Marsala Wine Production

There isn’t really much to be said for the production of Marsala wines so this will be a short discussion on the subject. Alternatively, you can learn about wine made in Marsala, Sicily in my post Marsala Wine: Captialism’s Bastard Child. One reason there’s not a big hoopla about it is because it was a late comer to the fortified wine trend in the. 18th century. By the time the wine became trendy, Port, Sherry and Madeira already had a strong foothold in the fortified wine market. But you can think the late comer John Woodhouse for exposing Marsala wines to the world.

Madeira Wine Production

Continuing down the road of fortified wine production I wanted to go over Madeira wine production in this post. You don’t really see much info on Madeira but it is a fine fortified wine when you’re not staring any of the various bottles of cheap cooking wine. If you’d like to read about the various styles of Madeira, read my post, Madeira Wine: A Drink To Independence. You will also find characteristics and classification levels. Traditionally made from one of four of the Noble wine grapes of the region, Malvasia, Baul, Sercial, or Verdelho, Madeira is labeled varietally. For a while, after Phylloxera destroyed a majority of vineyards in Madeira during the 1800′s, wine makers substituted Tinta Negra Mole for each varietal. Entire vineyards were planted and used for all styles until the Noble grapes were reintroduced. Today at least 85% of the juice in a bottle of Madeira must be of the varietal on the label to be classified as such varietal.

Port Wine Production Part 2

Cont’d from Port Wine Production Part 1 Port wine traditionally matures in casks called pipes between one and two winter seasons in the wineries of the Douro. It then goes to the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, whose humid air is perfect for aging and maturing wines and causes very little to evaporate. While Port wine can be shipped from anywhere in the Douro region with the recent change in legislation, Vila Nova de Gaia is still the preferred port being the most humid area in all of Europe.

Port Wine Production Part 1

Now that the production of Sherry has had time to sink in I want to go into Port wine production. But, in case you missed it, you can click the link for Sherry Production Part 1, which discusses the types of grapes used to make Sherry, how the grapes are crushed and what goes into the fermentation process, Or you can go here for Sherry Production Part 2 and learn how Sherry is classified, how the Solera system works and what the process is for fortification.

Sherry Production Part 2

cont’d from Sherry Production Part 1. Let’s move right in to the classification of Sherry and fortification. Once the juice has fermented, tasters come in to classify the Sherry as either Fino or Oloroso. If one or two lots cannot be determined they are marked mosto sobretablas which means undecided. These wines are left to age more until they reach their potential and then they are reevaluated. Evaluation includes: color of the juice, clarity (being free of sediment), aroma and flavor with the palest, clearest, most aromatic and least bitter valued the highest. These wines go into the Fino Sherry category and consist of Manzanillas, Finos and Amontillados. They are fortified to somewhere between 15-15.5% alcohol in a half and half mix of grape spirits and Sherry juice. Everything else goes into the Oloroso Sherry category. These are fortified to 18% by way of adding pure grape spirit. This will effectively kill off any spoilage bacteria. Oloroso Sherry includes Olorosos and Rayas. If you would like more information about the Fino and Oloroso styles and what each are like read the post, Jerez My Sherry Wine. Once the Sherry is classified it is barrel-aged in one of two forms depending [...]

Sherry Production Part 1

Sherry Production will be our first discussion in our series learn about fortified wines. I’ve already covered the different styles of Sherry, so if you would like more information on that you can read my post entitled Jerez My Sherry Wine. Sherry wine is a fortified wine that was brought to the port of Cádiz in the southwestern corner of Andalusia, Spain by the Phoenicians. The date is said to have been around 1100 BC, or there about. Because of its popularity vineyards were soon planted in a nearby triangle parcel of land called the Jerez region. It’s a dry chalky area whose albariza soil is reminiscent of the moon’s terrain. Sherry was the first European wine drunk in America and is produced with either a dry or sweet finish. The triangular region is rather large touching the points of three major cities: Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa María. To refresh you, the grapes used in Sherry production are: Palomino: provides the base of the grape juice to be converted Pedro Ximénez: or PX, is used as the sweetening agent Moscatel: or Muscat d’Alexandria provides the sherries color Moving right into the production process [...]

Learn About Fortified Wines

How the heck are fortified wines made? If you’ve been following this wine blog and have wondered why I haven’t posted anything in a while or have wondered if that’s all there is to learn about wine, first off, no; no it’s not. I apologize for the long period between this and my last post; personal business has kept me away. Second, though I have time now to tell you all the great things you’ve ever wanted to learn about wine, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the short post I’m going to make today. Don’t fret, however; the posts following this one will renew your faith in this wine dork’s attempts at wine education. Consider this tidbit of wine knowledge a prelude of sorts. As I’ve been discussing the different types of wine production over the past several posts, I thought I should include fortified wines and how they are made. I covered them once before in my post, Fortified Wines, Pickled Homosapiens, but only to the degree of explaining what types of fortified wine are available. This time we will be looking at the production side. It’s going to be a long read, one spread out over [...]