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What is 'sussreserve'?

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What is 'sussreserve'?

by Jenise » Wed May 03, 2006 4:17 pm

If I understand what I just read elsewhere correctly, it's some form of grape juice that's added back to an already made wine, but when and why is it done? FWIW, the reference to it that I read implied it's in particular a technique of German winemaking.
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Howie Hart » Wed May 03, 2006 4:45 pm

I've done this with my Home Made Riesling at the suggestion of John Trombley. Apparently it is common in Germany. The idea is to reserve a portion of the fresh pressed juice (I put mine in 2-liter soda-pop bottles and stored then in the freezer). When the wine has finished fermenting and is ready to be bottled, the juice is added back to the wine. This does 2 things - sweetens the wine, which probably would have fermented out bone dry, and also reduces the alcohol.
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Robin Garr » Wed May 03, 2006 4:56 pm

Jenise wrote:it's some form of grape juice that's added back to an already made wine, but when and why is it done?


If I recall correctly, this ancient and well-known practice is also the "secret" of Kendall-Jackson's popular success, and the alleged trade secret that Jess Jackson sued Jed Steele for purportedly stealing.
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Hoke » Wed May 03, 2006 4:58 pm

It's commonly used in Germany, as Howie said, Jenise.

At Bonterra, the winemaker makes small batches of a Muscat in somewhat the same way. It's a labor of love, for both the vineyard and the style, on his part, and no labor at all to drink and enjoy.

Basically, he gets the Muscat from Ron Bartolucci's vineyard in Lake County (they've been working together for years and years). When the do the press, Bob pulls a certain portion of the juice and "cryos" it---that is, he separates it out into stainless steel and lowers the temp to just a degreee or so above freezing.

He takes the bulk of the must and makes the wine (again, totally stainles steel; no wood on this baby). When it is fermented out dry, he'll warm up the raw juice and fold it into the the wine.

The result is an absolutely delicious Muscat that is about 9% RS and 9% alcohol, but with the fresh, zesty liveliness of Muscat. It's somewhat like the Moscato d'Asti, in that it doesn't have cloying levels of sweetness, isn't oppresively heavy and oily and oversugared in the mouth, and has marvellous fruit and floral and spice aromas.

Bob makes only a few hundred cases a year, and bottles it only in half bottles, so it's damned hard to find (well, not for me :) ), but if you find any, check it out. Again like Moscato d'Asti, it's a perfect summery sipper for after dinner because it avoids the syrupy, honeyed, cloying, heavy, high alcohol dessert wine or fortified wine feel.

And another thing: one of my favorite hot weather desserts is to take a watermelon, scoop out a half, fill it with a fresh chopped fruit cocktail, then pour a couple of bottles of this Muscat over it, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, then serve the watermelon and let everybody scoop out what they want. Very seldom do I have any leftovers.

I've also made slushies (or what some friends call Frozen Muscataritas) by pouring in a few bottles of the Moscat into a margarita machine, letting it slush up, then serving it garnished with a sprig of fresh apple mint.
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed May 03, 2006 5:01 pm

That Bonterra muscat sounds yummy, Hoke. We go through lots of moscato d'asti here in the summer time as it's just so damned refreshing.

I like the muscat slushie idea too. That might have to be our July 4th sipper this year.
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Two Primary Techniques...

by TomHill » Wed May 03, 2006 5:35 pm

for achieving the sweetness in wines:
1. Adding sussreserve (preserved grape juice) back to the fermented dry wine, or
2. Stopping the fermentation before dryness is achieved by chilling it down to knock off the yeasts.
With both, you have to keep the (sweetened) wine cold so's fermentation does not start up again. And you have to sterile filtre and sterile btl to make sure the wine doesn't start to referment in the btl.
Obviously the first technique results in higher alcohol in the wine. As I understand it, both techniques are commonly used in Germany (Austria & elsewhere). Supposedly many vintners have experimented w/ both techniques and have chosen one over the other, but I don't think there is a consensus as to which is the better technique. Least I've not seen any difinitive papers on the comparison.
There are also quite a few K-J'd wines in Calif (adding a bit of sussreserve to bring it just under the threshold of tasting sugar in the wine), a technique that was perfected by Jed Steele at K-J. But it's really bad when you hit a French Chablis or French WhiteBurg that's been K-J'd....makes you gag.
Tom
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Hoke » Wed May 03, 2006 5:38 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:That Bonterra muscat sounds yummy, Hoke. We go through lots of moscato d'asti here in the summer time as it's just so damned refreshing.

I like the muscat slushie idea too. That might have to be our July 4th sipper this year.


Hey, we had to come up with something when we knew we'd have a bunch of people standing around in 100 degree plus sunshine. And boy did it work well...we had lots of people queueing up for seconds (and I suspect a few thirds as well). Just make sure you use a mint sprig. We tried several, and fresh crushed apple mint was hands down the favorite.

