Why can organic wine sting?
You have just bought a bottle of organic wine and when you taste it, your wine stings or pearls slightly. You wonder why you feel these sensations and above all you would like to know if it is normal. Let's go, the Oé team explains all about the mysteries of organic wines that sting. By bike Simone!
What is a stinging wine?
A wine that stings or sparkles slightly? Don't worry, it's a not so rare phenomenon! This taste sensation is linked to the acidity of the wine. After the harvest comes the vinification . And during vinification , the wine undergoes an alcoholic fermentation: the yeasts on the grape skin transform the sugar into alcohol. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is then naturally produced, and it is this CO2 which can cause a beading effect in the mouth at the time of tasting. The winemaker can choose to degas the wine or leave carbon dioxide to protect the wine. The latter will be less sensitive to oxygen: oxygenation of the wine - too much oxygen in the bottle - can cause it to turn and give it a bad taste. Grapes in biodynamic or organic agriculture are more sensitive to disease, transport, and during storage. Winegrowers who manage a vineyard according to the specifications of the organic label or who produce natural wine have several techniques to take care of their cuvées.
Organic wine that stings: wine fault?
Whether it is red wines , white wines or rosé wines , you can come across cuvées from organic viticulture that pearl slightly when tasted . It is said that a wine stings - or pearls - when it is slightly effervescent. It is a phenomenon that is triggered during a secondary fermentation that the winemaker controls during vinification.
You can smell certain faults in the wines, such as aromas of stables, vinegar, rotten eggs, nail polish and chard apples, for example. As you can imagine, they are not pleasant to smell or taste but cannot make you sick. La Wineista talks very well about wine faults in her article .
A wine is said to be pitted or to have an acetic pitting when the wine turns into vinegar. This phenomenon can occur if the winemaker fails to manage the presence of oxygen and acetic acid bacteria during vinification .
Organic winegrowers choose to leave CO2 in the wine for several reasons:
- Use less sulfur (SO2). Sulfites play an antioxidant role during bottling, they prevent the wine from oxidizing and having a bad taste. Used in small doses, it is not harmful to health. On the other hand, finding a substitute makes it possible to prolong the conservation of the wine while being better for your health.
- Bring character to the wine because the bubbles allow the aromas to be diffused throughout the nectar and amplify the nose of the wine. The gas does not hide the faults of the wine, because they themselves are amplified with the presence of CO2.
- Give freshness to the wine while maintaining a good balance.
Winemakers who practice organic viticulture or produce natural sulfite-free wines keep the CO2 produced during fermentation or add it to protect the wine. If you feel at the time of tasting that your organic wines are sparkling, do not hesitate to decant and even shake the carafe to release the gas more quickly (without mistaking your carafe for a shaker). The gesture seems violent but it is very effective.
Organic wine and natural wine that stings: decant to reduce the sensation
As CO2 is a volatile gas, do not hesitate to open your wines 20 minutes in advance for whites, and decant red wines 1 hour before tasting to aerate them . This will allow the wine to open up, deploy its aromas and its voluptuousness. For white wines, the simple fact of swirling the glass of wine with a twist of the wrist increases the taste tenfold and reduces the sparkling aspect of the wine.
Airing the wine helps to have a better nose and to develop the aromas in the mouth . The nose of the wine is the aromas that the wine gives off when you smell it before swirling your glass. Depending on the origin and the terroirs on which the vine and the bunches of grapes grow, the wine will not have the same typicity or the same power.
Each wine does not flourish on the same soils , does not enjoy the same climates and the grape varieties are different from one bottle to another. In France, we have organic Provence wines , organic Vaucluse wines , organic Bordeaux wines , organic Languedoc wines , organic Mediterranean wines and organic Côtes du Rhône wines for example.