As the Fourth of July weekend was upon us we decided to open a truly American wine…a muscadine spirit from Ringold, Georgia. While the wine wasn’t anything to write about (please note the irony) it gives us a great segway to get a little more informative with you on our blog. I figured this week all our readers will learn the processes that go into making wine so that when you visit a vineyard near you, you’ll be a little more informed and won’t be so awestruck by the giant stainless steel fermenting tanks, miles of hoses and towering barrel racks.
The first ingredient of any wine is fruit, more notably, grapes. As you have hopefully learned by reading the previous posts each varietal of wine equals a species of grape. There is an almost infinite variety of grapes with a major concentration on the most notable Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. Perhaps I am leaving out a few so that you can comment on your favorite grape. (Bloggers like to see comments from readers.) Next you need sun, the perfect temperature, water and good soil. The vineyard grower can control the last two of these ingredients but the first two are all mother nature and…
It is always interesting to keep tabs on the weather in Napa and see how the blood pressure of the winemakers fluctuate as the summer temperatures get hot or stay cool. Red wines need drier climates with warm temperatures to mature and white wines need cooler, moister climates. That is why Germany produces a variety of whites with a limited amount of reds. The same reason Oregon produces more Pinot Gris and lighter reds than big Cabernets.
After the grower delivers the grapes to the winemaker the fun begins. It is easier to think of the winemaker as an artist. Each winemakers has their own flavor profile, preferred M.O., and techniques they have learned throughout their days in the field. All these qualities can be tasted in the wines and the good ones are very, very aware that people can taste it. Keep in mind that everything that winemaker does from the point of delivery is reflected in the wine. Will they use just the grapes or all the stems and leaves in fermentation, will they use oak or stainless steel to ferment, will they use natural yeast or their favorite strain, will they blend their vineyards or produce single vineyard wines, and how long will they age the wine? Lots of questions go into a bottle of wine but I think the best one is which will we drink?
So, to simplify the process…Grapes are grown, delivered, crushed, hit with yeast, placed in oak barrels or another vessel for fermentation, pressed, fermented again to develop body, blended if desired, filtered, bottled, and opened by you. A simple system with complex choices to arrive at a great wine. While this is an overview of the process it can interchanged and skipped so that the winemaker can arrive at a product they are proud to put their name on.
Now onto the wine…
Consumers : James and Sara as well as guest saluders, Robby and Elaine Prince
Name: Georgia Wines, Tara Bella
Region: Southeast U.S., Georgia
Grape Varietal: Muscadine
Price: $ 14.95
Alcohol Content: n/a
– Appetizer –
– Entree –
Color and Appearance: Clear, pale yellow
Nose/Aroma: Not a strong nose with little to no flavor detected
Mouth/Flavors: Both sweet and tart, buttery and briny, really quick finish with no lingering flavor, reminded me of an unripe peach
Rating: 3 by itself, 4 with food
Impressions: Not as sweet as expected and the food definitely helped the lack of backbone in the wine, tasted like a old bottle of Welch’s Grape Juice, no alcohol impression
Food Recommendations: Go to Popeye’s, order the Family Meal, Go Home, Open Wine, Pour into favorite Mason Jar, Enjoy!!!