As the dog days of summer fade away, wine lovers look forward to the sun-ripened flavors of late summer wines. Sun-ripened grapes are commonly picked in the months of August and September, and these grapes are known for making the most flavorful and refreshing late summer wine varietals. Let’s talk about the significance of the summer sun in grape development and how it influences the flavors of the beloved late summer wines.
Environmental Factors of Grape Development for Late Summer Wines
The Role of Sunlight in Late Summer Wine Flavors
Sunlight is the ultimate catalyst for grapevine growth and prosperity. Through the process of photosynthesis, grapevines transform sunlight into sugars, essential for the ripening process. This transformation is crucial in determining the eventual taste and quality of the wine.
The influence of sunlight on grapes extends beyond mere ripening; it intricately shapes the flavor profiles of the wines derived from them. As the sun works its magic on the vines, sugar levels in the grapes rise, leading to higher alcohol content in the resulting wine. Moreover, the sun promotes the development of phenolic compounds in the grape skins, contributing to the vivid colors and complex flavors found in red wines.
The Role of Natural Environment in Late Summer Wine Flavors
Each wine region possesses a unique combination of climate, soil, and altitude (i.e., Terroir) that contributes to the character of the wines produced there. The interaction between sunlight and the terroir imparts a sense of place to the wines, rendering them distinct and evocative of their origin.
The combination of sunlight and environmental factors is instrumental in determining the unique flavor profiles of the grapes, specifically the sweetness and acidity levels that will be present in the wine. The balance of acidity is crucial in crafting well-rounded wines, and late summer varietals strike this balance with finesse, offering a harmonious fusion of sweetness and acidity.
Common Late Summer Wines
August and September indicate the peak of ripeness for many wine varietals, each boasting its unique attributes when the grapes are fully ripened.
This beloved white varietal thrives in the warmth of late summer, showcasing bright acidity and an enticing array of flavors. Sun-ripened Sauvignon Blanc grapes exude vibrant notes of citrus, tropical fruits, and fresh-cut grass, offering a refreshing and invigorating wine perfect for sipping on a summer or autumn afternoon. This wine has the most intense nose of any wine! This is our founder Orson Hall’s favorite white wine.
As the sun shines on the Riesling vines, the grapes develop a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity. The resulting wine bursts with flavors of ripe stone fruits, zesty lemon, and hints of floral aromas. The complexity and versatility of sun-ripened Riesling make it a favorite among wine enthusiasts.
The king of red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, thrives in the late summer months. Sun-ripened Cabernet Sauvignon grapes boast intense dark fruit flavors, such as blackberries and cassis, alongside hints of spice and cedar. The rich and full-bodied wines crafted from these grapes offer a luxurious and velvety experience. This grape is the source for the most popular wine in the world!
As the summer sun works its magic, Merlot grapes evolve into lush and supple berries. The resulting wines exhibit velvety textures and flavors of ripe plum, cherry, and a touch of cocoa. Sun-ripened Merlot offers a beautifully balanced wine that pairs wonderfully with a range of dishes.
The Harvesting Process of Late Summer Grapes
The timing of the grape harvest is a delicate dance between nature and the winemaker's expertise. As the sun-ripened grapes reach their peak, winemakers meticulously assess their ripeness through visual and sensory indicators. The decision to pick the grapes at the optimal moment is pivotal in preserving the desired flavors and characteristics in the wine.
Careful handling of the harvested grapes is equally essential. Gentle processing ensures that the flavors extracted from the grapes are retained throughout the winemaking process, culminating in wines that truly embody the spirit of late summer.
It is our belief that half the flavor of a wine is due to the terroir (the natural environment where the wine is produced); the other half is the expertise of the winemaker.
Wine Tours in August and September
At Wine Tours by Design, we’ve found that North Georgia is a great place to explore the flavors of late summer wines. Though late summer wines can be savored everywhere, we love to visit North Georgia wine regions like Ellijay, Dahlonega, Cleveland and more.
Schedule a late summer private wine tour with us and experience the zesty notes of Sauvignon Blanc to the velvety richness of Cabernet Sauvignon plus other wines that North Georgia has to offer. Cheers to savoring the sun!
Check out our North Georgia wine tour packages to plan your late summer wine tour.