A “Fruit Wine” is generally any wine that is fermented from a fruit other than grapes. None of the fruit character comes from the addition of fruit flavors but is the natural product of fruit fermentation. There are many different types of fruit wines, but the some of the most popular include: Red Raspberry, Blackberry, Cherry, Cranberry and Blueberry. These wines are big and intense in their fruit character as it typically takes over ten pounds of fruit to produce one gallon of premium fruit wine. Fermentation techniques vary with the specific winemaker, but often the fermentation is under cold conditions to maximize the retention of fruit character. Well-made fruit wines are a delicate balance between the fruit’s natural acidity and residual sugar. If the finished wine is made too sweet, it tends to be cloying on the palette. If it is too dry, it tends to be sharp and astringent. Striking the proper balance is the objective in a carefully crafted fruit wine.
Well-made fruit wines come from the finest growing regions for that particular fruit. These include: Willamette Red Raspberries and Marion Blackberries from the Pacific Northwest, Montmorency Cherries from Michigan, Blueberries from New Jersey and Maine and Cranberries from New England. As in grape wine, optimal fruit quality translates into spectacular fruit wines.
“Fruit Wines” have a multitude of uses. They are often consumed slightly- chilled (55 degrees F) with a dessert course. For example, Blackberry and Red Raspberry wines are a great accompaniment with dense chocolate desserts as the wine cleanses the palette of the sweet chocolate. Blueberry and Cherry has a similar effect with Cheesecake. Fruit wines are also used in the sauté’ pan to make pan reductions. Veal with a Red Raspberry Wine Cream Sauce, Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Wine Reduction and Filet Mignon with a Blackberry Reduction are good examples. Fruit wines may as be used in various baking recipes. Further, they may be used in a number mixed of drink concoctions like a Cranberry Wine Cosmopolitan. Finally, a chilled splash of a Fruit Wine in a glass of sparkling wine makes a wonderful kir before a meal.