A bit more than a year ago now, I posted the start of an experiment on adding body to country wines. To recap:
What’s the best way, among the many weird and wonderful home methods out there, to add a bit of body and fullness to a country wine?
I made three batches of peach wine, all exactly the same save this variable: one with the water from simmered bananas, one with grape concentrate, and one with no addition. I bottled half of this latter batch with glycerine, for a total of four different wines).
Once cleared, the wines were stabilised and back-sweetened very slightly for an off-dry wine (75g of sugar in solution to 5L of wine).
One year on, the wines have not only been made, and aged, they’ve been thoroughly tasted at several gatherings and by a range of both experienced and inexperienced tasters.
The verdict? Use the banana infusion. I’m now considering this my standard addition for all stone fruit wines from peach to mango to plum. It’s not only cheap and easy, it performed significantly better than any other addition or nil addition over a number of variables, leading to improved body, flavour and, surprisingly, aroma.
Tasting notes were remarkably consistent across groups and levels of experience. From least good to best:
- No addition. A thin and acidic wine with hard-to-find aroma. Could have been a drinkable wine with a higher sugar addition, but not a great one.
- Glycerine addition. Very, very similar to the no-addition wine. Only some tasters were able to tell them apart at all.
- Grape concentrate. This was the darkest wine, visually distinguishable from the others. The aroma was higher than no addition or glycerin addition, and the concentrate did add smoothness to the body. However for the considerable expense, not worth it.*
- Banana water. The body in this wine was dead on for a light white grape wine, but the real shocker was how much more aromatic the wine was. Peach aroma was noticeably present (a direct contrast to the no-addition wine and a significant step up from the grape concentrate). The flavour carried through nicely too.
If you’re worried about a banana flavour, don’t be. The most interesting thing about this experiment was the extent to which the banana bumped up all of the aspects of the peach.
The verdict is simple… I’ll be stashing brown bananas in the freezer.
*Cheap grape juice concentrate for regular drinking isn’t available in Australia, so this had to be bought at a winemaking store for $15, enough for three batches. If you’re in the US and don’t want to bother with bananas, for sure use it.