A Taste of the Tropics in wine

Tropical fruits are native to tropical regions. Although the exact quantity of the fruit that is indigenous to this region is debated, at most 235 — which is more than double that of non-tropical varieties — are acknowledged as having an importance in the culinary world. Most of them can be used in wine. The same rules for the production of wine are applicable to tropical fruits, as well as a few that we don’t think about.

The majority of us are acquainted with the names of the more well-known tropicals like carambola, banana (star fruit), custard apple Cherimoya, Guava, Jujube Kiwifruit, lychee melons, mangoes as well as papaya, passion fruits, and pineapple, tamarind and many more. In addition, there are 43 subtropical fruit species, a lot of which are found in the tropics. The difference is that tropical fruits cannot be tolerant of frost, whereas subtropical fruit can withstand frost for brief durations.

Certain tropical fruits can be grown far north. However, they are cultivated as annuals, whereas they could be perennial in the regions of the tropics. Examples include watermelons, various varieties of muskmelon, tomatoes, and the majority of types of chili pepper.

Factors to Consider

Making wines using tropical fruit has the same elements as making wine with fruits that are native to temperate regions, as well as several more. The main distinction is that those living in peaceful areas may not be as knowledgeable about the characteristics inherent to tropical fruit as they are of our local favorites. What are the best ways to handle these fruits? We can look at the same elements we use to make any wine made from fruit and look out for distinctive features.

The Natural Sugar Content of the Fruit: If you’re able to extract pure juice from the fruit, you can measure the amount of sugar in it using a hydrometer or refractometer. You can then apply simple math to calculate any dilution you could impose. If the sugar is locked in larger, more dense flesh, you could go to the Internet to search for information on the nutritional content of the fruit. One excellent source for this information is the SELFNutritionData website at http://nutritiondata.self.com/. They do not yet have all the fruits you could look up. However, they’re adding new entries every day. If you are unable to find the information there, try to search for it on Google.

If you are adding concentrated grape juice or raisins/sultanas in the need to boost body weight, you will need to account for the extra amount of sugar (we will go into this further in the future). Calculate based on the weight (sultanas/raisins) or the volume that you have added (concentrate).

Acidity (Titratable Acid) The best way to measure acidity is to determine the titratable acidity (TA) after the must has been prepared by crushing fruit for one hour or more. Measuring within 10 hours after exposure to pectic enzymes is the best way to measure it.

There are a myriad of opinions regarding the proper acidity for various wines. Taste is the best indicator. A wine with a low TA can be bland, flat, and lifeless, whereas excessively high levels will be tart or sour. If the acidity is right, the wine will be fresh and lively. A TA of no less than 0.55 percent contributes to the aseptic qualities of the wine – the natural environment is inhospitable for harmful microorganisms. The approach that is used here is a T of 0.60 percent, which is measured as tartaric in wine, 0.65-0.70 percent in tartaric white wines up to 0.85 percent when it comes to sweet wines that are any color.

The primary acids found in tropical fruits may not be apparent, but most are citric. The rest are mostly malic and a small amount of succinic. Some tropical fruits are included on most tables listing the acids in fruit (see my article “Acidity in Wines,” http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/acid.asp), but with so very many tropical fruits, the odds are most will not be listed.

Acidity (pH) Winemakers will inform it is important to have a pH higher than the TA. The reasons behind this are beyond the subject of the scope of this essay (see the article by Bob Peak on Page 52). I suggest that pH must be assessed. If it’s higher than 4.55, it is vulnerable to microorganisms. If it’s lower than 2.5, the wine will not be palatable. The perception of correctness for the majority of palates lies somewhere between 3.2 to 3.8 and 3.4 as the more popular “sweet spot” to shoot for.

Astringency: Astringency refers to the sensation of zing that we experience in wines that we can’t notice inside the must. Most often, it is caused by tannins. Other phenolics are also involved. The taste buds are the most effective tool to gauge the astringency of your home. Your wine contains it or does not. The trick is to balance it with alcohol, acidity, sugar, body, and acidity. If the wine does not have enough astringency and tannin, you can add some grapes. If the wine has too much, it is fine to use PVPP after fermentation.

Unusual Enzymes: A few tropical fruits have enzymes that aren’t normally found in temperate zone fruits. For instance, the kiwifruit (Chinese gooseberries) is a popular source of actinidin, a proteolytic agent that is useful for tenderizing meat; however, it is an allergen for a small number of (pineapple mango, pineapple, and papaya also have lower quantities of the actinidin). They contain ficin, which is an enzyme that aids in digestion; however, it is also mildly laxative. The lining inside the papaya’s peeling can also be a source of pectinase.

There are numerous different enzymes found in tropical fruit. The only method to determine if a fruit contains one or more of them is to study the specific fruit you wish to use. However, don’t get too caught up in biochemistry. If you’ve recognized that the fruits are edible and have eaten them without a negative reaction, don’t fret. Be conscious.

Fruits with a Repugnant Flavor: A few fruits have a truly horrendous taste. However, for every fruit that is known to humanity, there’s someone who isn’t a fan. Two kinds of fruits tend to rise to the top of the list when discussing repugnancy: the durian as well as the Kei apple.

The first is actually due to the smell of the pulp, which smells like rotting meat. However, as we are aware, the scent can be a major factor in the taste of food, so if you cannot get past the smell, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to eat it. For those who are fans, the durian is considered to be the”king of fruits. For those who are not so enthusiastic, it tastes similar to an onion.

The Kei apple isn’t a problem. It’s just more acidic than other fruits are supposed to be. However, it’s that pH that is what makes the Kei apple an extremely healthy fruit that is high in vitamin C.

A sour odor: The durian Noni, jackfruit, and ginkgo biloba have all earned reputations for having repugnant odors. I made wine with the Jackfruit while my wife was absent. Thankfully, the scent of the fruit didn’t transfer to the wine; however, should you’ve ever tried making homemade garlic wine, you’ll have an idea of how my home smelled when it fermented. Only Jackfruit has a much stronger odor.


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