Alderaanian Wine: The Drink That Makes You Realize That's no Moon
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Alderaan's Finest: Toniray Wine
Before Alderaan met its fatal demise, it was well known for fine art and fine wines. One of particular interest is the Toniray wine. This particular Alderaannian wine is teal colored, sparkling, and sweet. It is often served chilled. It's a extremely rare and there are only a few few places in the galaxy you can still find it. One being at Oga’s Cantina at the Black spire outpost (for a hefty $13/glass). However, if you are like me, poor and quarantined, I present to you a decent knock-off of this rare wine perfect for hot summer nights.
The Microbes of Wine
But first, we must talk about microbes! Wine is made from grapevines, which are clonal plants, they have the same genetic material. The region the wine is made creates a particular flavor profile. If we were to make wine from the same vine grown in California, it would taste different than if we grew that vine in Italy. Why? I'm sure you’ve guessed that it has something to do with microbes!
The flavor fingerprint of a wine region is the intersection of the soil, climate, microbes and vine variety. This complex flavor profile is known as “terroir”. There is a very intricate interaction between the vine and its environment.
Every environment, every soil has a slightly different composition of microbes. In turn this causes the individual vines in a vineyard to have a distinct microbial community . Microbes are so intertwined with the health of the fruit that the different parts of the vine harbor different microbiomes.
For instance, the phyllosphere is known as the leaf microbiome and the carposphere, as the fruit associated microbes. Recently even the endosphere, or microbes living inside the vine have become important for vine health. Researchers have also linked these microbes to potentially playing a role in warding off pathogens.
There are usually two fermentation processes in wine making, alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation. The first involves a yeast often Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which we should all <3 as it gives us so many alcoholic beverages.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae “eats” the sugars from the fruit and “poops” out alcohol. Brilliant! The second fermentation step is the job of Oenococcus oeni. This microbe converts tart-tasting malic acid into a mellower and sometimes “buttery” lactic acid. Many other microbes such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus can also do this job.
Several microbes capable of this fermentation process have been found natively in the vine. They may contribute to the "terroir" and "flavorome" of the alcohol. For instance, Streptococcus and Lactobacillus were found at a higher percentage in California vineyards than Bordeaux or Suffolk vineyards. This microbe may be contributing to the regions wine. A flavor perhaps not obtainable in the other regions. This only scratches the surface of the highly complex “flavorome” of a wine. The "flavorome" is made up of hundreds (thousands) of microbial products interacting and surviving within the host.
From cycling nutrients in the soil to helping the vine grow, to protecting the vine from disease, to turning grape juice into wine, microbes are are essential to all wines from Alderaan to New Zealand.
And now the recipe!
So Toniray wine is described as bubbly, sweet, teal in color and a little citrus flavor….which sounds like a Mojito.
1 cup of sparkling white wine
6-7 mint leaves
Some sugar (until desired sweetness; I used a teaspoon)
½ lime juice
Blue food coloring
Green food coloring
In the desired cup add the mint leaves, lime juice, and sugar.
Grind the mint leaves (like a mortar and pestle) using any hard (roundish) object until fragrant (We used the back end of a knife)
Add the wine
Add one drop of blue food coloring
Place one drop of green food coloring on a plate. Gently dab a spoon into the droplet (you want a very small amount) and then use the spoon to stir the drink
Garnish with mint leaf
*Note: to get the really good teal color you need ~5:1 ratio between blue and green food coloring. Otherwise it will get too dark.
As always drink responsibly!