What about the bitterness?

I have not had any Cava in two weeks now since we were away this weekend in a city with no bubbles except Champagne around. Incredible! So you can imagine how much I’m looking forward to happy Friday Cava tomorrow. But until then I thought I’d share some “Cava knowledge” with you.

I have been wondering were some of the finishing bitterness in some sparkling wines come from. So I wrote to my friend A. the winemaker and asked him.

He told me that it has to do with several things, so this is trying to explain some things that can effect the bitterness.

-Maturity: If you harvest the grapes to early you risk having green tannins (polyphenols) that may be extracted during the winemaking process which can result in bitterness. 

-Winemaking process: If you macerate the must with the skins, stems and pips inside the press, the bitter compounds within the skins, stems and pips might transfer to the must, making the risk higher to get bitterness in the final product. 

 The winemaker also has to be very careful with the pressing pressures and the juice fractions, since the more pressure the more yield which increases the risk for breaking the pips and stems and in doing so releasing bitter compounds to the juice. That is why free run juice is often the safest in this aspect.
 
So this is some of the reasons why you might find bitterness in some sparkling wines.
And with that said, some bitterness can by quite nice if found in the right place, but personally I’m not a big fan of a to apparent bitterness, but that is just me.