Destemming separates the grapes from their stems as the latter would add an unpleasant grassy taste to the wine.
Vins de Liqueur
The principle :
Vins de liqueur are fortified wines made from unfermented or partially fermented grape must and/or wine, to which brandy distillate or a distillate of grape alcohol is added either alone or in a blend.
The main fortified wines in France are :
- Pineau des Charentes, made from grape must and Cognac ;
- Floc de Gascogne, made from grape must and Armagnac.
Crushing is mainly reserved for red wines, in order to release the colouring agents from the grape skins.
Mutage, or fortification, consists in adding brandy or grape alcohol. The objective is to stop the must from fermenting by inhibiting the activity of yeast and bacteria. Fortified wines are therefore naturally stable. Vins de Liqueur generally have high sugar and alcohol content.
Variable from one appellation to the next and stretching from a few months to a few years. This phase takes place in contact with wood to give colour and a rich aroma to the Vin de Liqueur, which will be between 16 and 22% ABV, generally 17 to 18% ABV.