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DECK Number 5

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[h] DipWSET D5 SET 5 Vins DOux Naturels

[i] DipWSET D5 – Fortified Wines Flashcards

SET 5 Vins Doux Naturels


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[q] What does the term ‘VDN’ stands for? What is the general climate associated with them?’

[a] ‘VDN’ stands for ‘Vins Doux Naturels’ (not to be confused with ‘Vins Naturellement Doux’). They are associated with the Mediterranean climate given that they are produced in the South of France.

[q] What appellation do 80% of VDNs come from?

[a] Roussillon

[q] What is the general climate for the majority of VDN PDOs?

[a] Mediterranean

[q] What is the name of the wind that affects Roussillon?
How does this wind effect the region?
How does it effect the vines?

[a] Tramontane
It’s a strong, dry cold wind that comes from the northwest. Similar in effect to the Mistral, but follows a different path, between the Massif Central and the Pyrenees.
Greater transpiration, when combined with the warm climate, and therefore more concentrated grapes

[q] How does higher concentration of sugar in the grapes affect winemaking choices and outcomes?

[a] Positive – More sugar means the juice can ferment longer and still have the desired level of residual sugar. This also means less fortifying alcohol is needed.
Negative – It does reduce juice yield

[q] What are the two kinds of Muscat used for VDNs?


Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains

Muscat of Alexandria

[q] What are the key characteristics of Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains? (5)

[a] Most widely planted in France
Smaller grapes than MoA and presumably therefore more flavour intensity.
Drought tolerant
Susceptible to powdery, botrytis bunch rot and mites
Plantings are increasing as it’s popularity for dry table wines increases

[q] What are the key characteristics of Muscat of Alexandria? (5)


Bigger grapes than MBaPG
Higher sugar levels than MBaPG
Drought tolerant
Susceptible to powdery and botrytis bunch rot
Plantings are decreasing as wines are said to be less refined

[q] What are the key characteristics of Grenache Noir? (5)

Drought tolerant
High yielding, which must be controlled or colour concentration can be lost
Has fast sugar accumulation
Susceptible to coulure at fruit set, downy, phomopsis and botrytis bunch rot

What are the three additional varieties that may also be part of the blend for VDNs?


Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu

[q] What canopy management techniques are used and why?


A shaded canopy is needed to reduce sunburn and shrivel


Generally, what are maximum yields?

[a] Small, 30hL/ha

[q] What is minimum potential alcohol for picking?

[a] 14.8%

[q] Describe the harvest?


Usually as early after minimum potential alcohol is reached to retain as much acidity as possible.
By hand, often with several passes depending on ripeness.
Late harvest/botrytis character is not desired

[q] What is the range of minimum residual sugar across appellation?


Muscat – 100-125g/L
Grenache – 45g/L
Although Grenache can be also be around 100g/L in practice

[q] What spirit is used for fortification of VDNs and why?


Neutral, 95-96% ABV

So as to not alter or compete with the character of the base wines

[q] When is fortifying spirit added and how does this effect the final wine?


At 5-8% ABV to make
15-18% ABV wine.
As only 5-10% of the final wine is spirit, the wine has less spirity character

[q] How is skin-contact used for VDNs?


For white grapes – fermentation usually takes place off skins, although a portion of pre-ferment maceration may occur, and the producer may use press cut blending to increase body.
For black grapes – fermentation is fermented and fortified on skins, as the fortification will help extraction of colour and tannin (needed for ageing). Pump over and punch down will be used for a couple of weeks past fortification

[q] When is oxygen avoided in the production of a VDN?

When making an unaged VDN from white grapes – the must can be sealed and cold stored and the fermented on demand. This will keep primary fruit flavours fresh

[q] What fermentation vessels are typically used and why?

[a] Stainless steel tanks to regulate temperature control

[q] What are fermentation temperatures for white and red VDNs?


White – 15 C (cool)

Red – 28 C (warm)

[q] What maturation methods are used for youthful, unaged VDNs?


Closed, stainless steel vessels at cool, constant temperatures, protected from oxygen, possible by inert gas blanket

[q] What are the typical aromas/flavours of youthful unaged VDNs?


Muscat – floral, grapey, peach pear, honey

Grenache – blackberry, raspberry, plum

[q] What are the options for maturation vessels for oxidatively aged wines? (3)


Old oak barrels, not topped up
Glas demi-johns (bonbonnes), not quite full, unsealed, left outside in the sun.
A mixture of the two

[q] What are the two VDN appellations in the Rhone Valley?


Muscat de Beaume-de-Venise
Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau

What is the name of the mountain where the grapes are planted on in Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise? How does this effect the grapes?


Dentelles de Montmirail.

Provides shelter from the Mistral, helps ripening


Describe a typical MdBdV (style and flavours/aromas)


Always unaged.
Made from MBaPG (white)
Can also be rose or red (MaPGR)
Medium bodied, medium acidity, low alcohol (15%).
Blossom, grape, peach and honey

[q] Describe a typical Rasteau (style and aroma/flavour)


Can be white, rose or red (most is red)
Can be unaged or oxidative
Red must be minimum 75% Grenache Noir.
Low-med alcohol (16-18%)
Also planted on south-facing slopes to protect from Mistral.
Unaged – Juicy, almost jammy flavours of cherry and plum.
Oxidative – dried fruit, nutty

[q] What are the four VDN appellations in the Languedoc?


Muscat de Frontignan (largest, low elevation, warmest, fuller bodied, tropical fruits)
Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois (higher elevation, cooler climate, more acidity, lighter body, stone fruit/floral)
Muscat de Lunel.
Muscat de Mireval

[q] What is the general required style for VDNs from the Langedoc?


Must be MBaPG and unaged

[q] What percentage of Roussillon production is VDNs?



[q] What are the five styles of Roussillon VDNs?


Grenat (Maury/Rivesaults) / Rimage (Banyuls) – Unaged
Tuile (Maury/Rivesaults / Traditionnel (Banyuls) – Oxidatively aged red wine
Ambre – Oxidatively aged white wine
Hors d’age – Longer oxidatively aged red or white
Rancio – red or white with rancio character

[q] What are the six Roussillon AOCs for VDNs?


Grand Roussillon
Banyuls Grand Cru
Muscat de Rivesaltes

[q] What are the varietal regulations for Banyuls AOC?


50% Grenache Noir for red, Grenache blanc and gris can be used.
A small amount of VDN blanc is made

[q] What are the regulations for Banyuls Grand Cru AOC?


75% Grenache Noir.
Must be red.
30 months minimum ageing for Traditionnel, longer for Hors d’age or rancio

[q] What is significant about the growing environment in Maury AOC?


Dark schist soils that retain heat overnight, aiding ripening

[q] What are regulations for Maury AOC?


75% Grenache Noir,
small amount of white is made.
Dry table wine also made under Maury Sec appellation

[q] Describe Muscat de Rivesaltes AOC


Largest appellation in terms of production.

Only made in an unaged style, generally MBaPG or MoA

[q] Describe Rivesaltes AOC


Can be white or red, in all styles of maturation.

White must be maximum 20% Muscat. Topped up with Malvoisie, Macabeu, Grenache Gris or Blanc

[q] What is the French word that describes fortification to stop fermentation?



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