This brightly-hued vintage wine is enjoying a moment in the sun
Curiosity, as in the case of most culinary inventions, has been a major driving force when it comes to making different varieties of wine. While for time immemorial, grapes - and sometimes, apple - have been the most popular choices for the drink, extraordinary minds never stopped their pursuit to come up with newer, more unique flavours of this favourite alcoholic beverage. Be it lavender, cherry blossom or dandelion; banana or pomegranate, many different varieties of wine have had their moment in the sun, for however little time. But the one variety of wine that we are shining the spotlight on today is the pumpkin wine.
This brightly-hued vintage wine came into existence some time in the 18th Century in America, and is said to be considered a fascinating invention. Although a vegetable, the sugar content in pumpkins is fairly high. This could also be a reason for attempting to make wine from it in the first place. When not spiced, pumpkin wine flaunts a rich colour - that looks like a mix of gold, yellow and rust. Over time. Vintners have experimented quite a bit with this amutum favourite (specially, during Halloween), which is why pumpkin wine is available in different colours and taste, depending on which winery is making it. Some people also make this wine at home. Thus, you’ll find a plethora of recipes floating on the internet. Interestingly, a sparkling variety of pumpkin also exists. This wine is smooth, not very sweet and sometimes shares some of the qualities of a traditional Chardonnay.
While there are different ways of making pumpkin wine, the ingredients that are commonly used to make this beverage are pumpkin, raisins (preferably, golden), cinnamon stick, fresh ginger root, whole nutmeg, sugar, yeast nutrient, wine yeast and water. Some people use cloves and allspice (the Jamaica pepper) to make pumpkin wine. Acid is important for fermentation, but pumpkins are usually low on this substance, which is why acid blends are used by winemakers to promote it. The acid blend usually consists of the tartaric, malic and citric acids. It’s important to note here that, for making pumpkin wine, only the flesh or the inside part of the vegetable is used, leaving out the outer orange portions, the seeds and the stringy membrane that holds them together. A crowd-pleaser during the holiday season, people in the US make pumpkin wine when there is a surplus of the vegetable in their yards.
When it comes to serving pumpkin wine, it’s recommended to treat it like any white wine. Pumpkin wine should be served chilled in stemmed glasses. Meanwhile in terms of pairing, a lot depends on the level of sweetness in the wine. It can go well with pumpkin pie, pumpkin creme brulee, pumpkin risotto and even butternut squash soup.
It’s true that for the longest time, wines made from fruits - actually, mostly grapes - have hogged the limelight, but alternative flavours are increasingly grabbing people’s attention around the world. In a way, pumpkin wine is unusual in tang and colour, but there is no denying that wine-lovers are developing taste for it. And this, in turn, is encouraging vintners to be creative with the vegetable.