High alcohol wines and aging

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Re: So...

#51 Post by GregP » January 7th, 2020, 4:10 pm

TomHill wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 5:17 pm
But plenty of Alban (TN’s on a bunch of Albans coming soon)
Tom
Our tasting group did a Zin tasting back in December, where 2000 and 2001 Ridge Zins showed extremely well and on a "youthful" side, still. Though 2004 Neal, of all things, gave them a run for their money.

But. The star of the night was a bottle of '97 Alban Reva, showing extremely well on all cards (popped it prior to official flights). My pre-tasting assumption was "Hell, I am sure its old and tired by now and alcohol will be the main feature, let's just get done with it". Wrong, on all counts. Alas, my last bottle of it.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#52 Post by S. Stevenson » January 7th, 2020, 5:21 pm

Randy Dunn on this subject:
Tasting test

It was a tasting in St. Helena of cult Cabernets from the 2004 vintage, including Dunn's own, that sparked his current crusade.

"I got to taste all these wines, every one of them - there were like 18 of them - and I was just disgusted at the way they tasted. And I got samples of all these wines and sent them to the lab and the average was 15.6 (percent alcohol), and I said this is the last ... straw. I've got to do something."

He reached out to UC Davis sensory researcher Hildegarde Heymann, curious whether the level of alcohol in wine could affect a taster's palate. With King's help, they gathered two dozen Cabernets. Volunteers tasted the wines in various orders: lower alcohol before higher, higher before lower, and randomly.

There was an unmistakable impact. Exact effects varied, but tasters who began with low-alcohol wines found more viscosity in higher-alcohol samples and could better discern alcohol content. Those who began with higher alcohols found the lower-alcohol samples herbal or vegetal, with a coarser texture.

It affirmed Dunn's longtime assertion. Start with a wine at lower alcohol of around 13.8 percent, he says, and "that wine is just delicious to you." But start with an alcohol around 15 percent, then go and taste the lower one, "and it tastes like water."
Fight to change groupings

Of course, Napa isn't about to wake up and return to 12 percent table wines tomorrow. Even Dunn acknowledges that "the bottom line is, they've got to sell these wines, and it's really difficult to sell a Cabernet that's less than 14 percent alcohol because you're not going to get the good scores."

If, he surmised, alcohol levels weren't going to shrink, perhaps wines should be tasted in context; those below 14 percent tasted together, and the same with bigger wines. The 14 percent dividing line is hardly arbitrary; it's the point at which the federal government levies a higher tax, which once kept many winemakers from crossing it.

But he also felt that more modest wines were the losers in a ripeness arms race - that critics' high scores were pushing drinkers' tastes toward that blockbuster style. "It is time for the average wine consumers, as opposed to tasters, to speak up," Dunn wrote in a 2007 open letter.

That prompted a kind of chicken-egg aspect to the debate. Had wines gotten riper because critics praised them? Or were high scores due praise for wines that consumers happen to prefer?

The critic most targeted by Dunn's criticism has been James Laube of the Wine Spectator. While the magazine does give higher scores to higher-alcohol wines, Laube acknowledges, "it comes down to each critic's assessment of character and complexity based on experience and exposure to a wide range of wine, and in my case I can find examples of wines I like or like less on both sides of the ledger.

"There is plenty of room for all kinds and styles of wines. If consumers didn't like the style of wines, they wouldn't buy them."
Altering alcohol levels

Dunn's Cabernets are an acquired taste for reasons that have nothing to do with alcohol. His tough, tannic style comes from defiantly old-fashioned winemaking, including vigorous pumping of the wine with a "fire hose" and a lengthy 36-month stay in barrels.

Aside from the underground cave he built in 1989, he has brushed away most modern advances. He will not, for instance, use a sorting table, which helps winemakers remove subpar grapes and debris. Dunn makes a point of crushing his grapes with bits of stem still intact, a departure from most Napa wineries' manicuring of their fruit in order to avoid anything that might add those fearsome herbal flavors.

Don't mistake Dunn for a Luddite, though. While he picks his grapes at modest ripeness, even he can't avoid tipping past 14 percent at harvest.

That has made him the rare winemaker to openly advocate perhaps the wine industry's most secretive technique: the use of reverse osmosis equipment to alter a wine's alcohol level. Wine is passed through a semipermeable membrane that filters out some water and alcohol, and when blended back together, the alcohol level can be dialed down without losing ripe flavors.

While such techniques are a widespread reality - by one industry estimate, up to 60 percent of California wine receives some treatment - typically it is done with utter discretion, often behind the seal of a nondisclosure agreement.

For Dunn, it is simply a newer alternative to techniques he used early in his career - in vintages when grapes arrived too ripe for his taste.

"Historically, we used to water," he says. "We were picking in big gondolas, and then you'd tip them up over the crusher, and then you'd hose it out," with the water dripping into the grape must below.

These days, up on the mountain, Dunn is handing more winery duties to his children. His son Mike now runs the cellar, while his daughter Kristina handles marketing. He still flies his twin-engine Turbo Commander from the nearby Angwin airstrip. This current crusade strikes me as the work of a man who has put in his time, and sees nothing to lose by tweaking a few noses.
'They all taste the same'

Dunn is keenly aware that his sentiments put him at odds with the majority of Napa's prestigious wineries. But there's something intensely personal in the mix. His disdain for higher alcohol, it seems, isn't just about scores or cooked-fruit flavors. It's that these blockbuster wines might be sacrificing their signature of place - a place that has given Randy Dunn a good life's work.

