The sweet, fortified dessert wine has a very old history, the origin is in the French area Roussillon in the eastern Pyrenees. The invention goes to the famous physician and scholar Arnaldus de Villanova (1240-1311), who experimented with brandy and wine production around 1285 at the Knights Templar Winery. He found that by adding alcohol to the fermentation stopped and residual sugar obtained in the wine (see under Spriten ). That was the birth of the VDN and this wine was already very popular in the Middle Ages. When the Kingdom of Mallorca (now Roussillon) came to France in 1659, the Sun King served Louis XIV. (1638-1715) this wine to his guests in Versailles. The philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) and the later US President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) raved about him.
The designation and production methods of the VDN were first legally protected in 1872. In 1936, these wines got the AOC classification, the individual areas are distributed to the départements Aude. Hérault. Pyrenees-Orientales and Vaucluse in the south of France as well as on the island Corsica, As grape varieties are allowed the two main varieties Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Muscat d'Alexandrie, as Macabeo, Malvoisie du Roussillon ( Torbato ), Grenache Blanc ( Garnacha Blanca ), Grenache Gris ( Garnacha Roja ) and Grenache Noir ( Garnacha Tinta ). The other provisions apply Mostgewicht (at least 252 g / l), maximum yield (30 hl / ha and less), alcohol content (at least 15 to 18% vol), residual sugar (at least 45 to over 100 g / l in some variants), vinification and minimum aging (barrel aging up to 30 months).
It is the responsibility of the butler, when the pure, tasteless alcohol is added to the fermenting must. For the best wines, the spirit of wine is poured over the grape mash (mutage sur grains); Mash fermentation can take up to four weeks. Only then does that happen Press the mash. The traditional Vin doux naturel age in large wooden barrels with a volume of 600 liters, in which you are aware of the oxidation exposes. This is done outdoors, where they are subject to large temperature fluctuations. Since 1975, the new type of vintage (in Banyuls they are called Rimage) is produced from particularly good vintages. These mostly deep red wines are bottled early and age like big reds. They have an intense cherry and berry aroma.
The appellations in the region Roussillon (with 90% of French VDN production) Banyuls. Maury. Muscat de Rivesaltes and Rivesaltes where these wines in red and white varieties with different grape blends or even unmixed getting produced. The best VDN are the red varieties from Grenache Noir, which can be stored for up to 20 years and longer. In the region Languedoc are produced in four appellations VDN's, the most famous is Muscat de Frontignan, who was the first ever VDN in the AC rank raised. From the area of the southern Rhone come two VDN from the appellations Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise and Rasteau, One enriched before the fermentation must be called Vin de liqueur,
The term "Vin doux naturel" (of course sweet wine) is confusing or even wrong, because yes that Spriten represents an "artificial intervention", which actually contradicts the "natural". The "naturally sweet" but refers to that no sweetening carried out with appropriate means. Incidentally, the term is also used in other countries, including in Greece for the sweet wines Samos and Vinsanto common. Also used here are "Vin doux" (Spriten after a short fermentation) and " Vin naturellement doux "(Without Spriten - thus a" genuine "naturally sweet wine). Spritting takes place mainly in southern European countries such as the Malaga. Madeira and port wine but where these French designations are not common.