Sulphur dioxide (sulfite) is a water-soluble preservative that prevents wine from oxidizing by inhibiting the enzymes that transfer oxygen. Many wine experts see the sulfite in the wine as an alternative for microbiological hygiene and therefore the marketing of sulfur-free wines as critical. Sulfur dioxide was already used in ancient Greece for the production of wines.
Winegrowers take advantage of the fact that the gas already has such an effect in such small quantities that the substance cannot be tasted. For this reason and because sulfur in higher concentrations would react with the aromatic substances in the wine and thus drastically change its taste, EU-wide maximum amounts of sulfur in wine have been set, which are 160 to 260 mg/l for dry wines and 160 to 260 mg/l for sweet wines 300 to 350 mg/l for wines and 400 mg/l for sweet wines. The effect of sulfur wears off over time, which is why adding sulfur before bottling, after the mash stage and after fermentation is common. The application happens with a tablet, in liquid form or in gaseous state.
The standing time is the measured time that a wine has to ferment as a mash after pressing in order to achieve its best quality. During mash fermentation, the chemical processes give the wine its colourings, tanning agents (especially tannins) and aromatic substances. As a rule of thumb, the longer the mash is allowed to ferment, the more colorful and full-bodied a wine becomes. The standing time is two to three days for white wines and one week to four weeks for red wines.
Spontaneous fermentation is a natural microbiological process that occurs when the grapes are crushed and the juice fermented. Because even in the wine cellar and in the vineyards there are natural yeasts that support the fermentation process. Until the 1970s, winemakers knew no other fermentation than natural fermentation. Only the technical progress with the tailor-made acquirable breeding yeasts made a more controlled fermentation tailored to the effects of the fermentation possible.
Critics of controlled or guided fermentation point out that artificial fermentation makes the wines more uniform. By resorting to spontaneous fermentation, the winters aim to make the wine more powerful, complex and terroir dependent. The supporters of controlled fermentation, on the other hand, swear by better control and better risk minimization during fermentation. Ultimately, the question of the fermentation method is a question of philosophy and the willingness to take risks of the winemaker.
Various techniques have been developed for fining over time. Today, these are preferred: With the turbid substances, the winegrower takes advantage of the fact that they usually have a certain attraction. Often the positively charged and negatively charged particles are extracted from the wine in separate steps. In order to remove the cloudy substances from the wine, either ice snow in the form of whipped egg whites is used or additives such as margarine, milk and casein are used. These are distributed in the wine and absorb the charged particles like a sponge.
Other fining agents are gelatine, silica sol, agar-agar (a gelatinous multiple sugar) and bentonite (rock powder). Like gelatine, charcoal is used against the sulfur smell of wines in order to neutralize the side effect of this preservative. For other odor defects, copper sulfate and copper citrate are used.Basically, any fining is an intervention that can reduce the aroma of the wine, change its taste and lighten its color in red wines. In this respect, a wine that does not require fining is ideal.
Superiore is an Italian quality designation for a DOC or DOCG wine. With it, the wines are evaluated depending on certain qualities. The most important criterion for the seal of quality is the must weight of a wine, from which, among other things, the later alcohol content of the wine can be derived. Other criteria are made with regard to low acidity and aging time.
Sur Lie is the French technical term for lees storage. The Romans were already familiar with this finishing technique. After fermentation, the wine is stored for a long time on the residues of yeast that formed during fermentation. This gives the wine additional aromas and flavors. In addition to the yeast tone, which is reminiscent of fresh pasta in terms of taste, the wine gains a lively, fruity and creamy taste through clarification. The storage on the lees also creates carbonic acid to emphasize the freshness, and the malolactic fermentation is supported because the bacteria that trigger it are numerous in the yeast.