EVEN WITH WINE, IT’S A MATTER OF TIME
Even with wine, it is a matter of time. The whole life of wine, from the raw material onwards, is governed by time. And it is up to man to manage it to take the advantages and limit the problems: starting from the availability of the raw material, the grapes.
At the origin of everything
When we think about the origin of fermentation, we understand that it turned out to be an extraordinary intuition of humans. Study the transforming ability of food with the express purpose of making it last over time. This means, a real “fight against time” to prevent it from destroying in a few days what nature produces abundantly in a limited time.
Catch the moment
There is a precise moment and only one in which the ripening of the grapes reaches the correct sugar level to become wine. At that time, you must be ready for harvest, neither before nor after. It is the “carpe diem” that determines the existence of the wine. This moment varies depending on the grape variety. And also on the location of the vineyards. Due to exposure to the sun or the wind, grapes may ripen earlier or later. When this time approaches, the team that will take action is ready and coordinated, with a very detailed timetable.
Summer 2021, for example, the Chardonnay grape harvest starts about a week later than the seasonal averages. In about a couple of years, we will taste the Traditional Method sparkling wines of this harvest. And we will discuss the characteristics of the vintage.
Now or never. Wine is a matter of time.
You have to maximize your efforts to capture the moment and stock the crop. Next chance: in 365 days. Probably, it makes you smile, but this is what we do every end of summer, at home. We make jams with the fruit and sauce with tomatoes: pots of tomato puree to store that will become dressing in winter. The difference is the technology of the cellar and the size of the production. But the principle is the same.
The aging of red wines
Not all wines are born to age, but those designed to be the “premium” range require particular attention during the refinement period. Time is the determining factor in the style of a great wine. If we talk about still red wines, the players are the wood containers: barrique, pièce, tonneau are the names according to the size of the barrels. The wood barrel size is significant for the quality we expect from a wine. And this is where time comes into play: how long for that precise grape variety in that barrel? What happens after this storage in the barrel? How much will these decisions affect the final blend? These paths are the results of the strategies and the experience of winemakers. It is not easy for the consumer to understand. Grape blend, barrel, vintage, time: which is the big player of the game?
And Traditional Method sparkling wines
Time is also the ingredient of Traditional Method wines: the second fermentation in bottle requests time. Generally, from 12 months minimum, for the simplest bubbles up to 60 months for the Reserves. Time, tranquility, and temperature of the room contribute together to the fineness and persistence of the bubbles. The ‘sparkle’ defines the quality of a Traditional Method sparkling wine.
And finally, the age of the drinker
People often overlook the age and the condition of the drinker. Yet after years of observation, I am convinced that the age and maturity of the drinkers make a big difference. While with red wine, the age of people is not significant, it becomes remarkable when it goes to Traditional Method sparkling wines: the shorter the evolution, the younger the taster.
Wine is all about time
Like everything in life after all …