A Technology Feature Article
It is an inconvenient truth that not all grapes are created equal. Try as we might and no matter how much skill, love and attention are showered on viticulture, sometimes the weather gods just have it in for us, when harvest time comes around. Similarly, many readers will have had the experience of a certain block that consistently just doesn’t ripen as well as other blocks.
Fruit that has been harvested in sub-optimal condition, limits a winemaker’s options.
But Flash-Détente is a technology that provides oenologists with new options for red fruit that is less ripe or has been impacted by disease. It’s not a general panacea for all grapes always, but it can be extremely effective at enhancing the quality that is present and helping to eliminate the faults when options my otherwise be limited.
Used for red wine production, Flash Détente extraction enhances wine colour, removes green, unripe flavour characters, improves wine structure and texture and accelerates production time.
It is an evolution of thermovinification for red wines. De-stemmed grapes are heated to 80-85 ᵒC then immediately pumped into a vacuum chamber where flash vaporisation of water inside the vacuoles of the grapes’ skins, causes them to explode, releasing all the pigments contained within, while avoiding the jammy characteristics of thermovinified wines.
Flash Détente results in the complete release of colour precursors and therefore, replaces the need for traditional maceration. Consequently, flashed wines have on average, 30% more colour and improved structure.
The minimised skin contact resulting from Flash Détente helps to eliminate laccase from botrytis and other unwanted characteristics.
A further benefit of this technology is that the flash vapour carries away undesirable grape volatiles, including vegetal methoxy-pyrazine.
And more, experience shows a lift in sugar concentration of around two Brix after flash-détente.
After Flash-Détente, the must can be pressed and is sterile, ready for inoculation. It can be fermented off-skins as with white wine, conserving tank space. Fermentation is rapid, with no maceration time required.
Flash-Détente isn’t a cure for all ills – but it is certainly an extraordinarily useful tool for preserving inherent quality and helping to eliminate faults when fruit quality is sub-optimal.
For further information, talk to your nearest Vintech Pacific regional office.