Jump to content

Tastes Like Alcohol


Recommended Posts

so.. high alcohol.. a flaw, not a chance to applaud the enthusiastic celebrity??

tasted a once wonderful wine from a once wonderful producer of Washington state red wine today, and found that , after the blind tasting of the wine, it was utterly a "half glass" worthy wine,, to much alcohol, the kind that i actually found int he nose and palate, where you should never find it on the nose because that is a FLAW, not an applaud...

even at the point where it was jsut 14.1%, with an allowable .5 extra, it was HOT, and Zinfandel like, when it shouldn't be.

where do we begin to draw the line, and why has the game been taken this far?

do we no longer think for ourselves, and just play faith to the articles and scores of magazines, and critics alike?

does anyone taste for themselves anymore?

:P;):)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so.. high alcohol.. a flaw, not a chance to applaud the enthusiastic celebrity??

tasted a once wonderful wine from a once wonderful producer of Washington state red wine today, and found that , after the blind tasting of the wine, it was utterly a "half glass" worthy wine,, to much alcohol, the kind that i actually found int he nose and palate, where you should never find it on the nose because that is a FLAW, not an applaud...

even at the point where it was jsut 14.1%, with an allowable .5 extra, it was HOT, and Zinfandel like, when it shouldn't be.

where do we begin to draw the line, and why has the game been taken this far?

do we no longer think for ourselves, and just play faith to the articles and scores of magazines, and critics alike?

does anyone taste for themselves anymore?

:P;):)

Well, yes, how nice of you to ask. Those of us who buy wine to sell have a predicament. Delicious versus over the top. In my case, delicious wines also go with food. Unfortunately, the over the top wines are the wines people ask for. What to do? Some people listen to advice, others just want what they want. That's how it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in California on high alcohol zins. I have no prejudice against a 16% alcohol zin as long as it has sufficient tannin to give it textural balance and sufficient acidity to give it backbone and support the berry fruit. Ridge had an amazing series of late harvest and late picked wines in the 70's from Occidental and then a range of Late Picked from York Creek in the 2000's. Amazing!

However, today I have sampled quite a few big alcoholic zins that I am almost hard to accept as wine. They are soooooo syrupy and sweet as to be as hard to enjoy with food any more then a coke goes with fine dining. I pass on these despite their high scores and the fact that I could sell them. I also am not a fan of syrupy high alcohol syrah from Oz. There is one winery that dries their grapes ala Amarone to make them inkier and more alcoholic. The problem is that when you dry a corvina grape that has low tannin and light fruit, you get something amazingly complex and balanced if you do it right. If you take a flavorful syrah grape loaded with acidity and tannin and then dry it you get more acidity and tannin and the fruit tastes like cough syrup. Not for me, thanks.

I don't like cabernet that is 16% alcohol or one that achieves its 14% alcohol thru alcohol removal via spinning cone or reverse osmosis technology.

In Brunello, there are plenty of 14% alcohol wines. If they are from the Piancornello section or from the slope from Argiano Castle down south east towards the Orcia river, then you have wines that achieve this alcohol as they get mature. Again, the alcohol is natural and just the amount you get when the grapes achieve balance and full, ripe flavor. Ciacci Piccolomini is a perfect example. But if you are higher up the hill, above 350 meters and you are getting 14% alcohol, then you are using vineyard practices that maximize sugar content and not ripeness and then the wines typically suffer. if you are on the north slope and get 14% alcohol, unless it is a year like 2003 or 2006, then again you are growing grapes and making wine for alcohol content.

In short, to sum up, the land and varietal will dictate where the alcohol level "should" be. It will be what it is if the wine grower and maker strive for balance throughout. If they strive for extraction and richness above all else, then you get over the top syrupy wines. I try to stay away from the latter although if I find an over the top wine that borders on balanced, I will add it to the list just to show that I am not a complete Luddite when it comes to this new style of wine making.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the way that Bob Kaplan, who works for the Gordon's chain in Waltham, Mass. addressed this very issue recently:

A common complaint that I have with high alcohol, fruit-laden, showcase wines is that they exude too much. It's often like walking into soft walls, and believe me, the palate becomes weary and goes to sleep. It seems that the older I get the more balance I crave. I don't want “oodles and gobs” of anything. I want the sense that the wine, at any price, is more them just the sum of its components. I want buoyancy as well as weight, flavor and focus. I want a wine that excites, not jades, the palate.

