Manuel Ruiz Hernández
The root takes in potassium in a very trouble - free way, being, because of this, quite easy for the pulp to reach a pH level of 3,6 and for the skins to reach pH 4,3 upon ripening.
The stock can be defined as very much a "potassiumphilic" one.
Experimentation has shown that when a stock takes much potassium in the latter salifies the tartaric acid and delays the disappearing process of the malic acid from the grape. For no other reason this particular grape releases a huge part of its tartaric acid highly salified, as well as a considerable level of malic acid, higher than 4 g/l.
As a result of the high pH, the FML can develop quite easily generating, accordingly, a huge amount of lactic acid which, in turn, results in quite pleasant wines.
Bottling this wine with a malic acid content higher than 0,6 g/l can be quite a problematic proposition.
It hardly accumulates any tyrosinase, that being the reason why its anthocyanin content remains relatively stable, even when the grape breaks and comes into contact with the air for hours.
It has a very complex scarcely stratified constitution between tanins and anthocyanins.
It does not show any herbaceous stratum.
The characteristics of the Tempranillo grape, can be confirmed by chewing the skins at harvest time. lf we press a berry with our fingers and we let pulp and seeds fall we are left with the skin, which when masticated with the incisor teeth creates a sensation of:
The anthocyanins accumulates in the deepest stratum of the of the skin (towards the pulp) but they alternate with the tanin, and also in the deepest strata of the skin.
It all means that, even at the end of the fermentation process, there are still unreleased anthocyanins within the skins.
The skin accumulates a lot of potassium.
Because of all the preceding, aging wines require intense and prolonged maceration and lifting processes.
The polymerisation of the tanin and anthocyanin of the skin verges on the "shadow"' red in vineyards growing at altitudes higher than 500 meters above the sea level, and on the yellow in those growing at a very low altitude,
This grape is prone to undergoing the "'balloon" effect. It contracts in times of drought and, above all, it swells up when humidity is abundant. This swelling up effect is detrimental to quality, for it leads to a lack of colour concentration.
The 'balloon effect" is tempered in argillaceous soil since the clay, when humidity prevails, creates a dosage process in the roots. On the other hand, sandy soil tends to foster the "balloon effect".
Likewise, vineyards being less that 12 years of age, having shallow roots, do foster the "balloon effect".
Because of this, great wines require argillaceous hillsides and a vineyard not young.
In the middle of the ripening processl, the accumulation of wax in the skin is moderate.
The yeasts which, as the ripening process reaches its climax, accumulate in a spontaneous manner in the skin, give rise to a spontaneous fermentation process which results in a succession of fermenting species,
It is, therefore, a process free of other types of yeast known as "wild".
Fermentation tends to be highly reducing in nature, which then fosters a long resistance to oxidation.
© Manuel Ruiz Hernández, 2000