Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The taste of Cahors wine : Flavors

taste of cahors wineTo celebrate the week of flavor in France, we begin a new series of topics about the taste of Cahors wine by introducing basic flavors.

Taste is very cultural, it is highly dependent on dietary habits and tends more and more towards uniformity. For this reason, the week of savor, which is celebrating its 20th year, has among its aims to educate the taste, its diversity, its fun and above all to encourage behavior balanced and sustainable food consumption.

Strictly speaking, taste is the result of stimulation of receptors in the mouth, by molecules brought into contact with them.

On the palate, the Cahors wine taster perceives three basic flavors that are "acidity", "sweetness" and "bitterness".
Each flavor is brought by different components of the wine :
The acid taste comes from tartaric acid (found in green grapes), malic acid (found in such as green apples), citric acid (found in lemon), lactic (in milk) and sometimes acetic acid (in vinegar) but in this case, in large quantity, it is a flaw.
The sweet flavor comes from the many alcohols whose primary is ethanol, or from unfermented residual sugars such as fructose (fruit sugar) or glucose (found in most plants)
Finally, the bitter taste comes from the polyphenols and tannins.

These tastes are superimposed without vanishing: sweetness diminishes bitterness (sugar in coffee or tea ,...) and acidity (sugar into lemon juice ,...) . These reactions are the basis of the concept of balance, and for Cahors wines or red wines in general, it can be defined simply by:

Sweetness = acidity + bitterness

An interesting experiment to illustrate the balance between these opposed flavors is to separate a balanced red wine by distillation into alcohol and volatile flavors on one side and concentrated wine containing acid and tannin on the other. Then fill these solutions to the original volume with pure water and taste. The alcohol solution will taste hot and sweet while the other one will have such acidity and bitterness that will make it almost undrinkable.
That's why non-alcoholic wines are so difficult to achieve without adding sweet substances.

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