Saturday, September 03, 2005

How the Wine Press Drives Style

If you read any wine-related writings, whether on the web or in print, you doubtless have noticed that more and more articles have been written recently decrying the trend toward more alcoholic wines. These barrages are invariably leveled at new world wines and typically disparage them for their inability to pair well with food. Some laud the low-alcohol wines of the old world (somehow skipping the fact that "earth" and "barnyard" notes are equally hard to pair) and hold them up as the standard-bearer.

latest example makes me think that we've reached the point where all wine writers have now jumped on the bandwagon (I'll give him a free pass on his habit of serving burgers with ketchup - how gauche! and vermouth in a Martini, ugh! I'll take mine dry, thanks.).....Ok, has everyone now pointed out that alcohol is increasing? Jancis? Berger? Laube? Have we heard everyone voice the same opinion? Are we all in synch now? Good.

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm more than a bit of a "market forces guy"... Why make wines that people don't want? I'm not suggesting pandering here, but if people want fruit-forward wines that have a flavor profile reminiscent of their origins (the GRAPE!) then give them what they want! There will be plenty of market niches for all kinds of alternative wines (Hell,
Bonny Doon has done very well doing just that).

That said, I think the high-alcohol claims are mostly full of sound and fury, but signifying little. If the public wants lower alcohol wines, they will find them, buy them and turn the tide on their own. There are many techniques that producers can utilize, from the
spinning cone to reverse osmosis that will bring down alcohol without changing ripeness or fruit levels if that is what the market truly wants.

Personally, I'd rather have two glasses of a 16% wine that I love rather than suffering through three glasses of a 12% wine that I dislike, just so I can drink "more"...

That, at the end of the day, is all that matters to me - the pleasure in the glass.

The wine press, although they need something to write about (let's face it - that's what they do, right?), should come off their high horses and acknowledge that it's the public who ultimately choose what wines are sucessful, and that they (the public) aren't fools. The market will change when it gets the appropriate signals from those who are buying wine.


Can we move onto the next non-issue please?


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September 08, 2005 11:36 AM  
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September 08, 2005 5:19 PM  

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