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Winemaking Methods – Wine Folly Wine Club 008


Three things affect the taste of wine:

1. Grape variety

2. Winemaking method

3. Region

So, to better understand what we love to taste in wine, this month’s Wine Folly wine club is dedicated to winemaking methods.

Join Now: Space is still available! Join the wine club here.

Want to drink better wine? Take better notes!

The wine journal's interior is custom designed to help develop your palate and log wine tasting notes.

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Wine Club 008 Winemaking technique image
Explore 4 different winemaking methods and how they affect taste and flavor in famous wines.

Wine Club 008: Winemaking Methods

We’ve talked before about how winemaking techniques greatly affect flavor and now it’s time to taste the difference! For this month’s club we selected 4 incredibly delicious wines that highlight winemaking practices around the world.

  • Méthode Ancestrale: The oldest sparkling winemaking technique
  • Appassimento: An Italian specialty to embolden red wines
  • Malolactic Fermentation: The secret behind Chardonnay’s buttery taste
  • Carbonic Maceration: A French method to making more fruit-forward reds

Méthode Ancestrale: The oldest sparkling wine method

2020 Paltrinieri “Radice” Lambrusco di Sorbara

This is Lambrusco di Sorbara, the lightest of the Lambrusco family. However, unlike many Lambrusco wines, the folks at Cantina Paltrinieri have adopted a very old sparkling wine method referred to as the Ancient Method (or Metodo Ancestrale in Italian).

The trick is to bottle the wines before they’ve fermented bone dry. Inside the bottle, the yeast continues to eat grape sugars and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Without anywhere for this extra air to go, it carbonates the wine. This is how sparkling wine was invented during the 1500s.

About Cantina Paltrinieri

The Paltrinieri estate sits right outside of Sorbara, which is the origin place of the rare-and-delicious Lambrusco di Sorbara grapes. It’s a 4th generation estate, that’s farmed organically with all indigenous yeasts.

Follow along in the tasting video with Vanessa Conlin on YouTube.


Appassimento: An Italian technique for making bold red wines

2018 Zenato “Ripassa” Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore

This is Ripasso Valpolicella. It’s a second wine to Amarone della Valpolicella which is one of the most coveted red wines of Italy. Ripasso translates to “re-pass” and enlists the leftover grape musts from appassimento winemaking to produce a rich red wine.

What is appassimento?

It’s a process of partially drying grapes before fermenting them. As the grapes lose their water content, it increases their sweetness, fruitiness and acidity. This method is practiced in cool climate regions where red wines might otherwise be lean and acidic.

In Valpolicella, appassimento is used exclusively for Amarone and Recioto wines. However, if you blend the leftover appassimento musts with fresh grapes as they ferment, it increases their richness too!

Follow along in the tasting video with Vanessa Conlin on YouTube.


Carbonic Maceration: French method for fruit-forward red wines

2019 Wilson Foreigner Valdiguie Rancho Chimiles Napa Valley

In the 1300s, Gamay was banned from Burgundy. Why? It was thought to be too bitter, but that didn’t stop the region next door (Beaujolais) from innovating with this incredible grape.

The secret to Beaujolais’ success was Carbonic Maceration, a process where grape bunches pile into a closed-top fermenter and sit. The grapes start to ferment inside the berries first and this reduces the amount of skin-contact and thus, bitterness.

We’ve sourced an incredible example of carbonic macerated wine from Napa made from an extremely rare grape called Valdiguié (originally from Languedoc-Roussillon). This is another unique variety that does extremely well with carbonic maceration.

Follow along in the tasting video with Vanessa Conlin on YouTube.


Malolactic Fermentation: The source of creaminess in wine

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Chardonnay Sorelle Carneros Napa Valley

The source of the buttery flavor in Chardonnay isn’t from the grape at all, it comes from Malolactic Fermentation. This process happens after the wine has finished fermenting and is resting in tank or barrel.

A microbe is involved, called Oenococcus Oeni, who metabolizes sharp-tasting acids and releases soft, smooth-tasting acids along with an aroma compound called Diacetyl.

What does diacetyl smell like? You guess it: butter!

Baldacci makes a classic Napa Valley Chardonnay, with rich, creamy, brioche notes–all imparted by our little friends: The Oenococcuses.

Follow along in the tasting video with Vanessa Conlin on YouTube.


Join Us

The Wine Folly Wine Club is bi-monthly (once every 2 months), featuring four expertly curated wines to expand your mind and sense of taste. Learn more about the Wine Folly Wine Club.

Want to drink better wine? Take better notes!

The wine journal's interior is custom designed to help develop your palate and log wine tasting notes.

Buy Now

AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly