Friday, March 16, 2007

Parker, Global Warming and Fuzzy Thinking

The following excerpt was taken from a Michael Apstein column at

Global Warming

Ducasse believes it is "obvious" that global warming has hit Bordeaux. And if it continues, all vintages will be like 2003. He looks back over the last 20 years and sees that the average alcohol in red Bordeaux has gone from 12 to over 13 percent as a result of a warmer climate and a change in the public's taste.

Wait....its "obvious" they're already seeing the effects of GW ...unless those affects are due to change in style preferences (or Parker, whom he acknowledges has an ever-increasing impact)? Now that's clear thinking!

He says it is impossible now to produce a wine with 12% alcohol because consumers are accustomed to wines with more than 13% alcohol. He points out that in the past it was "a miracle" when Cabernet Sauvignon reached ripeness to give a potential alcohol of 12%.

It gets better.....its "impossible" to produce a wine at 12% because of changing tastes (we've already forgotten about the "obvious" GW issue?), yet it was a "miracle" when Cabernet became ripe at 12%. Where's the downside here?

Now, every year the Cabernet Sauvignon comes in with potential alcohol of 13%. The change has been a result of drier, sunnier, and warmer summers.

I thought it was changing wine styles? Which is it?!? Also, doesn't the fruit have to pass through 22°Brix (~12% alcohol) BEFORE it reaches 24°Brix (~13% alc)??
So, what's to stop them from picking at the lower sugar? [hint: answer is "nothing"...]

Ducasse notes, "Since 1995, there has been a run of good years, they've all been good or excellent. None have produced light or thin wines. Compare that to the 1960s or 1970s when you would see two or three good years per decade. The young generation of Bordeaux winemakers and proprietors don't know bad years." Certainly over the same time period, there have been huge advances in winemaking and viticulture, but the warmer, drier climate has been the primary reason for better wines in Ducasse's opinion.

Sigh....this is probably California's fault. Damn our deliciousness!!! [shakes fist]
But again...where's the downside here? Are light and thin wines all that great? Is it a complaint that the new generation of vignerons haven't suffered enough for their "art"?

He believes that a poor vintage will be rare in the future--and certainly will never compare with 1963, 1968, or 1977--because of better technology and warmer climate. Also, the media's attention on the details of the industry has forced people to focus on quality.

Ahhhh......the 'q' factor, which the French only focus on when "forced" to do so (chuckle). Never mind that improved quality might make all of the above debate irrelevant!


Anonymous Erwin Dink said...

S.V., you're sexy when you're surly.

March 18, 2007 5:44 AM  

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