Like Carmakers, Wine Growers Customize to Satisfy Every Taste

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 20, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Like Carmakers, Wine Growers Customize to Satisfy Every Taste

Byline: Mary Ross

Just like cars, wines of the same make come in different models, each with their own specifications and features. One might be built for luxury, another for speed. It doesn't always make one better, just suited to different purposes.

When it comes to line extension, not even Detroit can hold a candle to the vignerons (wine growers) of France, who combine natural resources and savvy marketing to turn farming into sustainable profit.

Take the Beaujolais region. Producers here have adapted one wine type - low-tannin red - into a range of flavors that satisfies many palates, pocketbooks and many, many cuisines. And you don't need a manufacturer's catalog to decipher inscrutable designations like "TT," "XK" and "CRV."

Beaujolais nouveau is new Beaujolais, the first French wine released each year. It's as light as wine can be and still contain alcohol. What nouveau lacks in heft, it makes up in charm - and quick profit to fund more time-intensive winemaking.

The next model, Beaujolais (often called Beaujolais simple) is simply Beaujolais, grown in the flat, southern portion of the region, with wide latitude of regulation and quality. Beaujolais Superieur is slightly superior, with "superior" meaning more alcohol oomph. The third designation, Beaujolais-Villages is grown throughout select villages in the hilly north.

The top of the line is Beaujolais Cru. Cru designates a vineyard recognized by tradition and law as producing distinctive wine of the highest quality and Beaujolais boasts 10 of them. Cognescenti rattle off the characteristics of each: light St. Amour; floral Fleurie; ageable and meaty Moulin-a-Vent.

A key to Beaujolais' success is its permitted grape, the gamay noir a jus blanc. The vine buds, flowers and ripens early; the pale, blue juice vinifies quickly to lip-smacking flavors of fresh berries.

Beaujolais vignerons tease extra vivacity from gamay with a process called carbonic maceration. Whole hand-picked clusters are placed in vats and blanketed with carbon dioxide. With oxygen displaced, anaerobic fermentation commences within each unbroken grape. Harsh malic acid is reduced by half; glycerol and aromatic flavor compounds increase.

Some producers opt for a week of carbonic maceration for tutti- frutti flavors. Others encourage standard fermentation as grapes crush under their own weight, to approach the complexity and structure of lauded Burgundy, at a fraction of the price.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Like Carmakers, Wine Growers Customize to Satisfy Every Taste


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?