This is blog post 4 of 5 about the different component of structure. We've been using the S.T.A.A.F. acronym:
If you need a refresher...
Structure is the foundation of a wine. Just like a house, a wine cannot be great, let alone good, if there's not solid framework to build upon.
What does alcohol contribute to the wine?
- Because it's more viscous than water, alcohol adds texture and body to wine.
- High alcohol wines may seem heavier in the mouth (full body)
How do you taste alcohol in wine?
- It's more of a feeling than it is a flavor or taste...
- High ABV wine triggers pain receptors creating a hot, burning sensation after swallowing/sipping.
- Did you ever drink vodka thinking it was water in your younger years? That burning sensation is ALCOHOL.
- You can also feel those pain receptors in your nostrils sometimes when you smell a high-alcohol wine. Kind of feels like your singing your nostril hairs.
- This sensation is described as "hot"
Alcohol levels in wine:
- Low Alcohol Wine = below 12% ABV
- Medium Alcohol Wine = 12%-13.9% ABV
- High Alcohol Wine = 14% or more ABV
How is alcohol created in wine?
- Yeast + sugar = Alcohol + CO2
- Yeasts metabolize grape sugars converting the sugar into alcohol. Carbon Dioxide is a byproduct of this process which is typically released into the air, unless trapping it in the wine for sparkling wine production.
How does climate affect ABV in wine?
- Warmer Climates = Riper Grapes = Higher Sugar Levels = Higher Alcohol Levels
- The riper the grapes, the more potential sugar there is to be converted into alcohol
- Cooler Climates = less ripe grapes = lower sugar levels = lower alcohol levels
Alcohol and Acidity Have an Inverse Ratio
- Warm/Hot Climate = high alcohol, low acidity
- Cool Climate = low alcohol, high acidity
What kind of alcohol is in wine?
- Ethanol is the main type of alcohol in wine.
- Small trace amounts of other alcohol types are also created during the fermentation process