Unripe, Ripe and Over-ripe
Anyone who has set their teeth into an unripe or overripe banana or mangoe, or even a winegrape, will agree that ripeness is an important concept and that the flavour of fruit, together with many other components important for winemaking, changes drastically as ripening progresses. Unfortunately all the components, ie. acid, sugar, phenolics and flavour, do not always reach optimal levels in synchrony, a synchrony where the timing of individual elements may vary with each unique batch! Furthermore, as explained in the glycoside section, it is difficult, if not impossible to evaluate what the flavour quality of the resultant wine will be like until your sample has been transformed into wine. Other aspects which influence our ability to judge the “best” picking date include weather conditions and the need for grapegrowers to go on holiday as planned!
What is “optimum” ripeness? Is riper better? Most winemakers must agree that somewhere in the middle is best. Since the beginning of the 1990’s alcohol levels in general have been on the rise. Look at the alchol levels of Penfold’s Grange or Henschke’s Mt. Edelstone over time, I’m sure you will notice a general increase. Alcohol levels are a good indicator of ripeness as the sugar level (ethanol precursor) usually increases as ripeness progresses. Riper grapes means bigger and softer wines, a trait that Australian wines are increasingly becoming famous for. However, with increasing ripeness there may be a loss of varietal characteristics and more importantly, big, fat and alcoholic wines don’t always match food as well as wine made with more moderately ripened grapes. That is part of the reason why we at arakoon like to prepare blends of different wine styles. While offering big, fat & gutsy wines such as 2000 Sellicks Beach and doyen, we also want to offer more food-friendly wines such as the Lighthouse, and Clarendon Shiraz. Of course, I’m sure one can find dishes that will be well complemented by big wines too! Sometimes it’s nice to have a selection of wine styles to choose between if one doesn’t want the wine to dictate what food to make, rather than the opposite.
Please fill in our contact form or give us a call, we would love to hear from you or help with any questions or queries.
South Australia (Winery open by appointment only)
Unit 7, 229 Main Road,
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Phone: 0434 338 180