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Das „Geschenk der Götter“ gedeiht in der Hand der Kellermeister

A series of factors decides about the quality of the wine: the harmony between vine variety and soil, the winegrower’s labour – planting, cutting, deciduous labour, soil care, age of the vine – last but not least: the weather. Just like good parents, good winegrowers or cellarers also strive for the recognition and promotion of their protégé’s potential.
   
The selection follows the vintage of the grapes: unripe and rotten berries are being sorted out. The next step is the destemming, the separating of the stems from the berries. Exception: in Champagne, whole grape pressing is prescribed, i.e. the pressing including stems.
 
White grapes are being pressed immediately after their arrival in the cellar, the juice is being fermented. (Must fermentation).

It is different with red grapes: they are being cautiously grinded. The mesh is then being fermented – juice, skin and cores. In this phase, the colour of the red wine develops, for, the colour pigments – as well as the tannins – are for the most part situated in the grape skin. The process of pressing takes place not until the fermentation. (Mesh fermentation)
 
By-product marc: Grappa

From a by-product of pressing, namely from the skins, you can produce marc schnapps – the German Marc Schnapps, the Italian Grappa or the French Marc.
 
Yeast funguses are the ones,
making the must ferment, which means: the fructose turns into alcohol and carbonic acid. If a wine becomes dry or sweet, depends on if the whole sugar or just a part of it turns into alcohol. Which is no accidental process; it is accurately directed and controlled via the fermentation temperature in the fermentation cellar.

Light red wines ferment about four days on the mesh, the ones being rich in content, eight days. Heavier red wines have contact with the skin for about two weeks and traditional wines like Barolo or Cabernet four weeks.

The lactic acid fermentation (malolactic fermentation) follows the alcoholic fermentation with red wines. Bacteria’s bring about this natural process of acid degradation. This process, lasting two to three weeks, imparts stability to the wine, it reduces the acid content and rarefies the flavours. Concerning white wines, the malolactic fermentation is normally being resigned. They are supposed to retain their acid, as it is the acid, that imparts the prickly freshness and spryness to the white wines (the exception is the Chardonnay, on which a lactic acid fermentation is still performed).
 
Time of maturity: the maturity process

The ideal repository for the maturity process of the wine and its flavours is the wooden barrel. Though, this does not hold for al wines. Lightweights are rather by the wood varnished, only heavier wines benefit from the complex maturation in the wooden barrel. They reach more harmony, are longer storable and are capable of ageing for a longer time. The reason: wood is porous – this enables a very sparing oxidation. The wine “breathes“ matures faster. Furthermore, the wood bestows a greater abundance of flavours upon the wine.

Traditionally in Bordeaux the wines are fermented in oak barrels, called Barrique. Contrary to the fermentation process in the steel tank, a higher temperature dominates the wooden barrel. Special ferment aromas are the consequence - the touch of wood. Of course, the wine can also ripe in the stainless steel tank or in the bottle. The cellarer often tries every method and makes use of the knowledge of their respective advantages for the composition of the maturation and refinement in different phases. The barrique barrels (capacity 225 litres) are by now being applied all over the world for maturation and partly for fermentation.
 
Blending

Not in every year, the grapes reach the identical quality, sometimes, the weather thwarts the winegrower. But even in one and the same year, the quality of the grapes might differ – for instance, if one part of the grapes can be harvested, but the other one is watered down by rain. The blending is a process of mixture of wine or grapes, which is supposed to assure the steady quality of a branded wine, every year. The assemblage is also acceptable, if the cellarer intends to increase the wine’s quality. In fact, most wines consist of several vine varieties.
 
Tannins

Tannin is a tanning agent and prevents among others, early oxidation (produces wines with a touch of Sherry = wine defect). Wines, containing plenty of tannins, may store longer, as they keep the wine from a reaction with oxygen. Though, the tannin degrades during storage and the taste changes. Therefore, rough and furry wines become softer and more pleasant to drink when stored. Partly, regarding overly tannin containing wines, there is a storage prescribed before sale by the legislator, as the wines are too rough on the tongue without this storage, leaving behind a “blunt” feeling. Tannins are contained in the skins, the tannins from the grape stems and cores are undesirable. 
 
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