Riesling - Quality requires ripening


Aromas are formed in a similar way to the red pigments of red wines in the grape skins, since they are dependent on photosynthesis, which transforms the sun's energy into energy-rich sugar.

The decisive phase of the formation of aromas starts with the actual ripening process: once a certain amount of sugar has been produced and stored in the grape then it begins to form aromas, tannins and pigments. Precisely at the time when sugar build-up is changing only marginally, and must weight is stagnating, the grapes achieve their full aromatic maturity.

It is just this which makes an involvement with Riesling so exciting, for, like no other type of white wine, it requires a long ripening phase on the vine in order to be able to fully develop its aromas.

The grape cannot itself make this diversity perceptible, for, as personal experience shows,different grape varieties differ less in flavor than the wines made from them. The majority of what are called flavor precursors formed in the grape cannot yet evaporate, and are thus unable to releasc a smell in the nose.

It is not until fermentation that they are released, thereby forming the characteristic aroma of the grape variety. One important aspect of the operations in the cellar is the endeavor to cautiously liberate the dormant aroma-potential in the grapes.

This also explains why wines made from unripe grapes always taste aromatically lean, since there are few flavor precursors formed within them to be released.

Text: From the book "Riesling". By courtesy of HALLWAG-Verlag.

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