Monday, February 20, 2012

Winemaker Series: Paradise Springs Winery & Wine Terms

This week's episode features Rob Cox, the winemaker at Paradise Springs Winery, discussing wine terms you may hear when visiting a tasting room. We covered brix, residual sugar, acidity, racking, cooperage, fermenting, malolactic fermentation, reduction, and bottle shock. And we discussed these terms in relation to the Paradise Springs 2010 Chardonnay, the successor to the 2009 Governor's Cup Winner. As usual, the intro music is "How High the Mountain" by Andrew McKnight and all VirginiaWineTV videos are available via iTunes. Cheers.

  • Brix - Concentration of sugar in grape must
  • pH - A chemical shorthand for [p]otential of [H]ydrogen, used to express relative acidity or alkalinity in solution
  • Acidity - The amount of acid in the must, liquor, or finished wine. Insufficient acidity in the must will result in a poor fermentation and a slightly medicinal and flat taste. Too much acid will give the wine an unpleasant sourness or tartness
  • Whole Clustered Press - Helps minimize the amount of malic acid and tannins that naturally exist in the skins, seeds and stems from entering the wine
  • Cold Soaked - Technique to extract a deeper color and tannin structure
  • Sur Lies ("on the lees") - Process of leaving the lees in the wine for a few months to a year, accompanied by a regime of periodic stirring
  • Malolactic Fermentation - The process to reduce acid in red wines and some selected white wines by organic rather than chemical means.
  • Racking - The process of siphoning the wine off the lees to allow clarification and aid in stabilization by adding oxygen.
  • Residual Sugar (rs) - The natural grape sugar that is either unfermented at the end of the fermentation process or added back into the wine
  • Reduction - Describes the presence of volatile sulfur compounds in wine.
  • Bottle Shock - A reaction that occurs in wine immediately after corking, resulting from the large amount of oxygen it absorbed during bottling.

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