"The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

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Michael S. Monie
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"The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#1 Post by Michael S. Monie » July 28th, 2020, 3:57 pm

I particularly like the comparison between blended Champagne and single vineyard Champagne. https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2020/07 ... -article02
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#2 Post by Michael S. Monie » July 30th, 2020, 1:46 pm

Curious why this didn't generate any commentary. Too pedestrian?
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#3 Post by William Kelley » July 30th, 2020, 3:10 pm

Michael S. Monie wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 1:46 pm
Curious why this didn't generate any commentary. Too pedestrian?
Perhaps it's a deficiency of my millennial attention span, but I didn't make it to the end. The point of the piece wasn't very easy to discern, and segueing from the merits of complexity to the ills of "over-extraction" seemed a little forced.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#4 Post by Mike C. » July 30th, 2020, 3:15 pm

My takeaway was that complexity is complex and a lot of factors can go into what makes a wine complex, which isn’t particularly profound.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#5 Post by Vincent Fritzsche » July 30th, 2020, 3:34 pm

This article is a tough read.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#6 Post by John Morris » July 30th, 2020, 3:38 pm

Mike C. wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 3:15 pm
My takeaway was that complexity is complex and a lot of factors can go into what makes a wine complex, which isn’t particularly profound.
Yup. She starts from the premise that prestige wines are complex, but without defining it. Then she disses grapes she deems inferior. Then rambles through some other topics.

Yawn.

It brings to mind Nazi poet Hanns Johst's (spooky) quote: “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.” I feel a bit that way about "complexity."
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#7 Post by Michael S. Monie » July 30th, 2020, 5:21 pm

John Morris wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 3:38 pm
Mike C. wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 3:15 pm
My takeaway was that complexity is complex and a lot of factors can go into what makes a wine complex, which isn’t particularly profound.
Yup. She starts from the premise that prestige wines are complex, but without defining it. Then she disses grapes she deems inferior. Then rambles through some other topics.

Yawn.

It brings to mind Nazi poet Hanns Johst's (spooky) quote: “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.” I feel a bit that way about "complexity."
That's an interesting perspective; the quoting of a Nazi and all.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#8 Post by Jan Janas » July 30th, 2020, 6:26 pm

The article is a bit too black and white and a bit of a tirade of stereotypes to be really interesting or revealing. "Best sites make complex wines" is one of the most dangerous generalisations you can find, and I feel as though much of what this forum tries to accomplish is actually constructively critiquing such assumption and going beyond what the label says (1st growth, grand cru, GG or what have you). And the last straw was saying that certain grapes are "intrinsically" more complex than others...

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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#9 Post by Wes Barton » July 30th, 2020, 8:33 pm

I didn't disagree with anything. Not that I recall, at least. It's an over-view. Extremity for extremity's sake isn't a substitute for quality.

You can objectively measure all the compounds and precursor compounds in a grape that help contribute to a wine's complexity. Claiming every grape variety is equal is silly.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#10 Post by John Morris » July 30th, 2020, 8:44 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 8:33 pm
.... You can objectively measure all the compounds and precursor compounds in a grape that help contribute to a wine's complexity. Claiming every grape variety is equal is silly.
Do you think those measurements equate in any way to quality in the final wine? I'm genuinely curious.

I remember a post by a winemaking student (UC Davis, I think) who remarked that some very overipe, overdone wines were extremely complex as measured this way, riddled as they were with VA and various microbiological funny stuff.

Perhaps you'll respond that a certain quantum of different compounds is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a great wine.

Or you might say that there's good complexity and bad complexity. [cheers.gif]
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#11 Post by Al Osterheld » July 30th, 2020, 8:54 pm

A lot of words without a clear message.

"Complexity means a lot more than simply stacking up the flavors and hoping for the best."

The best line of of the article, and one that it models.

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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#12 Post by Wes Barton » July 31st, 2020, 1:05 pm

John Morris wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 8:44 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 8:33 pm
.... You can objectively measure all the compounds and precursor compounds in a grape that help contribute to a wine's complexity. Claiming every grape variety is equal is silly.
Do you think those measurements equate in any way to quality in the final wine? I'm genuinely curious.

I remember a post by a winemaking student (UC Davis, I think) who remarked that some very overipe, overdone wines were extremely complex as measured this way, riddled as they were with VA and various microbiological funny stuff.

Perhaps you'll respond that a certain quantum of different compounds is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a great wine.

Or you might say that there's good complexity and bad complexity. [cheers.gif]
I think she's talking to craft. Too much complexity can be unfocused, murky. Too much of a good thing can be literally too much, overloading your senses and no long perceived as what it is. Too much extraction can bring unwanted stuff to the mix. Extending hangtime can be a trade-off, losing volatile aromatics for fuller, richer, darker fruit. Some fruit you might want to work to get the most out of it as possible, other fruit you might want to be as gentle and moderate as you can.

As far as grape variety and quality go, some of the more complex and obvious ones don't make the best wines. Some of the best and most flexible are in the moderate zone. One wine I particularly like now, as compared to a couple decades ago, I think is intentionally overcropped to tone down what the variety has too much of. Otherwise it was a curiosity, kind of fun, but probably more suitable as a blending grape, but they figured out how to get the best out of it.
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#13 Post by Markus S » July 31st, 2020, 1:06 pm

Michael S. Monie wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 1:46 pm
Curious why this didn't generate any commentary. Too pedestrian?
Tired of clicking on links? [snort.gif]
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Re: "The Simple Truth About Complexity In Wine"

#14 Post by Markus S » July 31st, 2020, 1:08 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 1:05 pm
One wine I particularly like now, as compared to a couple decades ago, I think is intentionally overcropped to tone down what the variety has too much of. Otherwise it was a curiosity, kind of fun, but probably more suitable as a blending grape, but they figured out how to get the best out of it.
Wonder what grape That could be?....
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