This space was created for you to ask about all that you ever wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask or had no chance to do that. It doesn’t matter if it’s too simple or not technical enough. If you are curious about some aspects, we will try to clear it up for you. The aim is to learn about the wine world and enjoy it more and more everyday without being afraid of not knowing enough.
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These are just some of the possible doubts you might have, but now it’s your turn! Go on and ask about everything that you never dared to!
-¿What is the definition of a crianza, reserva, gran reserva and reserva especial and who decides it? Jorge Elian. June 14th, 2010
The classification of wines into crianza, reserva and gran reserva categories is something very typical of Spain. The first denomination to use these categories was Rioja and as a result other areas of Spain have copied this model, although some denominations have less demanding time periods for the different categories. Rioja has the following requirements:
Crianza: Is a wine that has aged for over 2 years, where at least 12 months have been in barrel.
Reserva: Is a wine aged in barrel and bottle for over 3 years, where at least one of them has been in barrel. Gran Reserva: Is a wine that has aged for over 2 years in barrel and over 3 years in bottle. Reserva Especial…: These types of names are commercial; they do not correspond to any category and therefore are not regulated by anybody.
The Regulation Council is who controls the previously mentioned time periods. Once these time periods are met, wineries may decide or not to indicate these categories on their wine.
-What are the equivalent definitions of the aforementioned (crianza, reserva, etc.) in other countries? Jorge Elian. June 14th, 2010
Other countries do not have equivalent classifications, except for Italy in some cases.
-Why are some wines aged in bottle (such as some of the French wines) and others are not? Jorge Elian. June 14th, 2010
There are wines capable of ageing in bottle and others that are not. This mainly depends on if the wine has been made focusing on ageing or its consumption as a young wine. A wine that ages well is mainly due to its higher acidity level and its greater amount of tannins; in addition, they are usually wines that have aged for some period of time in barrel.
-Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for the courage taken in carrying out this initiative. It is great to be able to discover so many interesting things with such ease and in such an enjoying way. Let’s see, I have a vineyard that I started to grow last year and I am following the trellis system. Some of the vines have already exceeded two meters in height in their first year (protection is used). This year, during winter pruning, they have all been pruned and two buds have been left… They have reached a significant height again and I would like to know if I should carry out green pruning and any other actions to be followed. Your answer would be of great help to me. Thanks in advance, my best regards. José María. June 13th, 2010
Surely, other buds have appeared in addition to those you left on the spur. Therefore, green pruning should be carried out, eliminating the green shoots that are not suitable and tying the straightest green shoot to the stake and/or wire support. This green shoot will be useful in the future in order to form the trunk and arm/s. In addition to this green shoot, leaving one or two extra as a reserve is recommended in case the main green shoot breaks (wind, machinery, etc.) As it seems, you have considerably vigorous vines, and presuming that your aim is to carry out a double cordón royat, you should tip the green shoot chosen as the future trunk, above the wire support, in order to force the budding of shoots and therefore be able to form arms from these.
I hope we have been able to help you. If we can provide you with further information, please let us know.
-Hello, I have just bought some Cabernet Sauvignon vines; they are still small-sized. I would like to know how to form them, what should I cut, when, and how should I guide them during growing? How do I get two spurs? Now, they are just a trunk with some vegetation. I hope you can help me. Thank you. Alejandro Pacheco. June 7th, 2010
-You should grow the vine until it withers and it gets rid of the autumn leaves. Until then, what you should do is take good care of it, protect it from fungal diseases, water it and, if necessary, fertilise it moderately. In winter, when the green shoots become vine shoots you can write us again and we will show you how to prune it.
How come 2 wines canbe totally different, even a rose and a red one, if they were elaborated 100% from the same grape variety?
One of the reasons for that is that the colour of the wine depends on the grape skin; depending on how long the skins stay in contact with the must we could control the colour that the wine acquires. Other important aspects are the origin of the grape, the fermentation temperature etc.
Is it possible to make white wine from red grapes?
Basically for the reason we explained in the previous question. The grape pulp is colourless, so if we use soft-pressing and the must is not in contact with the grape skins, we obtain a white must. What really gives the colour is the grape skin.
Why do we always talk about French or American oak barrels? What makes the difference?
These are two different kinds of oak and therefore the wood is very different with different qualities and wine aromas. The barrels are also different. The staves (individual strips of wood which form the barrel) in American oak, are sawn from the trunk, rather than split, while in the French oak the staves are jointed and temporarily hooped at one end to form an open cone shape. It’s because French oak has more porosity and if it was sawn, the wine would leak.
What does Crianza mean?
Crianza is the wine barrel aging process. Some Denominations of Origin set this term as a wine category, for example in the case of Rioja, crianza is a 2 year old wine that stays at least one in the barrel.
What is Syrah?
Syrah is a red grape variety cultivated mostly in the Rhone Valley. Its origins are not well known, some set it in the Near East, due to it’s similarity to the word Syria.