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Winemaking Terms - Thin to Volatile Acidity

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thin:

 

A wine lacking body. A wine with a viscosity approximately the same as water.

 

Titratable Acidity:

 

Also called TA and sometimes total acidity, titratable acidity is the sum of the fixed and volatile acids present in a wine. This is determined by a chemical process called titration. The titratable acidity is usually expressed in terms of tartaric acid, even though the other acids are also measured. Titratable acidity is expressed either as a percentage or as grams per liter. For example, 0.7% TA is the same as 7 grams per liter (or 7 g/l) TA.

 

Top Up:

 

To add liquid (finished wine of the same type, grape juice, sweetened water, or plain water) to a wine after racking it to replace any volume lost in the sediments left behind. One can also top up by adding sanitized marbles or glass pebbles to the carboy, thereby displacing the lost volume.

 

Turbinado Sugar:

 

A raw sugar which has been partially processed, removing some of the surface molasses. It is a blond color with a mild brown sugar flavor that enhances some wine bases as no other sugar can.

 

Ullage:

 

The air space between the surface of the wine and the bottom of the bung, cork or other closure. In a cask or barrel, it is the volume of wine missing, which if present would result in a full container of wine.

 

Unctuous:

 

The thick, unpleasant, almost syrupy texture of an overly sweet wine.

 

Varietal:

 

Technically, any wine made from a single variety of grape (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel) or non-grape base (e.g.Santa Rosa Plum, Navajo Blackberry).

 

Vinegar:

 

"Sour wine," caused by vinegar-producing bacteria, most notably acetobacter. These bacteria are principally airborne, but are also carried by the so-called vinegar fly.

 

Volatile Acid:

 

Those acids created during fermentation or reduction processes (aging) which are not stable; they can be altered through further reduction or by evaporating from the wine altogether. Acetic acid and Butyric acid are the two most notable volatile acids in wine and contribute wholly or largely to the wine's volatile acidity and partially to its bouquet.

 

Volatile Acidity:

 

Also know as VA, volatile acidity is the that acidity produced by volatile acids as opposed to fixed acids. Fixed acids are those occurring naturally in the grape or fruit base, those added by the vintner, and those acids created furing fermentation which are stable -- fixed. Volatile acids are those created during fermentation or reduction processes (aging) which are not stable; they can be altered through further reduction or by evaporating from the wine altogether. Acetic acid and Butyric acid are the two most notable volatile acids in wine. VA contributes to a wine's bouquet, which is transitory, but if too intense will spoil it.

 


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Source: Jack Keller

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