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Gary Bobier

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Sweet vs Sour wine tasting

by Gary Bobier » Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:01 pm

I have been hosting a wine group for a number of years and I want to change the format a bit. In the past we would do a blind taste assesment based on the CMS tasting grid. We would then enjoy a light dinner and finish the wine. I am finding that the group still has a bit of a problem with what proper balance is in wine. To help them I was thinking of doctoring some white wine with acid(a blend of malic, citric and tartaric) and a bit of super fine sugar. I was thinking of having them taste the wines in the following order:

1. Base wine. A simple Trebbiano
2. The base wine that has been doctored with enough sugar just so they can recognize it.
3. The base wine that has been doctored with the acid
4. The base wine that has both the sugar and the acid in the proper balance.

These wines would be tasted blind with a 1-10 rating scale for sweetness and sour.

If anyone has a better idea on how a can get the group to understand the balance between acid and sweetness please tell me.

Future tastings will be tannin, alcohol, finish, aroma, temperature, Sulfites, aeration, and Flaws to mention a few.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Sweet vs Sour wine tasting

by Howie Hart » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:38 pm

One of the problems you face is sugar. Cane sugar is a di-saccharide, which is a double sugar combining fructose and glucose. Natural grape sugar contains both fructose and glucose in almost identical proportions. The acid in the wine will eventually break down the cane sugar, but it will take 4-6 weeks. If you taste the wines with can sugar recently dissolved, the mouthfeel will change and have leave a syrupy feel in the mouth. If you taste it while the sugar is being broken down, for some reason, the nose either disappears or becomes a little funky. After about 8 weeks, it should all be back to normal. This is part of bottle shock, along with exposure to oxygen. I'd suggest seeking out wines that are made from the same grape, but have varying degrees of sweetness and acidity. Regarding Trebbiano, if you can't find a sweet version, you could maybe substitute Vidal, a hybrid with Trebbiano as one of its' parents. Vidal is often made as late harvest and as ice wine.
EDIT:
If you add a quantity of 2 parts sugar to 1 part of the original wine, with a small bit of the acid blend and boil it for about a half hour, it should invert the cane sugar and you would have a syrup that you could blend into the wine at various rates. BTW - the acid blend should be available at any wine making or home brew supply store.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Gary Bobier

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Re: Sweet vs Sour wine tasting

by Gary Bobier » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:22 am

You are correct in all that you said. I was not clear in my post. The wines will be doctored and drunk within an hour or 2. I am only trying to get the group to understand the tactile differance between the four different glasses. My question is am I haveing the group taste these wines in the correct order and is there a better way to accomplish this.


Gary
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Howie Hart

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Re: Sweet vs Sour wine tasting

by Howie Hart » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:13 pm

I would suggest 4 glasses for each person, then have them taste in the following order: 3, 1, 4, 2, after which they could randomly taste and compare them. This would follow the dry to sweet progression. Dry wines after sweet never taste right. You could also add a 5th wine where you would add potassium bi-carbonate, to illustrate a flat wine, with too little acid, and have them taste that first.
FWIW - it might also be helpful to have a TA (Total Acidity) titration performed on the wine and provide the numbers for both the TA and RS for each sample
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.

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