Wine Words: VDN

published Jan 28, 2013
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The wine word VDN stands for “Vin Doux Naturel,” and it’s a specific style of wine produced in certain parts of France. VDN wines are sweet fortified wines made using a process called ‘mutage’, or the addition of grape spirit during fermentation.

This stops the fermentation well before the yeasts have converted all the sugars in the must to alcohol. Mutage is another word for fortification.

This addition of spirit raises the alcohol of the wine to between 15% and 16% abv, leaving a residual unfermented sugar level of about 120g/l.

VDN wines can be red or white. They are produced in the Rhone Valley and the Languedoc Roussillon regions of France. White VDN wines are typically made from the Muscat grape and red VDN wines are made from Grenache.

Key examples of white VDN wines are Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, and Muscat de St. Jean de Minervois.

Key red VDN wines are Banyuls, Maury and Rasteau. Within the red category there are two distinct styles called rancio or rimage. Rancio wines are made in an oxidative style, while rimage wines are made in a non-oxidative (i.e reductive) way to preserve the freshness and fruitiness of the wine.

Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne

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