It goes by various names - cotton candy in the US, fairy floss in Australia, and suikerspin in the Netherlands - but it is exactly the same thing: heated sugar that has been spun to make it look like cotton. Cotton candy usually has the same classic flavor despite it being made only out of sugar, so could wine be made out of cotton candy? While there is a wine called cotton candy wine, it is not made out of the sugary confection, so what is cotton candy wine?
For a little background, the grape varietal used for this particular type of wine is called the Schiava (pronounced SKEE-ah-vah), also known as Trollinger or Vernatsch. This varietal has historically been known to grow in the north-eastern regions of Italy, specifically South Tyrol and Trentino. During an unspecified time in history, however, the grape traveled north towards the southern reaches of Germany where it became known as Trollinger, a name thought to mean "of Tyrol." Despite the fruit's dark and bold color, it is known to produce a light-bodied wine with fruity, berry-like flavors with moderate acidity. While mostly red, it can also produce rosé wines. The German style of wine produced from this grape tends to be slightly sweet due to residual sugars, whereas the Italian version is often drier and more acidic. The grape itself, though, tends to have a higher amount of sugar when compared to its relatives.
Now that you know about the grape itself, it is time to talk about cotton candy wine. The moniker this wine has gained is because of the flavor profile as well as the aromas it gives off. The smells it gives off is that of cotton candy, strawberries, and lemonhead candy, sometimes even bubblegum. These can be strong flavors, especially noticeable in candies and other drinks, but the flavors are actually quite subtle, and, traditionally, Alto Adige winemakers will produce a dry style of the wine as to not overwhelm the imbiber with too much sweetness derived from the natural flavors.
Another feature to expect from cotton candy wine is a naturally higher ABV, sitting at around 12% because of naturally having more sugar in it, thus, more for yeast to eat.
While harvest is more bountiful than other contemporary grapes, cotton candy wine is not as popular due to the light-bodied and feminine flavor profile. Harvest is normally limited to fourteen tonnes per hectare, compared to twenty to forty tonnes per hectare of lower quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. High quality Chardonnay, though, for example, is limited to only five and a half to eight tonnes per hectare.
So, have you ever wanted to try a wine that taste like cotton candy? Or perhaps you have been at least curious about it? Well, if you have been looking for something with flavors similar to the timeless classic that is cotton candy, this may definitely be the wine for you. If you have already tasted it, let us know what you thought about it.