The discussion concerning who is allowed to chaptalise and who instead must use concentrated grape must to enrich their wine has been going on in France all year. Two ways to do enrichment. To chaptalize means adding regular sugar to the must. But whether adding sugar or concentrated grape must, the result is the same. It raises the sugar level and hence the alcohol content of the wine.
Traditionally wine growers in northern France have chaptalized and growers in southern France have enriched with concentrated grape must. But because the authorities have now removed subsidies for concentrated grape must there are many more who wants to chaptalise. As it is much cheaper to buy sugar. Producers in some parts of southern France received permission to chaptalise this year and others did not. Which has made a lot of people upset.
An expert group has now been appointed to study the matter before the harvest in 2014.
We had hoped that this fuss would have made producers abandon enrichment all together. There is a demand for wines with lower alcohol content. So why not let nature decide the alcohol level?
Read more on vitisphere.com.