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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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mistela is the Spanish term, mistelle the French, and mistella (or sifone) the Italian for a mixture of grape juice and alcohol. The fermentation process is arrested by the addition of alcohol, leaving a sweet, stable, alcoholic liquid arguably less complex than an equivalent wine that owes its alcohol content to fermentation. It was the commercially vigorous and adaptable Dutch who developed this sort of drink, so much more stable over long journeys than wine (see dutch wine trade). In Spain, such usefully stable sweetening agents are used in blending wines such as sherry and málaga, but are also sometimes sold, like France’s pineau des charentes, for drinking as an aperitif. Other examples of wines that either comprise or may include mistelle are some vin de liqueur, some vin doux naturel, and Australia’s topaque and muscats.