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Richard Gibson – Scorpex Wine Services (28/9/2004)

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Reductive winemaking is a technique that has become widely used in Australia and New Zealand to make white wine. The wines produced by reductive processes are usually fresh and vibrant, with varietal grape character as the primary aroma and flavour. In these wines, secondary characters, such as those caused by oak, malolactic fermentation and extended yeast lees contact, are avoided.The style produced by reductive winemaking is sometimes called the “New World” style. The style usually differs from wines made by so-called traditional techniques. It has been clearly demonstrated, however, that it is possible to make wines of this style using reductive techniques anywhere in the world. Consumers in some markets have shown a preference for the clean, fresh fruit driven characteristics of the reductive style. This preference has been a part of the increase in the popularity in Australian and New Zealand wine around the globe.Reductive winemaking became popular in Australia and New Zealand after student winemakers were influenced by the teaching of Brian Croser at Charles Sturt University in the late 1970s. Croser’s teaching emphasised the expression of grape characters in wine. Since that time, the use of reductive winemaking has become well established for aromatic varieties such as Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. However, it is also valuable when applied to varieties not normally regarded as aromatic, such as Chenin Blanc, Verdelho and Colombard. Distinctive wines made from these varieties using reductive techniques enjoy success in the Australian market place.
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