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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Top 10 Wine Trivia for 2014

These are tidbits that a wine aficionado should know.  They range from terminology used in the vineyard and wine-making process to pests that can destroy wine.  Also included is information such as the health benefits of wine. Let’s start with the most destructive first, and end on a positive note.

    1.   Brettanomyce:  “Brett” is a wine spoiling yeast that causes barnyard 
          smells.  It can destroy an entire winery’s inventory as it’s difficult to 

    2.  TCA:  a chemical compound (often found in flawed corks) that ruins a 
         wine and causes it to be “corked.”

    3.  Green harvest:  to cut off grape clusters from the vine in order to 
         intensify the flavor of those grapes that are left.

    4.  “On the lees”:  the lees are the dead yeast leftover after fermentation.  
        Some wines (usually whites) are left in contact with their lees to increase 
        the complexity of the wine.

    5.  Malolactic fermentation:  commonly referred to as “ML,” this is a 
         chemical process that converts harsh malic acid to a softer lactic acid. 

    6.  “Rack a wine”:  to siphon wine into a new, clean barrel…leaving all the 
         sediment  in the old barrel.

    7.  Cap:  a very hard top that forms during fermentation at the top of the 
         tank (it’s composed of grape skins which are where many flavor                         components and color pigments are located).

    8.  Pump-over:  to pump juice over the hard cap (to break it up) during 
         fermentation to extract color, flavor & tannins.

    9.  Fine:  to clarify or make the wine more clear.

  10.  Heart healthy benefits of wine:  due to dark colored pigments found 
         in red grape skins, thus only red wines are cardiac protective.

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