Closures for wine bottles come in many forms but which are the best? Screwcaps have proven a contentious issue amongst many wine enthusiasts but do they serve a purpose?
The bark of cork oak is a unique material in that it has microscopic suckers that grip the bottle neck making it ideal for sealing glass bottles.
It’s impervious to liquids, does not react with wine, and does not rot. However, cork can be affected by weevils and fungi which leads to a wine being corked or having a tainted aroma or flavour.
The cork oak grows in the western Mediterranian and Portugal. Its bark is stripped every 12 years but only the fourth, fifth, and sixth strippings produce the highest quality cork. These trees have a lifetime of 150 to 200 years.
After stripping the bark in large planks t
Today, in many regions, the properties of new oak barrels are used for red wine and, to a lesser extent, for white wines such as Chardonnay. A wine that’s aged in oak gains spicy and toasted or grilled flavours.
Since the 1970s, when oaky flavours in wine started to become fashionable, ageing wine in new oak barrels became widespread. But it’s not just for the oaky flavours that a winemaker may decide to age wine in a barrel.
The word barrel is used generically to describe all wooden barrels. However, barrels come in different sizes. The most well-known barrels are the Bordeaux, which holds 225 litres, and the Burgandy, which holds 228 litres.
Over time and through a process of trial and error, the ideal size for a barrel was determined (an average capacity of between 200 and 230 litres became acc
Maturation takes place between the end of fermentation and bottling. Once the wine is bottled, ageing takes over.
Winemakers have two objectives when maturing their wine:
The length of maturation depends on the type of wine being produced. For simple wines maturation will last a few weeks or even days. For most wines, the maturation period will be a few months but for high-quality wines, maturation can take two years or more.
Depending on the type of wine being produced maturation may take place in large scale tanks or in small volume oak barrels.
After fermentation wine still contains small particles of grape material, yeast, and bacteria suspended in the
Fermentation is a natural process that has been used for centuries all over the world to create alcoholic drinks.
There are two basic phases in fermentation: alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation.
Fermentation is a complex yet natural process and begins once the sugars inside the grape come into contact with the natural yeasts present on the thin film that covers each grape berry. These yeasts, which are small organisms, feed on the sugars and excrete carbon dioxide and ethanol (alcohol). There are other by-products of the fermentation process such as glycerol, which make the wine rich, esters (aromatic) compounds, aldehydes, and acids. All of these by-products make a significant contribution to the flavour of wine and are mainly responsible for many secondary aromas in the wine.
Alcoholic fermentation will end when all the sugars have been converted to alcohol.
Making red wine is similar in process to producing white wine in that it involves transforming the must into alcohol.
One of the fundamental differences when making red wine is maceration.
This is the infusion stage where the colour, tannins, and aromatics of the grape skins and pulp are dissolved in the juice, which gives the wine its colour and character.
Maceration techniques will vary depending on the grape variety, local traditions, and climate.
Red grapes are gently crushed and then de-stemmed. The resulting must is transferred into temperature controlled stainless steel or wooden vats. Whilst in these vats the skins and pulp will gradually rise to the top forming what’s called a cap. Over time the colour, tannins, and aromatics within the cap will transfer to the juice, a
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at wine production techniques.
Today we’re focusing on the production of white wine.
Two factors determine if a white, red or rosé is produced: whether the grape does or doesn’t have colourants and the duration of contact between the grape juice (known as must), and the grape solids, including the skin or film. This process of contact is known as maceration.
White grapes with colourless pulp and skin are always used to produce white wine. Only the must will be used for fermentation without maceration.
Red, white and rosé can be made from these grapes. To produce a white wine with these grapes there must be no contact with the skin. If there is brief contact the wine will be rosé and if there is prolonged contact the wine will be red.
What's better than a glass of chilled Italian white wine sipped in the sunshine?
Italy's varying climate from the cooler north to the hotter south creates an impressive array of white wines all perfectly suited to al fresco dining.
This superb organic sparkling wine from Torri Cantine has notes of pear and passion fruit with a hint of citrus and flowers. It has well-balanced acidity whilst being refreshing with a gentle citrus finish. The perlage is fine
As a small, independent business, we know how hard it is to get noticed and stand out amongst all the big players. So we have curated a list of our favourite small businesses both local to us and national to share with you.
Below you'll find the businesses we believe are worth a mention.
Businesses in South West London
London’s south-west has been our home for over a decade. We wouldn’t swap it for anywhere else. Well...except for Umbria, Tuscany, Sicily…
There’s a great sense of community here and a whole host of awe-inspiring small business owners.
Buying wine and ending up with a bottle you’ll enjoy can always be a bit of a gamble even for those who make it their business, like us, as it’s not always possible to try before you buy so the final choice is often dictated by price.
The subject of wine prices can be a delicate one and has the ability to make consumers feel patronised on their level of wine knowledge or pressured to buy more expensive bottles for the benefit of the retailer.
Being both retailers and consumers we are acutely aware of this.
So, to help you with your wine buying journey, we’re going to take you through some of the tangible elements that make up the cost of the wine you drink so you’re better equipped to make an informed decision next time you’re in the wine aisle.
Prosecco, Lambrusco, Cava, Champagne.
There are many sparkling wines but how do those beautiful, effervescent bubbles get there?
In this blog post we're going to look at the six methods used to make sparkling wine.
Each method leads to a unique style of sparkling wine.