Vinification is the process that transforms the grapes into wine. The process of vinification differ from region to region, financial state of the winery and the grape types. The harvesting time and the type of oak used for aging are based on the region in which the wine grapes are grown.

Wine making process involves the following stages:

  • The first step in wine making process is Harvesting or Picking. Grapes should be harvested at the right time in order to make good wine. Harvesting can be done either mechanically or by hand.
  • The process of separating the grapes from the stems and cluster parts is called Destemming. Some of the wine makers keep some fragments of the stem to increase the wine tannin.
  • After destemming the grapes are crushed to extract the juice from the skin. This is done before the fermentation process begins. In the olden days bare feet is used to extract the grape juice, now a day machines like crushers are used.
  • Separation of grape juice and the skin is named as pressing. After crushing the grape juice will flow freely, selected wineries use pressers to make sure maximum juice is released.
  • Once the grapes are pressed they are introduced into the process of fermentation. During this process the grape juice are converted into alcoholic beverage. The yeast interacts with the sugar in the grape juice and converts them into ethanol and carbon dioxide.
  • Once the wine is purified and refined, they are preserved with sulfur dioxide or potassium sorbate. During the natural process of fermentation a minimum amount of sulfites are produced, but more is added for the use of commercial preservation.
  • Wines are aged for a particular amount of time to get more welcoming wine. Once after purification, the wines are moved to wooden barrels for aging. Metal vats, concrete vats and glass carboys are also used in some cases to increase the flavor.
  • After aging, the wines are bottled. During the process of bottling a final dose of sulfite is added to the wine to prevent it from uninvited fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are then sealed with cork and screw caps.

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', as the saying goes. Should producers risk changing something that has worked so well for them in the past? See the top wines and our experts' discussion on skin contact and sub-regional expressions.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Is Marlborough still at the front of the pack? Read the Panel Tasting results to find out...

The post Premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – panel tasting results appeared first on Decanter.


'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', as the saying goes. Should producers risk changing something that has worked so well for them in the past? See the top wines and our experts' discussion on skin contact and sub-regional expressions.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Is Marlborough still at the front of the pack? Read the Panel Tasting results to find out...

The post Premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – panel tasting results appeared first on Decanter.

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', as the saying goes. Should producers risk changing something that has worked so well for them in the past? See the top wines and our experts' discussion on skin contact and sub-regional expressions.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Decanter’s experts tasted New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc over £12.99 in the August 2017 issue of Decanter magazine.

The consistent wines of Marlborough still tick all the boxes for fans of this style, says Bob Campbell MW, but the range of other regional expressions is developing too…

The scores:

93 wines tasted

Exceptional – 2
Outstanding – 3
Highly Recommended – 25
Recommended – 38
Commended – 10
Fair – 11
Poor – 0
Faulty – 4

The judges:

Melanie Brown; Bob Campbell MW; Cameron Douglas MS


Click here to view the full results of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Panel Tasting


Marlborough was responsible for 61 of the 93 wines submitted to the tasting, and Mel Brown said that regardless of the numbers, it outshone every other region.

‘It was exciting to see the quality is still there, which is ultimately what a lot of people question: whether Marlborough can retain that strength and reputation.’

Speaking as a merchant, she said it was very hard to highlight regionality to consumers in the UK, where the concept of differing styles was less evident to those used to drinking the Marlborough ‘brand’.

Bob Campbell MW said the strength of the ‘Marlborough mothership’ was uniformity of style. ‘The risk of branching into sub-regional styles in Marlborough is that you move away from that uniformity.’

Cameron Douglas MS said because Marlborough was such a strong category, it was understandable its winemakers wouldn’t want to make radical changes to a winning formula.

‘Some wines we tasted showed you could push the boundaries a little bit, but not too much. Power and pungency have to ring true, but if you’re going to use wild ferments, skin contact, oak and lees stirring, make sure there’s balance.’


Continue reading below


New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Panel Tasting top scorers:


To read Decanter’s full Panel Tasting reports, subscribe to Decanter magazine – available in print and digital.


Sub-regionality

Wines from a single sub-region can achieve a narrower band of flavours and a stronger statement of style. An increasing number of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc are being labelled as sub-regional wines (Awatere Valley, Wairau Valley and Southern Valleys), adding diversity particularly at the upper end of the market.

Oak

The number of wines with an oak influence is now growing. If a small proportion of the blend, say 10%, is barrel fermented and matured, it can add richness without compromising the wine’s intense varietal aroma. Wines with overtly oaky characters, such as Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko, are a small but growing subset.

Labelling

Brown’s big criticism for wines that deviated from the norm was when producers did not indicate on the label if they were barrel fermented or oak aged, which would help adventurous consumers while also avoiding surprises for traditional drinkers.

Branching out

Looking at the other regions, Douglas said Wairarapa and particularly Martinborough ‘showed a strong voice’, while both Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago were under-represented but had some ‘great wines to discover’. Brown felt the Nelson wines lacked vibrancy and those from North Canterbury ‘did not have the acidity and authentic nature I’d hoped for’.

Ageability

Our experts said New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc had the ability to age very well – even though that might not have been expressed in this tasting, with most wines from 2016 and 2015 – and said they would happily cellar wines for between six and 10 years from the vintage.

Edited for Decanter.com by James Button.


This article originally appeared in Decanter magazine’s August 2017 issue.


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The post Premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – panel tasting results appeared first on Decanter.


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