11th November is São Martinho’s day (Saint Martin)!
In São Martinho’s day, Portuguese tradition says you have to eat roasted chestnuts (“castanhas”). But in the wine regions, tradition also says it’s time to taste the new wine with family and friends.
But why do we taste the new wine when it is far from being ready (as you know malolactic fermentation in going on…)? In the old days wine makers where unaware of the benefits of the malolactic fermentation so to them, the wine was “ready” when the alcoholic fermentation had stopped and the wine was clear enough for a first rack. So by São Martinho’s day you would have a glimpse of your wine quality.
Nowadays winemaking is different but we carry on the tradition.
But today I wanted to write about “jeropiga”.
“Jeropiga” is like, the French pineau, a sweet alcoholic drink, made with fresh grape juice (must) and “bagaço” (eau-de-vie): 3 parts of juice (red or white) and 1 part of “bagaço”. It’s settles for a few days and it’s ready to drink. The alcohol provided by the “bagaço” inhibits the fermentation and spoilage of the “jeropiga” which can be bottled and stored for a few years. I don’t know why but “Jeropiga” is not easily found in the market. It’s more of a local product.
After tasting the new wine, we keep on the roasted chestnuts now paired with “jeropiga”!