Vinify the water from our maple trees! 🍁
Did you say maple wine?
In France or in Europe, according to the legislation, wine must be produced exclusively from grapes.
Here we are in the New World; land of opportunity, where it is allowed to make and market wine from maple sap.
In fact the winemaking technique is the same; it requires yeast, which allows the alcoholic fermentation of a naturally sweetened product (grapes or maple sap, it depends), time, rigor and mastery of the process.
What are the stages of making maple wine? 🍷
In reality, we say maple wine, because this alcoholic product has several names; some call it Acer, others Sével, maple sap wine or maple syrup wine.
So! I have been looking for an identity for this magnificent product for 18 years. Maple wine is not wine and even less maple syrup!
Definition of winemaking
During the application of a vinification technique, the small yeasts deposited in the large vat, feed on the good sugar (maple sap reduced to a third of the concentration of the syrup) which is provided to them; this is what allows them to multiply.
The puffed sugar then turns into alcohol and carbon dioxide. We can say without too much error that alcohol is a kind of waste for yeasts, but a happiness for humans.
Nothing is created, nothing is lost, as the other said...
Once the process begins, it is up to the winemaker to decide what their product will look like at the very end.
The combination between the percentage of alcohol, the residual sugar in the bottle and the acidity of the product are the main elements that will determine the different olfactory and taste aspects of the product as well as its appropriate moment of tasting.
The process to taste our maple wine
In Quebec, maple sap is also called maple sap. In reality, maple syrup producers distinguish water from the sap of maple trees.
The first is the one that is concentrated to make maple syrup, while the second is produced by maple at the end of spring.
It develops harsh and undesirable flavors; it generally indicates the end of sugaring-off time.
For our part, we prefer to talk about maple sap, because it simplifies the conversation with our various interlocutors, especially our cousins in France, Belgium and Europe who are intrigued by our products and ask us a lot of questions.
A duty of clarity on our part is essential, as you will have understood.
This maple sap or sap, depending on your preference, contains about 2 or 3 grams of sugar when harvested.
We know that it takes about 17 grams of sugar to produce one degree of alcohol.
A simple calculation allows us to see that a liter of pure maple water is not sweet enough to put on our pancakes or to transform it into alcohol. So we have to focus it.
When we make our alcoholic products from the fermentation of maple sap, we use the same principle as the production of maple syrup.
It is this stage of the process that gives all its flavor to our famous spring nectar.
Cooking at a very high temperature allows the development of flavors and the concentration of sugar in the maple sap.
For alcoholic products, we stop cooking before the maple syrup, depending on the degree of alcohol targeted for each of our products.
Do the math: to obtain a Sével with 15 degrees of alcohol, you theoretically need 255 gr. of sugar, to which is added the residual sugar that is kept for taste at the end, making a total of 300 grams.
This means that it takes about 20 liters of maple sap to make one liter of Sével at La ferme du loup.
What yeast is used for maple winemaking?
Yeasts are microorganisms that play an important role in the vinification of maple wine. The composition of maple sugar, a bit like honey, makes it difficult to ferment.
These yeasts feed on the sugars present in the maple syrup to produce alcohol and CO2, which transforms the syrup into wine. They are selected for their ability to produce a fine wine that respects the aromatic profile of the maple transformed into wine.
Yeasts can also affect the quality and stability of wine, and therefore their selection is important. We use specific yeasts for the vinification of maple wine to obtain the best results.
It is also important to maintain optimum temperature and conditions during fermentation, to encourage yeast growth and avoid any contamination that could alter the taste and quality of the wine.
The equipment needed to make our wine! 🍷
It is possible to make good maple wines with very little equipment.
At home, we use a stainless steel alcoholic fermentation tank to let the yeast transform the sugars into alcohol. We also need a hydrometer to measure the sugar content and a thermometer to control the temperature.
Since maple sap naturally has a higher PH than wine, it is important to give our wine a touch of crunch in order to balance its unique taste qualities. In particular, we use fruits and flowers from our region in order to properly structure our wine.
In short, with a few tools, you are ready to make your own maple wine and enjoy.
Our history !
This brings me to tell you a bit about us and our products!
At the Ferme du Loup, the vinification of maple sap has always been planned so that the process is as natural as possible.
If I offer you a glass of maple wine and you think of a sweet wine like Caribou, no!
Nor is it a wine that tries to look like Chardonnay 😉 .
You should expect to discover new flavors and I hope you enjoy them.
Maple is transformed during alcoholic fermentation. It loses its characteristic taste which made its reputation. It develops a slightly maderized palate and a bouquet leaning towards green apple.
Finally, with us it is like that!
This truth is confirmed with time; a dry maple wine lasts for years, it slowly improves with time and can even benefit from a slight oxidation provided by the time spent in the cellar.
For many years, I produced this type of wine which I called aceritive. My sister was my only customer and he was on my holiday gift list over and over again.
Quietly, I decided to increase the rate of maple syrup in the product.
If you learned the lesson above, who says sugar says alcohol and taste. This is how the sweet Sével from La ferme du loup was born in 2008.
I have a few bottles left that I keep carefully and that I will possibly drink with my sister, one of these four...
The sweet Sével, as its name suggests, has a sweet finish on the palate that comforts lovers of life's little sweets. But not too much, please!
It retains a certain elegance; it's all about balance.
From the first bottling, the list of end-of-year gifts grew. The wine project has asserted itself, too bad if we can't find a name for this delicious aperitif.
The pleasure of working with maple and transforming it into alcohol.
It is said that the vineyard is where good wine is made.
With us, the work begins in the forest. It is from the harvest of the purest water possible, that we transform with the least intervention, that we produce the best maple wine.
Suddenly, winegrower or maple syrup producer, same fight. Cheers!