Wine, once less dangerous than water
“Wine is the healthiest and most hygienic drink ever,” said Louis Pasteur. It was even used as an antiseptic. At a time when non-potable water was the rule, the risk of contamination and dysentery prompted drinking wine, but with very low titration, around 4 to 6 °. Most of the time, it was cut. It was consumed everywhere. A map of the French vineyard in the seventeenth century shows that the largest areas planted with vines were in the Paris region. The increase in alcohol content began in the most prestigious vineyards. It was confirmed by two factors.
For half a century, the average temperature has risen by 2 °. And it shows. An Alsatian winemaker, as we recently asked him on the subject, had merely answered us by showing us an olive tree in the middle of his plots. As a whole, the vineyard continues its northward progression where winemakers are looking for acidity and freshness. Thus, the big investment houses in the United Kingdom. Why? Warming promotes the ripeness of the grapes. However, a higher sugar content in grapes results in an increase in the level of alcohol and a decrease in the level of acidity.
The choice of winemakers
The other factor in increasing the degree of alcohol refers to the methods of vine management and vinification to move towards higher quality and promote the aromatic expression of a well-ripened grape.
An uneducated palate will look for greasy, creamy wines that winemakers make to meet the trends of a market that was once influenced by the “Californian taste” for full-bodied wines. Pour, limit yields and use exogenous yeasts to accelerate fermentation.
Today’s race for degrees is answered today by the search for freshness. Consumers want lighter, easier-to-drink wines that also match new culinary behaviors.
The disaffection for traditional, often heavy, dishes, and the craze for lighter Asian-inspired cuisine make for a different drink.
Aware of this paradigm shift, winemakers are evolving. Early harvests, with the risk of harvesting unripe grapes, planting later or less generous sugar varieties, the race has already begun.