TWIST: HOW TO MAKE THE SAME GRAPE TASTE DIFFERENT
There's more but the brevity is already a problem and I suck at shutting up.
- •Adjust pHthis one's huge and it's the most underdiscussed facet of wine and winemaking
- •Vary tannin extraction from grapes via must contact time and pump overs/punch downs.Tannin comes from plant material. The woodier the material is, the more tannin it has (this is why the seeds of grapes are bitter, as are toothpicks, oak, etc whereas the flesh is not so bitter and the skins are in the middle). The more we beat up the grape material, the more we get out of it. More does not always equal better. Tannin needs to be balanced with other stylistic choices.
- •Pick at a different time.Thus affecting physical maturity, phenolic ripeness, tannin maturity, and sugar content which directly relates to alcohol. Picking at the right time is probably the most important decision we make.
- •Add water to lower alcohol.Legal limit is 10%. Chateau Le'Hose. Usually only done (in our case, but nefariously used by others) to brig sugar content down to about 25° Brix. Most of the ripeness development after that stage has largely been water loss anyways, so we're just putting it back.
- •Add tannin via oak, oak alternatives, and other wood products that contribute varied tannin and phenolic qualities.Don't be scared of oak alternatives. They're honestly fantastic and they make better, stronger wines at all price points. Nobody talks about this because it's more romantic to just say how many new French oak barrels they buy. Wineries lie about this shit all the time. Not me, just like most of the rest of them. They'd rather maintain the romantic mysticism you have than educate you.
- •Charge more (we taste with our brains, don't kid yourself).Labels affect perception, as does price.
- •Blend.We can have a wine be up to 25% other varieties and still call it by a varietal description. Different grapes affect blending in different ways, and the style of the wines matter greatly in how they will interact and blend. I.e. cramp high yield Petit Verdot won't take over a blend that quickly, but big, tannin monster Petit Verdot can start taking over a blend at 2-3%. It all varies all the time, so don't think this is a rule you can remember. Point is that blending is incredibly effective.
- •Age it more or less.Oxidation does stuff, yo.
- •Change yeast.Different strains of yeast result in different wines. Same mechanic that makes Lambics and Belgian beers in general so unique to their environs.
- •Let it go bad/don't take care of it in barrel.The Latin names that keep me up at night. Fuck that shit. Acetobacter, Brettanomyces, Kloeckera, Pediococcus, etc. Spoilage yeasts and bacteria that fuck shit up.