“Rancio” is an expression that refers to wines that have acquired a particular bouquet and taste thanks to long aging in barrels exposed to the sun. We can therefore say that they have undergone a kind of beneficial maderization that has led to an improvement in their qualities while also giving them a certain refinement. Madeira and some Marsalas have these characteristics, as do some old French natural sweet wines (Vins Doux Naturels, also called VDN).

Full Demijohns, Making of white VDN
South of France

These are generally wines that have acquired the “Rancio” color and flavor through long aging in the sun.
The Vins Doux Naturels of the South of France (Roussillon, Occitanie) raise their wines for several years in demijohns in the sun, in the open air in summer, and in well-heated cellars in winter. The ‘Ranciotage’ must be closely monitored or risk serious quality problems in the finished product. A large glass carboy called a “tourie” is half full. This allows the oxygen in the air trapped in the carboy to combine with the wine while undergoing solar radiation and external heat.

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