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Jashue

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Reason for certain texture in wine

by Jashue » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:14 am

I was talking the other day with another wine enthusiast and he described a textural sensation in a riesling that I too have experienced. That texture is somewhat akin to CO2-- but not just quite. It's very mild prickly sensation that I've experienced in young German rieslings. I've also seen this in Gruners. It might not be a gaseous component in the wine as I've suggested, but rather, a preponderance of some sort of acidity that isn't typically a dominant player in wine.

For YEARS, I've wondered what this was! If anyone here can tell me what is the cause of this (assuming you know what I'm talking about) I'd be HUGELY appreciative. Is it widely considered a defect?
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:36 am

Used to notice with Washington white wines, think it is CO2 added?
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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Howie Hart » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:52 am

Spritz. It is caused by slight traces of CO2 that remains in the wine through the bottling process. It is common in wines bottled very young and maintained in a cool environment. CO2 dissolved in water (or wine) is carbonic acid, which adds to the tartness.
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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Jashue » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:55 am

Howie Hart wrote:Spritz. It is caused by slight traces of CO2 that remains in the wine through the bottling process. It is common in wines bottled very young and maintained in a cool environment. CO2 dissolved in water (or wine) is carbonic acid, which adds to the tartness.


That explains the fuzzy line between the acidic tartness and the textural sensation of bubbles.

So if the intent of the wine maker is to create a still wine, then is the presence of spritz a fault? I remember experiencing spitz in a young bottle of JJ Prum Kabinett that was pretty much universally well regarded by the critics. What to make of this? The wine was amazing in most respects, as I recall, but the texture was distracting-- to me, at least. Is spritz something that will go away if a wine is set down for a year of two?
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:55 pm

It's not a fault. It's just the trapped CO2. It will dissipate with bottle age or time in the glass.

If you get a faulty wine with refermentation you will know it - lots of fizz, not just spritz.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Mark Lipton » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:47 pm

Jashue wrote:
Howie Hart wrote:Spritz. It is caused by slight traces of CO2 that remains in the wine through the bottling process. It is common in wines bottled very young and maintained in a cool environment. CO2 dissolved in water (or wine) is carbonic acid, which adds to the tartness.


That explains the fuzzy line between the acidic tartness and the textural sensation of bubbles.

So if the intent of the wine maker is to create a still wine, then is the presence of spritz a fault? I remember experiencing spitz in a young bottle of JJ Prum Kabinett that was pretty much universally well regarded by the critics. What to make of this? The wine was amazing in most respects, as I recall, but the texture was distracting-- to me, at least. Is spritz something that will go away if a wine is set down for a year of two?


Dissolved CO2 in wine is a natural consequence of fermentation. It takes a vigorous filtration or agitation to remove it, which many winemakers are loathe to do. Beyond that, many people like the "lift" that a bit of spritz provides, and it also helps protect against oxidation of the wine.

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Brian Gilp

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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Brian Gilp » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:24 am

Just a guess but I would say that 90% of the wines that I open that exhibit this are German. I have assumed that this was not coincidence but instead intentional as a way to make the acid more prominent and to better balance the RS.
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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:06 pm

Many Italian whites have some CO2 when released, it's quite normal. Sparging with nitrogen is one way of getting rid of it, apparently, but it's not a defect.
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Craig Winchell

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Re: Reason for certain texture in wine

by Craig Winchell » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Soluble gases such as CO2, dissolve to a greater extent in cold solvent than warm, exhibiting exactly the opposite effect of solid solutes (sugar, salt and the like, which dissolve to a greater extent with increasing temperature). Thus, the way to rid a wine of dissolved gas is to warm it, often coupled with sparging. Fruity white wines rarely see elevated temperatures, and are often bottled cold. This accounts for a greater or lesser amount of petillance. Sometimes, they are filled into bottles purged with CO2, increasing the spritz, sometimes to the point of fizz. In the absence of turbidity, this fizz is harmless, and often acts as a preservative as well as a textural component. I used to do this with my Cabernets, which were known for their ageability (it also decreases headspace pressure because the gas in the headspace ultimately dissolves). Unfortunately, there were a few complaints about the spritz, prompting me to go back to nitrogen purging. The CO2 just acted so much better in excluding air. All of my Gewurzes were bottled under CO2. I like petillance as a textural component of whites. Care must be taken to balance the wine in the absence of the spritz, however, or else the wine will taste flat after the CO2 dissipates.

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