Wine is an alcoholic beverage. And that's just as well. Because the alcohol has positive effects, without which a wine would not taste the way it does. We explain to you what it's all about.
How does the alcohol get into the wine?
Before we turn to the question of what effects alcohol has on wine, we must of course first clarify how it gets there in the first place. Ethanol, i.e. potable alcohol, is produced during fermentation and is produced by yeast. Because they feed on the sugar contained in the grapes and metabolize it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process stops when either all the sugar has been converted or when the alcohol level exceeds a level where the yeasts are no longer viable. While red wine is usually 13-15% vol. contains alcohol, the proportion of white wine is somewhat lower at 11-13%. Expressed in absolute numbers, this corresponds to about 70-105 grams of ethanol per liter.
And what is the alcohol doing in the wine?
The alcohol fulfills various functions in the wine. On the one hand, it is an important aroma and flavor carrier. Because most of the aromatic substances in wine are not soluble in water, but they are in alcohol. If the wine did not contain any alcohol, it would taste much flatter and have fewer flavors for our palate.
The wine also has an influence on the sensory perception of the acid contained in the wine by having a reducing effect. So if a wine has a low alcohol content but a high acid content, you will taste it more strongly than with a higher alcohol content.
In addition, the alcohol, in interaction with other wine components such as acids, tannins and residual sugar, also determines the structure and body of the wine. A harmonious interplay of the elements is particularly important. If the alcohol stands out too much, it is perceived as unpleasantly burnt.
And the alcohol can also have a positive effect on the storage potential, although this always has to be assessed in combination with other factors.
How does the alcohol in the wine taste?
Interestingly, we do not perceive the wine in alcohol through the sense of taste, but through the sense of touch. The mouthfeel, which can range from warm to burning, is known in the art as chemesthesis and can be similar to what you experience after eating something spicy.