Are there blackcurrants in my wine?
You may think that’s a stupid question; however, I’ve been asked that question numerous times over the past 25 years.
Why do certain wines taste of particular fruit flavours? Do they add these fruit flavours whilst making the wine? In a word, no.
Wine is made from the juice of fermented grapes. Each grape varietal is different, ie Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are all unique.
The skins, which provide colour and natural yeasts used in fermentation, can be thick or thin. Some will develop more sugar during the growing season, which can lead to higher alcohol.
During the winemaking process, yeast is the biggest contributor to the taste profile. Wine develops its particular taste characters during fermentation. Mainly the natural yeast on the grapes eat the natural sugar in the centre of the grape, producing carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol; however some winemakers will induce the fermentation with cultured yeast which can impair certain flavours. Acid is formed as a result of this fermentation, it will combine with the alcohol and other compounds from the grape to produce ‘esters’ or flavour compounds. Those blackcurrant, apple, gooseberry or pear characters we get in wines come from those esters.
If you want to taste blackcurrants in a wine, try Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Rita 120 and Polero or if really want treat yourself to a Decanter Trophy winning wine, try Indomita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon.
Quote of the month:
“Alcohol, the cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.” Homer Simpson
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