Bubbly Wine?


Bubbly Wine
This Riesling was not supposed to be bubbly!

This summer I had a completely new wine experience that I absolutely have to share here. The situation was this:

  • A guest brought a special bottle of Reisling from a favorite winery to share
  • The bottle was opened and poured with an unexpected cloudy, bubbly effect
  • The guests all inquired as to whether or not the wine was ok to drink
  • The delicate bubbles created numerous fine lines, similar to Champagne
  • After taking a few sniffs, and a few more, I decided to brave the drink and took a sip (from a champagne flute, of course)

The result was surprising – it was lovely! Tasted like a somewhat sweet, semi-dry sparkling wine. From there, we continued to wonder whether or not it was fit to drink, so the 2nd bottle was set aside for possible indulgence once my research was complete:

Bubbly Wine Hypotheses:

Here are some potential reasons I discovered for why the still wine was laced with bubbles

1) Dirty glass (residue)
Too many bubbles for that
2) The wine is bad
Tastes too good for that
3) Could have had one too many sips prior to drinking
This was our first pour!
4) Has to do with fermentation (yeast, sugar, Co2)

After doing more research, the most likely reasoning behind the bubbly Riesling mystery was #4 – Fermentation. The wine could have been bottled before it was completely ready – either all of the existing gas was not removed, or there was still some yeast left in the wine, that allowed for further fermentation after bottling – hence the sparkling wine effect (calling it sparkling, since I know this winery was out of California).

The only way to confirm this is to test the 2nd bottle, or to inquire with the winery. Most likely, if there was yeast left behind, it would have affected many, if not all of the bottles produced. The good news is that it tasted excellent and the sip I had did not make me sick (I think I am ready to try some more now that my research is complete).

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