For a drier version of a Muscat-ish experience, Bill, check out a bottle of Moschofilero from Greece. It's one of the many clonal varieties in the vast Muscat family. Good summer wine: light, dry, fairly crisp, but with a light aroma of Muscat/Moscato. And since it's Greek and not trendy, it's still affordable!

PS: Forgot to say, if you do the slushie thing, don't mix anything with the Muscat wine...just pour it in and allow enough time for the machine to do its thing. One person thought she had to add water for some reason having to do with forming ice; all this did was water down the wine, which resulted in thinner, more crsytalline, and watered-down tasting slushies which took longer to make. HH
Last edited by Hoke on Wed May 03, 2006 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two Primary Techniques...

by Hoke » Wed May 03, 2006 5:43 pm

TomHill wrote:for achieving the sweetness in wines:
1. Adding sussreserve (preserved grape juice) back to the fermented dry wine, or
2. Stopping the fermentation before dryness is achieved by chilling it down to knock off the yeasts.
With both, you have to keep the (sweetened) wine cold so's fermentation does not start up again. And you have to sterile filtre and sterile btl to make sure the wine doesn't start to referment in the btl.
Obviously the first technique results in higher alcohol in the wine. As I understand it, both techniques are commonly used in Germany (Austria & elsewhere). Supposedly many vintners have experimented w/ both techniques and have chosen one over the other, but I don't think there is a consensus as to which is the better technique. Least I've not seen any difinitive papers on the comparison.
There are also quite a few K-J'd wines in Calif (adding a bit of sussreserve to bring it just under the threshold of tasting sugar in the wine), a technique that was perfected by Jed Steele at K-J. But it's really bad when you hit a French Chablis or French WhiteBurg that's been K-J'd....makes you gag.
Tom


But we should probably point out, Tom and Robin, that K-J, who was given credit for this sweetening up (wrongly, I think, since lots of people were already doing it, they just weren't talking about it or doing it as blatantly; they also didn't have the flagrant court shenanigans to draw attention to it), has in recent years largely walked away from that process and that style, consciously (and obviously) working on drying out their chardonnays over the last few vintages, and focusing on putting better grade fruit in the blend as well, btw, largely as a result of Jackson having so many owned prime vineyard locations to draw from.

I even recall Robin writing up an article on this a year or so ago, and a little grudgingly giving kudos for the wine. :)
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Re: Two Primary Techniques...

by David M. Bueker » Wed May 03, 2006 6:24 pm

FYI, very little if any sussreserve being used in Austria, as there is a near mania to have all wines (except bona fide dessert styles) be dry.

In Germany the sussreserve wines generally have lower alcohol, as the finished wine gets alcoholically "thinned out" just a bit by the sussreserve. And for what it's worth, I have had thousands of German wines from both sussreserve, stopped fermentation and natually stopped fermentation, and I can find no qualitative difference between the techniques. Either a wine is balanced or it is not.
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Re: Two Primary Techniques...

by Jenise » Wed May 03, 2006 6:57 pm

TomHill said:
With both, you have to keep the (sweetened) wine cold so's fermentation does not start up again.


Ah, I'm remembering an old friend talking about hightailing it back to L.A. from Napa Valley every year with a cooler full of Louis Martini's Moscato which was sold only at the winery and had to be kept really cold. This would be why.
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Re: Two Primary Techniques...

by Hoke » Wed May 03, 2006 7:16 pm

Jenise wrote:TomHill said:
With both, you have to keep the (sweetened) wine cold so's fermentation does not start up again.


Ah, I'm remembering an old friend talking about hightailing it back to L.A. from Napa Valley every year with a cooler full of Louis Martini's Moscato which was sold only at the winery and had to be kept really cold. This would be why.


Interesting comment, Jenise. When I was down judging the San Diego Wine Competition a few weeks ago, a bunch of us 'oldtimers' were reminiscing, and someone almost immediately mentioned exactly the same experience with the Martini-----and every single one of us started nodding our heads in fond remembrance of that wine. Truly one of the most fun wines ever.

Of course, that was before we got so sophisticated that some of us we didn't want to admit how much we loved those sweet wines. :D

Another good Muscat is Gary Eberle's down in Paso Robles. Gary doesn't even drink his sweet Muscat (he doesn't like it), but he can't stop making it, partially because there's such a demand for it from loyal drinkers, and partially because it's cheap and quick to make and immediately sells out upon release (I think they call that cash flow). Gary is the one that taught me the frozen watermelon trick with Muscat.
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Re: What is 'sussreserve'?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed May 03, 2006 7:51 pm

Hoke wrote:For a drier version of a Muscat-ish experience, Bill, check out a bottle of Moschofilero from Greece. It's one of the many clonal varieties in the vast Muscat family. Good summer wine: light, dry, fairly crisp, but with a light aroma of Muscat/Moscato. And since it's Greek and not trendy, it's still affordable!

Now you're talkin! What I love most about muscat is the aroma. I don't mind the rs in this type of wine but having one drier would be fun. I think that's why I enjoy moscato-based grappa so much. All the aroma yet it's drier (and gives quite a kick).

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