Terry Theise also likes to use a phrase which I've long admired: "I don't always need to be overwhelmed by a wine. Sometimes I like my whelm just the way it is."

I've long contended that we are a nation raised upon fruit juices and soft drinks, and even though customers ASK for "dry", they really want some noticeable degree of residual sugar with their wine. Few expressions induce cringing during my work day quite the same way as, "I'd like a nice dry white wine, like Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay!" ;) An oxymoron if there ever was one.

I've also come to believe that the palate is like a muscle that requires exercise. Just as professional athletes aren't born at the peak of their physical abilities, neither are wine drinkers. It takes time and a certain degree of discipline and informed discrimination. Want to taste like a champ? Then expose yourself to as many different kinds of wine as you possibly can afford to, over as many vintages as you possibly can. To me, wine can be like one of my other life passions, baseball. Just when you think that you've seen it all, or are getting a handle on one particular aspect of it, then someone or something comes along to shift your personal paradigm and you have to look at it in a new light or renewed respect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This discussion reminds me of a lot of the ground covered in this thread. And Joe is right to point out that a nation addicted to sweet drinks should have rather gullible taste buds--even, or especially, when it comes to wine.

It works both ways. That's why the Bordelaise are able to unload a lot of unpalatable overly acidic wine in Asia - because it is a tea culture, not a soda-pop culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It works both ways. That's why the Bordelaise are able to unload a lot of unpalatable overly acidic wine in Asia - because it is a tea culture, not a soda-pop culture.

That's an interesting point. Still, even a fairly basic tea has a good deal more complexity than a Pepsi, so could be expected to exercise the palate more. It's not by accident that China Keemun is often referred to as the "burgundy of teas."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It works both ways. That's why the Bordelaise are able to unload a lot of unpalatable overly acidic wine in Asia - because it is a tea culture, not a soda-pop culture.

Mark, do you have any data to support this? Just curious. It makes sense to me as well, but I've never investigated it. I think some SA producers with some back vintages would find that info very useful!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark, do you have any data to support this? Just curious. It makes sense to me as well, but I've never investigated it. I think some SA producers with some back vintages would find that info very useful!

I read this mentioned in a study last year. Can't remember the source, sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read this mentioned in a study last year. Can't remember the source, sorry.

bringing into another subject of its own,.. the asian populations demand for these blockbuster's? big mother of a wine, that have big mother ofa point, and the ever catching phrase "i want cult wine" , and the cult wine by no means is a traditionalist,,, modernism is the way now adays right? sarcasm. lets use our technology to work nature, and tomorrow we wont have nature. ;)

devise a argument by these people and call it argumentative. new oak, ripe fruit, no acid, high extraction, and a backer of alcohol.. perfect i have one.

so where does one begin to look for a traditional, old school style of Pinot, that is not zinfandel like, or has other crap blended with it for that matter, besides the white grapes for Bubbly?

Northwest US, south island NZ, some spots on the cape of South Africa, like Elgin, and Walker Bay...???

:P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so where does one begin to look for a traditional, old school style of Pinot, that is not zinfandel like, or has other crap blended with it for that matter, besides the white grapes for Bubbly?

Chambolle-Musigny. Or Morey-St.-Denis. Look for a producer whose name ends in "-ier." Scary how well it works, actually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roumier, Groffier, Comte de Voguéier

guesss it always has to cost to drink right.. always have adorred those guys. burgundy is still classic, though some buy outs have changed some thoughts, and ideals that were once instilled in the domaines of teh past.,. the clasics are still classics, but cost a Bright shiny penny :angry: .

when you look at the New world, what likes are there that are by our terms enjoyable...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...