What are the” ingredients ” that make up the wine?…how is this ancient drink composed? In this note we will describe the many elements that converge within a bottle of wine, product of a single matter, the grape, and its transformations during winemaking.
Water: the vast majority of wine, with a participation of about 85%. It is pure biological water, where all other elements are dissolved. It is pure from both the potable and the bacteriological (as if the Vine was a mini-purifying plant). As a result, Pasteur’s famous phrase “wine is the healthiest and most hygienic drink available to man” was born, considering the serious drinking water problems of his time. Its pH is itself a limiting factor for the growth of micro-organisms.
ranked second (between 10% and 15 %). It is the result of the alcoholic fermentation, where the yeast transformed the sugar of the grape (glucose and fructose) mainly into alcohol. It also serves as a foundation for the main aromatic components, and has a mild sweet taste. It adds “weight” and “heat” to the wine in the mouth.
Glycerol: between 5 and 15 grams per litre. Provides sweetness, body, density and sedocidad. It is a secondary product of alcoholic fermentation. In liqueur wines, especially from grapes with “noble rot”, their concentration increases. Glycerol is the result of the so-called glyceropyruvic fermentation, one of the many phenomena that occur during the complex wine cycle.
Other alcohols: they are numerous, and are found in concentrations up to 1 gram per litre. They are also the result of the fermentation process. Some of them are propanol, methanol, isobutanol, sorbitol, phenylethanol and butadiol, among others. To the right extent, they bring sweetness and softness. They promote the formation of complex esters that participate in the aroma, colour and taste of wine. To delve into this aspect, we recommend the note “how many different alcohols are in the wine?”.
tartaric acid is the main acid present in the wine. It is the acid proper to the grape, it is strong, and it is the one that dominates the pH of the drink. During the aging and aging of the wine, the tartaric (when precipitating) is in part the generator of the so-called “borras”. Potassium bitartrate and calcium tartrate, which are the product of The Binding of the tartaric acid typical of the grape pulp with the potash of the hollejo and with the calcium, are natural compounds, which tend to be assembled with low temperatures and alcohol. Are colorless, but on his way to the bottom of the bottle entrain particles of color that the stained.
Red wines do not contain malic acid (the most widespread in the plant kingdom) and citric acid (characteristic of the group of fruits bearing its name), both from grapes. This happens because malolactic fermentation is carried out during its production, where these acids are transformed by bacteria into lactic acid (much more unctuous, buttery and less aggressive to the palate).
is a by-product of yeasts during fermentation, is very stable (therefore its content is not changed during the life of the wine) as it does not undergo major changes during malolactic fermentation, and is responsible for delivering the typical “vinous taste”, in a kind of acid-to-bitter mixture. Their concentrations may generally range from 0.3 to 1.2 grams per litre.
Acetic acid is another by-product of fermentations (produced by bacteria), which is normally found in quantities ranging from 0.15 to 0.60 grams per litre, varying and depending on the composition of the grape in pH and sugars, and the handling of the fermentation process. A higher proportion than the above can cause the classic taste “avinagrado” and ruin the wine completely.
Salts and minerals: 2 to 4 grams per litre of these substances are found, which primarily enhance other flavours (such as salt in food). Some of them come from the raw material and others are generated later, during the transformation of the grape juice into wine, and are: chlorides, phosphates, lactates, sulfates, malates, sulfites, Silicon, bromine, iodine, fluorine, tartrates, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, zinc, among others.
it is the sugar that remained in fermentation and did not become alcohol. They are only traces, in the average order of 2.5 grams per litre in dry wines.
Phenolic compounds: they are found in approximately 3 grams per litre in red wines, and are responsible for color, astringency, complexity: the soul of red wine. Here are the anthocyanins, flavones, tannins and phenolic acids, with a dominant bitter and astringent taste. These components are the main differentiators between a white wine and a red wine, and to deepen the information, we recommend these three columns:
– What are the famous wine tannins?
– What are wine polyphenols?
– What are wine polyphenols? Part II
Volatile substances: they are those that fundamentally determine the odours and aromas of wine (esters, alcohols, acids, aldehydes). Thousands of different aromatic substances and compounds are currently listed, present in the various wines in different proportions.
Vitamins: Are found in such small amounts that many of the vitamins essential for life, known as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B12 And C.
In addition, in virtually negligible quantities, we can also find proteins, pectins, mucilages and amino acids, without organoleptic influence.