Tag: the wine

Wines and other digestifs

 - Grappa, cognac, brandy, malt whiskey or Armagnac are just some of the members of the large family of digestifs, those drinks revered for its ability to assist the digestive process, mainly because of their high alcohol content and even the herbs or oils that make them up. Those who enjoy these drinks call them ‘pousse café’ (after coffee), due to the moment they usually are drunk, and advise to serve them, almost everyone, at room temperature, except the grappa, which is used to drink cold, and cognac, which should be served at the same temperature as the body, 36° C.

Often confused with aperitifs, motivators of appetite, the digestifs differ by their body, given generally by the high alcohol content, and their dry and bitter character. However, not only the spirits are part of this select group. They are also fortified wines like port and sherry. These wines receive, before finishing their fermentation, the addition of a higher volume of alcohol, and therefore are generally sweet. Similarly, it is also possible to consume as digestifs dry liquors, such as type Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Cointreau, Drambuie, Grand Marnier, Curaçao and Frangelico, i.e. alcohols infused with aromas, flavors and even properties, like Fernet, a popular bitter drink based on carminative herbs.

The digestifs, also called “water of life”, are known by this name because with their discovery was found an alternative cure to the plagues contracted by ingesting contaminated water. In contrast, another is the reason why they are called ?spirits? at the same time, which responds to the fact that in the distillation of liquid which always remains is the ‘heart’ or ‘spirit’ of the beverage. This essence is obtained by subtraction and concentration of alcohol and added flavors such as orange, herbs or nuts. This extraction is done by condensing the macerated brew vapors after heating.

These miraculous waters come from diverse origins yet possess a particular characteristic in common: they are almost all products distilled in small stills or boilers. For this reason, their elaboration requires a careful craftsmanship. Such is the case of wine distillates known as cognac, Armagnac and brandy, which take their denomination depending on the area where they are produced. For example, the first and the second belong to a specific region of France, and brandy is the generic name which get all the distillates of wine from any other location. Additionally, there are also spirits made of fermented fruit juice, such as plum or pear. Among these perhaps the best known is the Kirsch, made of cherry or the Calvados, elaborated with apple, also named after the region where it is produced.

Wines and other digestives

 - Grappa, cognac, brandy, Armagnac or malt whisky are just some of the members of the large family of digestives, these drinks revered for its ability to assist the digestive process, mainly because of its high alcohol content and even the herbs or oils that make them up. Those who enjoy these drinks, call them ?pousse café? (after coffee), due to the time of drinking, and advise to serving them, almost everyone, at room temperature, except grappa, which is used to drink cold, and cognac, which should be drunk at the same temperature as the body, 36° C.

Often confused with appetizers, motivators of appetite, the digestives differ by their body, given generally by the high alcohol content, and their dry and bitter character. However, not only the spirits are part of this select group. They are also fortified wines like port and sherry. These wines receive, before finishing their fermentation, an addition of higher volume of alcohol, and therefore are generally sweet. Similarly, it is possible to consume dry digestive liquors, such as Chartreuse, Benedictine, Cointreau, Drambuie, Grand Marnier, Curacao and Frangelico, i.e. alcohols infused with aromas, flavors and even some properties like the Fernet, a popular bitter drink made with carminative herbs.

The digestives, also called “waters of life”, are known by this name because with their discovery was found an alternative cure to the plagues contracted by ingesting contaminated water. In contrast, the reason why they are called at the same time “spirits” is another, and responds to the fact that in the distillation of the liquid, which remains is always the heart or spirit of the beverage. This essence is obtained by subtraction and concentration of alcohol and added flavors such as orange, herbs, nuts. This extraction is done by condensing the vapors of the macerated brew after heating it.

These miraculous waters come from diverse origins yet possess a particular characteristic in common: they are almost all products distilled in small alembics or boilers. For this reason, their development requires an almost artisan care. Such is the case of wine distillates known as cognac, armagnac and brandy, which take their names depending on the area where they are elaborated. For example, the first and the second belong to a specific region of France, and brandy is the generic name which get all the spirits of wine from any other place. In addition, there are also spirits made with fermented fruit juice, such as plum or pear. One of the best known is the cherry-made, called Kirsch, or the apple-made, called Calvados, like the region where it is elaborated.

Elaboration of rosé wines

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Previously we talked about the origin of rosé wine and how it has evolved in terms of production and consumption so far, even explained the difference between a claret and a rosé. This time we will show, in summary, the process of elaboration of this type of wine.

Any wine that claims to hold the title of rosé should be slightly acidic, have fruity aromas and a bit of residual sugar, which can be perceived or not when drinking them. However, its creation does not respond to a single recipe but there are at least three different methods for obtaining them.

The so-called gray wine is made the same way that white wine: Once harvested, the grapes are pressed and its juice is fermented. Since the dye compound of the wine (anthocyanins) is in the peel or skin, this wine has almost no color.

A second way would be to follow the steps of the red wine vinification, i.e. the harvested fruit is placed in stainless steel barrels or tanks to macerate for 1 to 3 days, in order to extract color and chemical compounds which become aromas and flavors. Here usually the wine takes shades ranging from pink to salmon and deep orange, also called ?bird’s eye?.

 - Finally there is the method Saignée, resulting from the maceration of the grapes previously broken in a period between 12 and 24 hours, which therefore has a color ranging from strawberry to a light red. In all cases the juice, free of skins and seeds, is fermented by microorganisms called ?yeast?, which consumed the sugar in the liquid and release as residue alcohol and carbon dioxide. Similarly, in this process also remains an unfermented sugar residue providing balance to the natural acidity of the beverage. In some cases this sweetness is easily detectable and highly appreciated.

Gastronomically, for example, these sweetened versions are ideal companions of sugary Moroccan dishes like cous cous royal or spicy recipes from India, while the driest wines go well with Asian dishes like sushi, cooked vegetables and even green salads. In conclusion, the rosé is an ideal drink for a beach weather menu (we recommend consuming it young), and may even join, along with sparkling and white wines, the New Year’s Eve toast.

Rosé wines

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After centuries of marginalization, rosé wine made its way to success in the twenty-first century. According to historians, it was the first wine ever made by man, and its character, so revered by the Greeks and Egyptians, always resided in the brightness of its color.

Product of the ignorance of winemaking techniques, at that time the grapes were trodden, pressed, to separate the liquid from the skin and seeds of the fruit, then the liquid was placed into jars, fermented and drank. Since then, the wine in the world was rosé, a curious fact if you think that, nowadays, its production represents only nine percent of the total consumption of this drink.

The French, famous not only for its white and red wines, but also for its rosés, especially those produced in regions such as Provence and Bordeaux, always said that these wines go well with any meal, and thus promote them: ?rosé-qui-va-avec-tout?. While actually not every recipe receive these bottles as its perfect match, they became essential in the summer days. Perhaps this is a result of the freshness offered by drink them, because of their slightly acidic and fruity taste.

It is said that rosés are red wines stripped of their aggressiveness, but with aromas and flavors typical of the grapes with which they have been developed. They result from the vinification of red grapes, but the rosés differ from reds depending on the time the fruit has been in contact with its skin and seeds. In the first case, the bunches are harvested before being macerated in vats or tanks, usually six to twelve days. In the second, instead, the contact time usually don?t exceed three days, and sometimes is just a few hours. This process seeks to remove the tannin content, usually associated with a sensation of astringency in the mouth, and the coloring matter, among other compounds present in the peel of the grape.

The classification of a rosé or claret wine sometimes is confusing, and this is easy to clear as for the claret wine, the fermentation is done along with the skins, in a similar manner to red wines, and with the rosés, the fermentation process is carried out without the participation of these.

There are several methods of elaboration of rosé wines: in general highlight three of them, which we will explain in an upcoming post on the Uvinum?s blog.

The last name of wines

 - To mention that a wine has terpenes, pyrazines, norisoprenoids or volatile thiols in the musts, just to name a few, can be hard to understand by the consumer. However, if you were told that the bottle of wine you just bought is composed of a grape wine which releases in its elaboration floral aromas (terpenes) and has a strong scent of pepper (pyrazines), could relate well these references with a Cabernet Sauvignon.

However, if you were told that in your wine there are flavors of exotic fruit, rose and even applesauce (norisoprenoids), one might guess that is about to drink a Chardonnay. On the other hand, if in the liquid you perceive notes of guava, citrus peel and grapefruit (volatile thiols in the must), this consumer would identify that he is facing a Sauvignon Blanc.

The smell, taste and aroma of a wine depend then on their chemical composition; and the prevalence of either substance in each wine will determine its nature. For this reason, knowing what grape is in the wine you buy is essential in identifying which is the variety that you like best.

Beyond the process of elaboration of a wine is almost always the same, the unique expression of the grape responds to its terroir (soil, climate, insolation, care of the vine), which in each region has different nuances and becomes therefore in particular wines.

In general, white wines release citrus aromas of lemon, orange or grapefruit, and fruits such as pear, apricot, melon or gooseberry. On the other hand, the red varieties are characterized by its load of anthocyanins, a substance responsible for the color of the wine that come off when the broken flesh contacts with the skin or peel; and the presence of tannins, polyphenolic compounds associated with astringency and bitter flavor on wine, which prolong its life and provide the consumer, among other things, antioxidants. These evoke red fruits like cherry, plum, raspberry, strawberry or blackberry. Both vinifications can also offer mineral aromas, spices, grass and other, common to fermentation such as bread or yeast.

Wine is not only grapes, but its aromas and flavors are made through chemical processes to which it is subjected, such as fermentation (transformation of the sugar contained in grapes into alcohol), sometimes malolactic fermentation (conversion of malic acid, usually associated with green apple, becoming lactic acid), and aging (preservation in oak barrel or bottle). However, there are some common factors that are expressed in each varietal and remain always reflected in the final product, the bottle.