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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 43, Summer 2006   
The Season of White and BubblesThe Season of White and Bubbles MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 42, June 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 44, September 2006

The Season of White and Bubbles


 Springtime is now over and winter is a cold memory, June has been a little crazy and unpredictable - as to make us remember in its beginning January, the month having its same initial - and we are finally arrived to summertime. The hot season of the year makes us putting aside the large and showy glasses, in order to leave the scene to smaller and slimmer ones, to ice buckets and to bottles having evidently lighter colors, at least when observed in transparency. The cyclic fashion of wine continuously repeats itself: in this period of the year the full bodied and thick reds leave the scene to the protagonists of summertime, white and rose wines, sparkling and lightly sparkling wines. Not only a custom associated to the fact these wines are usually served at low temperatures - therefore more appropriate to the summer heat - but also because they are considered “lighter” and therefore more suitable for summertime.


 

 If it is true for most of the year the red wines are the ones to be mainly preferred by consumers, in summertime white, rose and sparkling wines take their revenge. In fact, in summertime, these wines are the ones to be mainly preferred by consumers, not only consumed during meals, but also used for making wine beverages - the so called “wine drinks” - and as aperitifs. In particular sparkling wines, which are getting a renewed interest going beyond their typical role, that is of “special” wine to be uncorked in occasion of holidays or particular moments only. There are more and more consumers who realize the pleasure of matching their meals with a good bottle of sparkling wine, in particular during hot seasons when the heat is mainly suffered. It is also true this renewed interest has begun some years ago, when in banquets and in formal receptions, sparkling wines appeared again also served as aperitifs.

 This has certainly been an important step forward which allowed sparkling wines to begin again to come out from cellars also before Christmas time or New Year's eve. A similar trend is also happening for rose wines which, with lot of efforts, are slowly trying to get more attention from consumers. This is also because of appropriate initiatives which were capable of catching the attention of consumers towards this pleasing wine style, also thanks to the efforts of producers in order to increase the quality of their rose wines. Those dark and not very dignified times are now a distant memory - although recent - when rose wines were mainly produced with pretty disputable quality methods and consumers preferred to have something else, as they did not find in rose wines neither quality or agreeability. However rose wines are truly pleasing products and they can be served at low temperatures, as low as white wines, therefore suited for warm seasons. Moreover, according to an enogastronomical point of view, whenever a white is “too little” and a red is “too much”, in most of the cases the solution is represented by a rose wine.

 On the other hand, white wines have always had their followers - although with significative oscillations both in consumption as well as in the preference for certain grapes - and in particular women who generally prefer whites to reds, possibly produced with aromatic grapes, such as Gewürztraminer, Müller Thurgau and Muscat Blanc. Women are not the only ones to show their preference for aromatic grapes: men frequently show an interest for the aromas of these grapes coming out from their glasses. White wine has represented a pretty significative fashion of the past, as to make consumer lose their interest for red wines, by creating an alternation which made some grapes famous in specific periods. If it is true Chardonnay represents today the most appreciated grape by consumers, as well as the most used one in cellar, in past times it was Pinot Gris to be mainly successful. As everyone knows, fashions come and go like seasons - and sometimes they also return - and therefore also Pinot Gris had its moment of glory therefore leaving the scene to other grapes, including the vehement return of red wines.

 During the warm season, the nectars of Bacchus are left in the cellar by many and in the glasses are preferred white wines instead. These wines - as we said - are certainly in good company because they are more and more joined by rose and sparkling wines, both Charmat method and classic method. Among white wines, the ones to be mainly consumed in summertime, the ones to be generally preferred are the ones having good crispness and aromas, possibly low in alcohol - such as certain wines made with Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling - that is a wine to be drunk at a low temperature and appropriate for the heat of summer days. In this renewed seasonal interest for white wines, also autochthonous grapes are successful, in particular in those places where tourists go, who, with the occasion of a vacation, can also satisfy the curiosity of appreciating the local white grapes transformed into wine. In a country like Italy, where every region of the boot has its traditional grapes, the choice of the so called “autochthonous” wines is rich in surprises and, last but not the least, in good products.

 The preference for white, sparkling and rose wines during hot seasons is also justified by the foods which usually characterize summertime meals. Lighter foods, frequently raw and slightly seasoned, fish, crustaceans, rice and pasta with delicate and light sauces: the rich and opulent preparations of wintertime, which can be well matched to red wines, are not preferred by people in this period. Therefore a fresh and pleasing white wine, as well as a rose or a sparkling wine, besides refreshing the palate, allows a better enogastronomical matching with summertime foods. And if for a short time of the year red wines are almost forgotten and are allowed to rest for the future cold seasons, the ones who prefer and mainly consume this type of wine should not take offense. After all, also the diversity and the curiosity of changing, to discover - or to rediscover - new things, is part of the pleasing organoleptic and sensorial aspect of wine and, last but not the least, its conscious and moderate consumption, represent one of the many surprising aspects of the beverage of Bacchus. And in case a good glass of fresh wine appreciated during a summer night makes you feel like having another one and then one more, remember it is not quantity making the pleasure of wine. Enjoy your vacations and see you in September!

 



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 43, Summer 2006   
The Season of White and BubblesThe Season of White and Bubbles MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 42, June 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 44, September 2006

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

What is the difference between Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti?
Antonio Ricciardelli -- Florence (Italy)
According to the Italian quality system, Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti both belong to the classification of Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita) DOCG. Both wines are made with 100% Muscat Blanc and the difference consists in production. Moscato d'Asti is produced with the partial fermentation of must. This procedure allows the keeping of some sugar which will give wine sweetness, as well as an appreciable quantity of carbon dioxide responsible for effervescence. The interruption of fermentation has also an effect on effective alcohol volume, which must be from 4.5% and 6.5%. Asti Spumante is a sparkling wine produced in a tank (Charmat or Martinotti method) or with the refermentation in bottle. Also in this case the process is done in order to keep part of the sugar which will give the sparkling wine its typical sweetness, therefore avoiding the complete fermentation, with a lesser production of effective alcohol, however from 7% to 9,5%.



In your magazine I read a wine should be decanted only in case it has sediments. Why is then such a common practice in restaurants, where it is used for young wines as well?
Françoise Courtois -- Paris (France)
Decanting is a process consisting in separating a liquid from any possible solid part or sediments. Sedimentation is a phenomenon which is mainly observed red wines aged for a long time and produced with grapes rich of polyphenols. In order to make both the aspect and the tasting of these wines pleasing, it is required the separation of the liquid part from sediments. During the process of decanting, wine - because of the broad surface of contact which is created during this operation - gets an excessive quantity of oxygen, a condition which can be very negative for very old wines which spent many years in a bottle. In these cases, the complex aromas which have patiently developed in the course of time, are lost in few seconds. For this reason decanting is required only in case the wine has sediments which should be removed. In case decanting is used for “oxygenating” a wine, it is always preferable to avoid this operation and to use and more practical and functional glass of large size: it will be enough to swirl the glass for few seconds in order to obtain, among the other things, a better result.



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  Editorial Issue 43, Summer 2006   
The Season of White and BubblesThe Season of White and Bubbles MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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