Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer salute

It's got pretty hot in Italy. In fact, as every summer, I feel a little uncomfortable serving reds (Tuscany being famous for these) that in a few minutes warm up to the out-door temperature that hits the 34 degrees… And, as the wine, the heat has made us all warm, a little slow, lazy and perhaps a bit more crazy...
However, the tours are going strong all the same – except for a week’s pause in August when I will be taking my little girl Louise to the sea-side. I’m sure I’ll give you a reportage of that since we will be residing for a whole week in an exciting wine region right on the Tuscan coast; Bolgheri from where you get important Tuscan wines such as Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto, Grattamacco, Paleo, etc.
My personal life has seen some changes in recent times, however, to the positive I do hope. In the meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed meeting the most interesting people through the tours from all parts of the World. My job is truly fantastic and (quietly in my mind) I thank you all every day for having the possibility of doing it!
My best summer regards to everyone!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Additives in wine?

The many kinds of additives in wines is alarming, especially because they are never listed on the label. They are all used as a way to improve an inferior product. The result is a wine-like beverage, not natural wine. Scary enough, most wines available on the market today are merely beverages made from grapes because businesses are failing to do the work to make them a true wine, which takes its time.

Here is a list of 5 additives used frequently in industrial wines:
1. Cultured yeast.
In healthy vineyards with living soils there are plenty of natural yeasts. These native yeasts are also present on the grapes at harvest. The majority of winemakers add commercial yeasts either because their vineyards are not part of a living ecosystem (because they've sprayed too many chemicals on the vines) or because commercial yeasts can add particular flavors to a wine.
2. Enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins added to industrial wines to improve the color, improve the aroma and to make filtration easier.
3. Tannin.
Tannins are often added to industrial wines in the form of powder. Often used in combination with things like oak chips or oak staves.
4. Tartaric acid or malolactic bacteria.
Used to adjust the acid levels in a wine out of balance. This manipulation really would be unnecessary in wine as it is possible for wine to proceed through a malolactic fermentation without manipulating it, but again that requires time.
5. Enhancing the product further.
Many industrial wines are still made with the addition of sugar. Arabic gum is another additive used in industrial wine making (see video below). Many industrial winemakers pump oxygen into the wine, ostensibly to speed the aging and maturation process to make a wine more approachable.