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Vinnez – May 2012

May 31, 2012 Vinnez Newsletters No Comments

Evolving Wines

Last week I visited with friends and brought a few bottles of my Generaciones Syrah to share with them. It has been more than a few weeks since I tasted the wine so was curious to how it wad evolving. Since its delivery last December, I have tasted each of my wines recognizing their constantly evolving aromas, flavors and complexity. During the last few months the maturing of the wines proceeded at a constant pace, but this last month showed a significant bump in maturity from my Syrah.Chaiken Vineyards Generaciones Syrah wine label

Although I enjoyed my Syrah previously, the wine really impressed me earlier this month. It seemed as if someone turned on the juices, with the wine boasting a powerful bouquet, and strong, complex dark fruit flavors. The mid-palate – the flavors a wine drinker tastes soon after the wine is put into the mouth – exhibited strong, lasting flavors that continued right through the finish. Each sip of wine made me wonder about the wine and its growing maturity.

If anyone doubts whether wine evolves over time, I suggest you purchase a few bottles of well-made wine and taste the wine over 12-24 months. The wine will change over time becoming stronger in flavor through an increase in complexity. As wines evolve they do become better but soon reach a point where they do not necessarily become better, just different. Based upon your preference, a wine may be at its best early in its evolution, or you may prefer a  wine further along its evolutionary curve.

The changing nature of wine makes it a very interesting beverage. Every bottle offers a new surprise.


Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

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Featured Photo Courtesy of  Don Guerwitz Photography – Lead Dancer. Tiji Festival, Tibetan Kingdom of Mustang, Nepal


Wine Yeasts

Yeast is used in winemaking, where it converts the sugars present in grape juice (must) into ethanol. Yeast is normally already present on grape skins. Fermentation can be done with this endogenous “wild yeast,” but this procedure gives unpredictable results, which depend upon the exact types of yeast species present. For this reason, a pure yeast culture is usually added to the must; this yeast quickly dominates the fermentation. The wild yeasts are repressed, which ensures a reliable and predictable fermentation.Dried yeast package

Most added wine yeasts are strains of S. cerevisiae, though not all strains of the species are suitable. Different S. cerevisiae yeast strains have differing physiological and fermentative properties, therefore the actual strain of yeast selected can have a direct impact on the finished wine. Significant research has been undertaken into the development of novel wine yeast strains that produce atypical flavour profiles or increased complexity in wines.

The growth of some yeasts, such as Zygosaccharomyces and Brettanomyces, in wine can result in wine faults and subsequent spoilage. Brettanomyces produces an array of metabolites when growing in wine, some of which being volatile phenolic compounds. Together, these compounds are often referred to as “Brettanomyces character”, and are often described as “antiseptic” or “barnyard” type aromas. Brettanomyces is a significant contributor to wine faults within the wine industry.

Researchers from University of British Columbia, Canada, have found a new strain of yeast that has reduced amines. The amines in red wine and Chardonnay produce off-flavors and cause headaches and hypertension in some people. About 30 percent of people are sensitive to biogenic amines, such as histamines.

Source: Wikipedia

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