Month: February 2011

The Structure of Wine

Although consumers may not understand the structure of wine as it relates to acid, alcholol, and tannin, structure is the primary factor affecting a person’s enjoyment of wine. 

Consumers know whether they like light-bodies or full-bodied , dry or off-dry, tannic or soft wines.  This is fantastic for us, as it is very easy to group wines in categories according to thier origin. 

A key point to remember: it’s all about the weather.  Admittedly, today’s winemakers have many tools to manipulate wine; however, the basic climatic influence will alwyas be part of the wine.  Warm regions grow grapes with high sugar.  The principle of fermentation says that    SUGAR+YEAST = ACHOHOL + CO2. The higher sugar a grape has, the more the alchol level or body of the wine.  As the level of sugar increases, acidity decreases.  The previous statement is simplified but generally accurate.  Just remember that acidity and alcohol are opposite: therefore, warm climate = low acid & high alcohol.

The opposite is equally true.  Then grapes are grown in a cool region, the level of sugar is lower, so the level of alcohol is the wine is consequently lower.  Also, the preception of acidiity in the wine is higher; thereofre, cool climate= high acid & low alcohol.

In blind tasting we use these comcepts to figure out the origin of a wine.  If we taste a wine that is high in acidity and low in alchohol, we deduce that it is from a cool region.