Oxidation can be scary and wonderful. It can be orange or brown, sherry or nutty. It can be a rather fast or a surprisingly slow process, damage or improvement. Until today I basically have no clue why specific (white) wines oxidate in a specific way. So I do several oxidation tests per year to find out more.
This year there are quite a few wines without any sulfur added. So I pulled samples, put them in glasses and started shooting pictures once an hour documenting the development. From left to right it’s three Silvaners, a skin fermented Bacchus, the Heimat Silvaner a skin fermented and two normal Müller-Thurgaus. Have a look what happened within 30 hours.
Let’s look at the obvious one first: the skin fermented Bacchus definitively won the price for the most fragile fellow. It behaves similar to our 13 Heimat Silvaner. And besides the skin contact I can’t find any similarities: very different yield, different soil quality, different vintages, different alcohol levels, equal acidity (a little over 5 after malo). Where is the pattern? After 30h it’s coffee brown, nutty in the nose but it’s still juicy and drinkable, not sherry. At all.
The Silvaners surprised me. The first two from the left were made from good quality grapes, not spectacular but very solid. Acidity is between 6 and 7, no skin contact. And both oxidate rather quickly. Not badly though. The first reminds me on some Mosel Rieslings without SO2 but the acid is lower so it doesn’t work that well. The second just tastes a bit boring after the 30h timeframe. The third from the left is enormously stable which I expected, its’s just a fantastic wine: intense, rich, 6 acid, 12,5% alcohol. I’d still have a second glass of that.
The fourth from the right is the 15 Heimat Silvaner. It’s btw again just going to be about 600 bottles. And it’s the best we’ve harvested so far. Just look how stable it is. All the flavors still there, I’m thrilled.
And then the next surprise: three Müller-Thurgaus. The right one is a little below 5 in acid and rather light, I expected it to vanish quickly. And it’s not changing color at all. The third from the right is skin fermented, acid around 5 so I expected it to behave like the Bacchus but it doesn’t. All of them taste a bit thin but that’s expectable.
Way more questions than answers. The only thing I suspected was the two premium Silvaners to do a good job. But the rest … If you have any suspicions please let me know!