Data sheets – Understanding our technical notes

Over the years we’ve been asked to provide “information” about our wines.  To answer the many queries we created our data sheet. The data sheet tells the story of the wine; it is a mini biography that explains the product’s attributes.

Brix:  is a measurement of the percentage of sugar in the grape juice at harvest. It is the sugar levels in grapes that ultimately determines how much alcohol a wine will have. Brix levels are measured in the  vineyard, using a refractometer right before the harvest to determine whether the grapes are ready to  pick.  Each gram of sugar that ferments converts to about 1/2 gram of alcohol. However, different winemaking techniques will also affect the final alcohol content.

pH:  is the measure of the degree of relative acidity versus the relative alkalinity of any liquid, on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Winemakers use pH as a way to measure ripeness in relation to acidity. The pH level describes how intense the acids taste. The relationship is inverse so the lower the pH number, the more intense the acids present in the wine will taste.

Method/Barrel Treatment: reveals the methodology used to process the grapes and age the wines, including whether the wines were aged in oak and for how long.  We tell you the type of oak and how new the barrels were.

Residual Sugar: is the measure of the sweetness of the wine referring to the sugar remaining after fermentation stops.  It is  measured in grams of sugar per litre of wine (g/L).

Alcohol:  is the percentage of alcohol in wine. Our wines usually fall in the range of 11.5 -12.5 % range.

Sweetness Descriptor: describes how dry or sweet a wine tastes.  The LCBO provides a chart to allow for comparison.

Tasting Notes: are a written description including the aroma, tastes and other characteristics of a wine. Wine tasting is subjective because taste and smell are bound to an individual’s experiences and reference points. Often our notes are written by the wine maker or by a wine reviewer.

Suggested Pairing: are food choices that will complement the flavors found in the wine. It’s about taking some of the guesswork out of matching food and wine until you’re comfortable enough to rely on your own experience.

Most experts agree that technical data doesn’t define the quality of a wine, but it can help you understand a particular wine, especially when comparing different vintages.

References:

How to read wine tasting notes, Decanter Staff

New Sweetness Descriptors, LCBO Trade Resources Online
The Power of Understanding Wine Tech Sheets, Wine Folly, May 27, 2015