How Sweet It Is – A Lesson On Sweet Wines
Written by Rick on March 21, 2012
You don’t have to be a Traveling Vineyard wine enthusiast to enjoy this sweet summer sparkler.
Sweetness refers to the level of residual sugar in a wine after fermentation which is demonstrated with the following formula:
Sugar + Yeast => Alcohol + CO2
Sweetness is one of the major components of a wine’s taste including:
Fruit – the distinct flavor delivered by the type of grape fermented
Alcohol – defined as a percentage by volume and a function of the sugar that has been converted to alcohol during fermentation
Acidity – which refers to the tart “bite” or pleasant sour taste of a wine.
The word “balance” is used in reference to the relationship between acidity and sweetness.
The sweet nature of a wine can come from a variety of factors:
- The grapes used – Certain grapes lend themselves to being produced as dessert wines. The Finger Lakes region of New York state produces many dessert wines using indigenous grapes – not your popular traditional vitis vinifera grapes (i.e. Chardonnay, Merlot, etc.) The popular sweet kosher wine, Manischewicz, is produced using the Concord grape which grows in abundance in this area.
- When the grapes were picked – “Late harvest” dessert wines are produced with grapes left to ripen on the vine after the typical harvest time. This increased hang time gives them a greater percentage of sugar. These vines are often infected with a beneficial mold called botrytis cinerea or “noble rot”. The mold causes the grape skin to break and the water inside to evaporate concentrating the sugars inside. Ice wine similarly is produced during a late harvest when the grapes stay on the vine until the cold freezes the water inside the grape concentrating the remaining flavors.
- How the grapes were vinified – With fortified wine for instance, clear brandy (neutral grape spirits) is added to stop the fermentation and preserve the natural grape sugar. This is the method used in making Port wine.
Traveling Vineyard’s 2010 Tanglerose
And what a premiere it’s been for our first Finger Lakes wine – it’s now our number 2 wine!
In the 2010 Tanglerose, Sweet American Rosé, we’ve brought together three upstate New York varietals and three traditional varietals. The result? An easy-drinking wine that capitalizes on the natural residual grape sweetness of the white Niagara grape, the red Catawba grape, and the red Concord grape – all native to Hammondsport, New York. These grapes were then blended with three traditional vitis vinifera grapes, Pinot Grigio for its fresh character, Chardonnay to give the blend some substance, and Riesling known as the grape of the Finger Lakes area. The word “sweet” appears in the title because of the type of grapes used in its production. It’s a fun and fruity wine similar in style to a White Zinfandel.
Pale pink salmon in color, this blush wine is not considered solely a dessert wine. Like most rosé wines, it’s quite versatile and can be paired with either savory or sweet dishes. It combines crisp refreshment with magnificent bright fruit flavors of fresh red berries, watermelon and nectarine. This makes it a great match with dishes that make use of chocolate and berries as well as savory dishes that call for a sweeter, lighter companion like fish.
We worked closely with the oldest bonded winery in the US, Pleasant Valley Wine Company (better known as Great Western of sparkling wine fame) to bring this wine to you straight from the southern tip of Keuka Lake in New York’s world class Finger Lakes AVA.
To find out more about our newest addition send us a request to host your very own free home wine tasting.
The Traveling Viineyard Grape Stompers!