French Colombard : Varietal Focus in wine Production

The fresh floral and citrus flavors with a crisp acidity at a reasonable price are the best Colombard has to offer. (pronounced”Cole-um-bar” or “kahl-um Barrd”). Colombard was among the extensively planted white grapevine in California until it was overtaken in the latter part of the 1980s and the 1990s due to Chardonnay. In terms of wine labeled as a varietal, Colombard is not as well-known in wine shops nowadays as it was in 1960 to 1980.
It was originally grown in the Charente region in Southwest France, Colombard is often utilized as a blend grape for table wines in addition to being a wine base for the distillation process used to make Armagnac (brandy). The United States it produces a abundance of crops that provide a priced wine, referred to by the name of French Colombard as well as the base wine used in distillation, and also to be a wine base for blending with a variety of white wines. Colombard is a great wine to mix along with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Shiraz.
Although it is said to flourish in hot and dry California temperatures, the plant is being grown throughout Mendocino, Russian River Valley and the Suisun Valley.
Picking at the best of ripeness is most important factor in developing the flavors in all grapes used in wine. Colombard is capable of delivering distinctive flavors and aromas of peach melon, tangerine, as well as tropical fruits and citrus. It also has apple mineral and a hint of spice when picked at 23-24 degrees Celsius. When it is at 22 degrees, it can make delicate still wines that have fresh acidity, or a cheap sparkling wine. With these inviting wine description terms, anyone can be enticed by a glass of Colombard with a platter of cheese as well as a delicious salad or platter of shrimp. It is a drink that is affordable, Colombard seems to fit in with any budget.
You might want to consider the possibility of making Colombard White Wine this season, when the grapes and juice are readily available at the greengrocer between the months of September and October. If you want to control the quality of your wine, check the crates of fresh grapes prior to purchasing. Utilize a sugar refractometer to try a few grapes from each crate before they can be bought. Be aware that 22-24 degBrix is a good Refractometer reading. A Colombard that is not ripe enough can produce a neutral wine, or it may show scents and flavors that are reminiscent to Sauvignon Blanc (asparagus, rhubarb gooseberry, boxwood, or ammonia).
The grapes should be crushed as soon as is possible. Treat the skins of the grapes and juice with pectic enzymes for a few hours prior to pressing. Maceration is a term used to describe a time in which the seeds and skins are in contact with the juice. Maceration is a red grape skin method; however, it can also be utilized with white grapes in order to extract esters, which will likely produce more flavorful and complex flavors, as well as more hue. It is important to ensure that the the time that white red grapes come in contact with wine is minimal. The extraction of excessive tannins from the seeds and skins is not recommended in white wines. This must will be exposed air during this period and could result in some oxidation. It is recommended to cool the must during this time of maceration in cold temperatures (41-59 degF / 15 to 15 degC) will aid in keeping the fruit in good condition. If refrigeration isn’t an option, then try to ensure that the must is kept at 60 degrees F (15 degree Celsius). The layer, or “blanket” of carbon dioxide (CO2) can be utilized to prevent burning when the must is stored in a fermenter that has been sealed. Be aware that caution should be taken in the handling of carbon dioxide because it can make you breathless. Ferment at 65 to 70 degF (18-21 degC) with low foaming yeast (see our recipe for some suggestions). When the fermentation has begun properly (an initial reading on the hydrometer is 22 degBrix which progresses to 17 degBrix) The temperature can be gradually lowered to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degree Celsius) to maintain the delicate aroma and taste. Make sure you make use of the acid testing kit to determine your juice’s acidity.
Fresh juice buckets may have a range of acid readings, based on the manufacturer’s specifications. An average acidity reading will be 0.8 (total acidity) (total acidity). It is important to clarify and chill the fermented Colombard for about a week at 32-35 degrees F (0-2 degrees Celsius) to cool make the wine more stable. Col-ombard is generally offered as semi-dry or dry wine, often with the addition of a touch of oak. You could add a bit of oak (toasted or not) to the wine’s fermentation or finished wine to add flavor and complexity. After the wine has been removed several times of the sediment try tasting it to evaluate the flavor to determine if it is necessary to add sugar (and potassium sorbate) to offset the sharp acid taste. You might want to compare the flavors with Sauvignon Blanc. It could be another chilled white to enjoy when you are enjoying your evening meal. Cheers!

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