Rizzy fed wine
May 9, 2011 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Someone gave me a bottle of homemade red wine. It was filled right to the top of a screw-top bottle. It's a little fizzy, and light in colour (not as light as a rosé- just not as deeply coloured as most red wines I'm used to). I had a little sip and it doesn't taste too bad. Why is it fizzy? More importantly, should I drink it?
posted by pseudostrabismus to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes. Drink it
posted by special-k at 7:35 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

It continued to ferment a little bit in the bottle and carbonated slightly. If it tastes and smells fine and looks clear (nothing floating in it), then it's fine.
posted by jedicus at 7:39 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes. Drink it.

It's fizzy because one of the byproducts of fermentation is carbonic acid, which is what carbonation is. It's not as deep in color because of the type of grape used, or less time that the wine spent sitting with the grape skins.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:40 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

The fizziness (or 'spritz') is caused by secondary fermentation—there's a little bit of yeast left in the bottle and it's fermenting the wine's remaining sugars. The gas is a byproduct of fermentation and is totally harmless. Drink it, and drink it now, lest it explode in your pantry.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:43 PM on May 9, 2011

When I'm making wine, I specifically add chemicals to kill the yeast and stop this from happening, because the style I'm doing doesn't taste nicer with fizz and I want a longer shelf life. So this means that your wine is chemical-free, which is a good thing.

Also, if I'm brewing beer at home, I take advantage of this secondary fermentation on purpose to carbonate it, so it's not remotely weird or icky for secondary fermentation to happen.
posted by tyllwin at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2011

That sounds like Scandinavian homebrew that I've had-- fizzy and kind of pink. Beware: drinkable and very strong.
posted by travertina at 8:16 PM on May 9, 2011

As Hot Soup Girl says, this is secondary fermentation. That's how they make champagne!
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:25 PM on May 9, 2011

I recently bought some Malbec cheaply from a local winery that they were selling as cooking wine because it was so fizzy. I didn't like it much as fizzy as it was, so I just let it go mostly flat and then drank it. It was delicious. Enjoy your gift!
posted by zinfandel at 8:44 PM on May 9, 2011

If it tastes good, do it.

But, if you don't like it, don't do it.

(It probably won't kill you).
posted by ovvl at 9:19 PM on May 9, 2011

You could kill the secondary fermentation with half a campden tablet, but you're better off drinking it now with a bit of fizz.
posted by holgate at 10:07 PM on May 9, 2011

Some reds are fizzy.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 10:37 PM on May 9, 2011

As a newbie winemaker, my last batch had the same fizziness. I'm agreeing with many others above. The carbonation is most likely caused by still active yeast. Nothing to worry about. With the amount of alcohol in wine, not much can live in it that can actually harm you.
posted by toddst at 5:37 AM on May 10, 2011

You can sort of control your tasting experience. The longer it sits, the more sugar the yeast will eat and the more alcohol they will produce. It you find it too sweet, you can let it keep fermenting. At a certain alcohol level, the yeast will give it up anyhow unless they used champagne yeast specifically.
posted by Lame_username at 6:53 AM on May 10, 2011

You may want to decant it--there's very likely a film of dead yeast at the bottom of the bottle that will cause cloudiness and a yeasty taste.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:28 AM on May 10, 2011

The one thing I'd add as a former home (beer) brewer: There's going to be a little bit of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Leave it in the bottle. That's the yeast that, as others have pointed out, has been digesting the residual sugars in the wine and creating the carbonation.

Should that yeast get in to your digestive tract in large quantities (ie: drinking the last quarter or half-inch out of the bottle), you may experience it eating residual sugars and creating carbonation in your digestive tract. This can make an evening uncomfortable.

But, yeah, it's fine. Drink it.
posted by straw at 7:29 AM on May 10, 2011

It's considered a delicious seasonal specialty where I live. Don't drink too much or you'll get the runs, though.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:24 AM on May 10, 2011

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