Monday, 16 March 2009

Poor Wine? - Rakia A Safety Net

Red Wine grapesImage via Wikipedia

Rakia making is a safety net for poor wine made. Most grape growers turn out some lovely wine in Bulgaria, in fact better than most commercially bottle wine in my opinion. However on occasions there may be a bad year for grapes as it was in 2007.

There was a drought in the summer of this particular year and to add to this, the preceding winter was mild culminating in not just poor grapes, but a crop shortage that year. Ten of thousands of litres of wine was still made with the quality not as good as in previous years, sugar had to be added to make up for the lack of natural sugar in the grape.

This led to the drinking wine not being as full bodied as it should. This is where the safety net of rakia comes into play. Not only is rakia made from the sediment that was left over from the wine making, but now in this bad season of wine, more rakia is made from the first fermented wine that isn't as palatable as it normally is. The result is double the amount of rakia in this poor wine making season.

I myself didn't make any drinking wine that particular year, it was all rakia. The following year, which was last year turned out to be a great season for grapes and wine making and the equilibrium of wine and rakia production was reinstated.

In a nutshell, there is never a bad season for rakia making as less than perfect wine and other fruits are always going to make alcohol and that is all you need to make rakia. It still retains the flavour of the fruits that are used and can be stored in wood based storage containers to improve the flavour even more. Especially for the poor wine year such as 2007 as there is double the amount of rakia made as there is surplus stock to keep in storage.
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