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This is a wine drunk before a meal and intended to stimulate the appetite. These wines usually range from dry to medium, but there are some commercial sweet examples.
Aperitifs should have sufficient acid to taste fresh and leave the palate clean. They are often high in alcohol, but this is not essential. Flavour requirements are varied, and are very much to the individual taste.
The alcohol content should be between 14% and 17%; commercial sherries have some added alcohol, giving up to 21% alcohol. If no colour is specified in the schedule, then all colours should be accepted.
Although some white table wines and sparkling wines are often drunk as aperitifs, these are normally covered in separate classes.
The most common wines used for this purpose in shows can be divided into four main groups, all of which can be made by normal fermentation although some shows allow fortification.
  1. Oxidised. The most familiar wine represented here is sherry, dry and medium (of the olorosos, the sweet types are best used as dessert or after-dinner wines).
  2. Herbal or Spiced. Vermouth represents the most common wine found here, although various herbs and spices can be, and are, used.
  3. Quinine or Bittered. This type often overlaps with the herbal or spiced group, but the main factor is the bitter characteristic which remains in the mouth after tasting. A commercial example is Punt e Mes.
  4. Citrus. Amateurs can produce excellent aperitifs from this base which have no real equivalent in the commercial field.

Last updated: 03/12/09
Copyright: 2006 NGWBJ