White or Red? Navigating the Wine List Waters – Part 2

Part Two: From Grape to Glass

Bottles of wine in a winery. Red and white wine.In our last blog post, we explored grapes and their color schemes, and encouraged exploration on your part. Now let’s understand the science of fermentation and cover Rose, Sparkling (Champagne), Dessert Wines, Port and Sherry.

The Science: The Yeasts and Fermentation

Harvested grapes become crushed grapes which contain yeasts. Yeasts exist naturally in the vineyard and collect on the grape skins. Once the grapes have been crushed, these yeasts and/or artificial yeasts added by the winemaker, interact with the sugar in the grape juice to produce alcohol, otherwise known as fermentation.

Fermentation is all a matter of time and is dependent on the style of wine the winemaker is after. Fermentation can be a brief as one week or three years.

Storage Matters

Where wine is also stored is a huge factor. Historically, there’s been a great deal of experimentation on this front, but today, Oak and stainless steel barrels are the most popular choices. The container’s unique properties literally impart different factors into the wine’s maturation. Hence the description “oakey”!

Rosé: Pretty in Pink

Three Colors of WineRosé, pink or blush wines characterized by their pretty pink shaded color are made from black grapes. They don’t have an opportunity to turn red because the grape skins are removed from the juice very quickly (hours) after contact.

This momentary brush with the black grape skins gives the wine its pink color. Rosés can also made by blending together white and red wines. This limited contact with skins also translates to a very minimum amount of tannins entering the wine. Rosés like White Merlot and White Zinfandel are sweet. However, traditionally and classically the best European rosés are very dry.

Sparkling Wines: Not Necessarily Champagne

Sparkling Wines are made from nearly any variety of grape and contain carbon dioxide bubbles. Carbon dioxide occurs naturally during fermentation, and winemakers have all sorts of techniques for literally trapping the carbon dioxide in the wine.

A widely held misconception is that Sparkling Wines are synonymous with Champagne. Not true! While Champagne is a type of sparkling wine, there is a distinct difference between the two.

Champagne is actually a region located in northeast France. Strict laws allow only wines made with grapes grown there to be called Champagne.

Some of the more popular sparkling wines include Cava, Champagne, Crémant d’Alsace, Moscato d’Asti and Prosecco.

Desert Wines: The Sweet Side.

glass with white wine , focus on foregroundSure you can drink your dessert… of course we are partial to your ordering something from our bakery. But as an accompaniment, a Dessert wine is a fine choice! Dessert wines have a notoriously high sugar content.

Fortified wines have Brandy or other spirits added to the juice during fermentation to stop the fermentation process which leaves a high amount of sugar in the wine. Some fortified wines, including Port and Sherry, were originally designed to ensure the wine survived long voyages on 17th century ships. Popular dessert wines include ice wines, late harvest Rieslings, Madeira, Port, Sherry and Sauternes

We are proud of our wine list and would love to help you navigate your way through it.  Come in and order one tonight. We promise you can’t go wrong. Taste the Wine. Taste the Love.