CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 89

luted. The concentrated batch will become a dessert wine and the diluted batch will be- come distilled for brandy. The fermentation of the highly concentrated grape juice can take up to six months, de- pending on the temperatures and nutrition levels involved. It is in this long fermentation where the wines develop their final element of strength and complexity. The high sugar concentration gives way to about 14-15% al- cohol at which point the yeast can no longer survive and some sugars are left un-metab- olized lending to the sweetness. The natu- ral end to the fermentations and settling of the lees gives the wine a leanness, a strong flavor profile, and warmth on the finish. We then add a small dose of brandy at the end of the fermentation as a way to balance the sweetness. When these wines have settled and aged in barrel or tank and are bottled, the combination of high sugar, alcohol, acid, and phenolics will lead to a long life and po- tential for maturing into even more beautiful and intriguing wines. Understanding dessert wines goes beyond the wine itself: it is about slowing down, appreciating, and savoring the experience. These wines stem from cultures built on homemade, homegrown foods, family meals that carry on into the late evening hours, meals that focus on appreciating small handfuls of deliciousness and progressing through these portions one at a time, each with a different sip of wine. Eisweins and Auslese in Germany, Vin Santo in Italy, Sau- ternes in France, and other dessert wines around the world share a common thread of being intoxicatingly rich, sweet, and aromat- ic which lend themselves to this concept. No guzzling now, no piling plates high with all you can eat, no rushing through and eat- ing in your car; these experiences will reward patience, appreciation, and gratitude for the tastes, smells, textures, and where they came from and who crafted them into what they are and who we are sharing them with. Dessert wines are not just about sweetness but more importantly about depth, experi- ence, and the ability to embrace one mo- ment at a time. © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.