep, and disrupts the GI system, all of which can cause a hangover, explains Cassetty. Does natural wine do less of this? Maybe, but its too early to say for sure. While there is some early research into the connection between sulfites and hangovers and likely more to come, most of the thinking around this is anecdotal, says Feiring.
If allergens are an issue, natural wine may be a better option, suggests Feiring. Its common to blame sulfites for a reaction to wine and it is possible to have a sulfite allergy, but if you can eat dried fruit, youre not allergic to sulfites. Instead, you might be sensitive to one of the many other additives used in conventional wine, including tannins, enzymes or even dairy or shellfish.
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