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Where we talk about vineyards and wine, it is correct to speak of oxygen for wine, because oxygen into the wine, should be dosed with intelligence to create important “things”, sustainable and deeper: sometime it must be assumed in small doses, other times abundant and rich.
But first things first. After fermentation, the first stage of its young life, the wine is still murky and rebellious, so there will be a first “travaso”, literally: transfer from one vessel to another, from large fermentation vats to the barrels.
Inside oak barrels the wine begins its maturation that will make it clear, stable and fine, and being alive, the wine continues to breathe and modify, therefore the contact with oxygen must be there, but it should be minimal, because too much oxygen might oxidate all the entire content of the barrel (1800 litres!). Oxidation, a natural phenomenon that deteriorates the flavors and the colors of any wine. Instead, the “micro-oxygenation” that is good and important, takes place in a very delicate way through the pores of the wooden staves of the barrel, and favors the organoleptic and chemical evolution of the wine.
The wine contained in the barrel tends to evaporate a little through the barrel wood staves and the level of the wine goes down: so that the wine will be in contact with a greater amount of air; but the wine makers proceed to reduce the air and the oxygen by “topping up” the wine, that means pouring into the barrel a small amount of the same wine, kept apart and safe from oxygen. This barrels level control is a delicate stage and very interesting to watch ; you’ll see how it performs in Chianti region cellars, in one of our tuscan wine tours from Florence where great wines are created in the small family run wineries
The small wineries are still using ancient methods and tools, such as the green “bubbler”, in italian colmatore, a Leonardo da Vinci, invention, a complicated tool in form, but simple in its functional principle (that of communicating vessels) that lets you know how much wine is necessary to refill the barrel and add it without putting it in direct contact with air. The “topping up” occurs about every two weeks: do not miss the opportunity to assist!
OXYGEN IN THE GLASS
Oxygen in the glass, its abundance, instead becomes a true friend of the wine and those who want to enjoy it in the best way, when you open a fine bottle of wine and its content falls into the balloon, the special glass created precisely to well oxygenate its content.
Will be enough to swing a few times the wine in this glass to make sure that everything in it is touched by the oxygen of the air and gradually awake all the flavors and aromas given by the barrel and bottle aging.
The oxygen in this case is like the kiss of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, just his touch to bring life in her and for us who taste, the joy of a Tuscany wine tasting.