When going on a wine tour, one of the critical things that you will be told is that if you want to buy great wine, you have to listen to your taste buds, and not just look at the labels. One of the ways people use to know wine is by assessing the fruit’s character. If you find that the fruit notes in your red wine taste jammy, then it is most likely from a warm climate. If on the other hand, you notice that it tastes delicate, then it might be from a colder climate. The environment that the wine hails from affects the quality of the wine. So, what does it mean when on wine tours and are told that the vine has had a warm or cold year? Find that out below.
Weather Vs Climate.
Climate refers to the general conditions of a place over a long period, while weather refers to the temporary conditions in an area. For example, you might find that a place has a cool climate generally, but has days or weeks of hot weather. Wine grapes usually grow best in an environment that is not arid or too tropical.
How Climate Influences Wine.
In cooler weather and climates, grapes usually have a hard time ripening and do not ripen as quickly as those in warmer climates. They, therefore, have lower natural sugars and higher acidity, which gives them a tart taste. Tart flavours include raspberry, green apple and cranberry, to name a few. Many people love this taste and find it refreshing, but others will find it sour. Since these grapes also have lower sugar levels as a result of the cool climate, the wines are drier, with lower alcohol and lighter body. For anyone that loves their wine light, dry and crisp, then wines from cool climates are the way to go. Examples of cool climate wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, to name a few.
The grape growers in colder climates, however, face a lot of challenges since the vines yield lower results and winter can even kill the vines. Frost events can also destroy them. Prolonged rain can also affect the grapes in these areas since the wet conditions water down the grape juice, making it diluted.
Grapes that are grown in warmer climate and weather tend to ripen more quickly. They also have lower acidity, and sugar levels are higher, and their colour darker. The high levels of sugar increase the alcohol content making the wine more full-bodied. The darker fruit flavours that are in these wines include blueberries, blackberries, plums and they even have chocolate notes. It is crucial to note that high sugar levels in the grapes do not mean that the wines need to be sweet. You can ferment the grapes into dry wines, but it will have higher alcohol levels. If you prefer wines that are fuller, soft and are fruity, then wines that hail from warmer climates and vintages are the way to go for you. Examples of warm climate wines include Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The growers in warm climates also have problems such as retaining the acidity in the grapes. The acidity dips as the sugar accumulates, and preserving the acidity is crucial to ensure that the wine keeps tasting fresh and not flabby. The vines in warmer climates also tend to have thicker skins which give them more tannin, which may require the wine to have many years of ageing.
When it comes to choosing wine, you will be informed during various wine tours that no climate is superior to the other. It all depends on the taste of the person; whether they prefer a delicate over a powerful one, or tart versus ripe. Both are different but are perfect, according to the occasion.