"In the old days, it was very easy to tell Spring Mountain from Rutherford from Stags Leap," he says. "Now, what is it? They all taste the same. And I get this feedback from some of my old-time mailing-list people that I see in New York or D.C. or somewhere: 'We quit buying California wines except yours.' Well, really, why? ' 'Cause they all taste the same.' And that's right, they do."
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#53 Post by John Morris » January 7th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Stan - A very interesting read, though almost certainly a copyright infringement to paste in the article in its entirety.

champagne.gif

Thanks anyway!
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#54 Post by John Morris » January 7th, 2020, 7:29 pm

FYI, I tasted five different producers' Bedrock Vineyard zins blindly this evening. The 15.8% Turley version was tied for 4th of 5. It had a sweetish nose, with jammy fruit scents, and there was a trace of tawny port-like fruit on the palate.

The only wine rated lower by the group was the 2016 Wilde Farm "natural" wine, which has a boatload of VA and funk -- defective levels for all seven tasters, who nearly all ranked it last. (Sulfur isn't necessarily a bad thing, to paraphrase Jay Miller.)

The 2016 Ridge "Hooker Creek" (=Bedrock), 2018 Bedrock Bedrock and 2017 Once and Future (Joel Peterson), all at lower ABVs, were all far superior -- more balanced and enjoyable.

These aren't aged, but I certainly wouldn't lay bets on the Turley evolving into something better.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#55 Post by S. Stevenson » January 7th, 2020, 9:48 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 7:22 pm
Stan - A very interesting read, though almost certainly a copyright infringement to paste in the article in its entirety.

champagne.gif

Thanks anyway!
It was just part of the article plus a link. Standard stuff.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#56 Post by markjchambers » January 10th, 2020, 8:25 am

Turley Zins do age. Not sure they gain a lot, but they don't lose anything - at least when it comes to single vineyard releases. I just had an 08 Mead Ranch and it was great. Big and brambly blackberry fruit. No heat to speak of even though it's right around 16% ABV. I've heard that Carlisle and Bedrock Zins age well also, but I drink mine too fast to be able to personally attest to that.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#57 Post by John Morris » January 10th, 2020, 10:47 am

markjchambers wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 8:25 am
Turley Zins do age. Not sure they gain a lot, but they don't lose anything - at least when it comes to single vineyard releases. I just had an 08 Mead Ranch and it was great. Big and brambly blackberry fruit. No heat to speak of even though it's right around 16% ABV. I've heard that Carlisle and Bedrock Zins age well also, but I drink mine too fast to be able to personally attest to that.
Here individual preferences vary a lot. I've had a number of mature Turleys over the years that I found distinctly alcoholic and unbalanced. But I've often had them with people who loved them.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#58 Post by Doug Schulman » January 10th, 2020, 2:03 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 10:47 am
markjchambers wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 8:25 am
Turley Zins do age. Not sure they gain a lot, but they don't lose anything - at least when it comes to single vineyard releases. I just had an 08 Mead Ranch and it was great. Big and brambly blackberry fruit. No heat to speak of even though it's right around 16% ABV. I've heard that Carlisle and Bedrock Zins age well also, but I drink mine too fast to be able to personally attest to that.
Here individual preferences vary a lot. I've had a number of mature Turleys over the years that I found distinctly alcoholic and unbalanced. But I've often had them with people who loved them.
Plus, if they don’t really improve, what was the point of aging?

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#59 Post by Hank Victor » January 10th, 2020, 2:07 pm

-
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- ITB
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#60 Post by John Morris » January 10th, 2020, 3:48 pm

For zin, 14.8% was never crazy high.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#61 Post by markjchambers » January 10th, 2020, 7:21 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 2:03 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 10:47 am
markjchambers wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 8:25 am
Turley Zins do age. Not sure they gain a lot, but they don't lose anything - at least when it comes to single vineyard releases. I just had an 08 Mead Ranch and it was great. Big and brambly blackberry fruit. No heat to speak of even though it's right around 16% ABV. I've heard that Carlisle and Bedrock Zins age well also, but I drink mine too fast to be able to personally attest to that.
Here individual preferences vary a lot. I've had a number of mature Turleys over the years that I found distinctly alcoholic and unbalanced. But I've often had them with people who loved them.
Plus, if they don’t really improve, what was the point of aging?
No point for Turley, but the thread is about what happens when high alcohol wines age. They don't necessarily go to hell. And I second Alban as another example of a very age-able high-alcohol wine. I've even had some RRV pinots (Martinelli, Williams-Selyem) 15 years old that were still drinking well. Again no reason to age them that long, but I wouldn't worry about them going over the hill.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#62 Post by John Morris » January 10th, 2020, 7:37 pm

markjchambers wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 7:21 pm
I've even had some RRV pinots (Martinelli, Williams-Selyem) 15 years old that were still drinking well. Again no reason to age them that long, but I wouldn't worry about them going over the hill.
Martinelli pinots with age are divisive. Some people love them, as this recent thread shows. Others of us find them wildly over-alcoholic and out of balance:

Worst wines you've ever had
Thread on Martinelli zins and pinots
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#63 Post by Shay h arnoy » January 12th, 2020, 7:16 am

I opened another one of my CDPs last night. 2015 Pegau labeled as 14% alcohol. Im a fine wine noob so I wanted to compare it to the Clos St Jean that motivated this thread.
I could still feel the heat from the alcohol but the wine was in much greater balance than the CSJ. I can see the Pegau evolving pleasantly even though right now its not my favorite wine.

#DrinkingInTheNameOfScience

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#64 Post by J a y H a c k » January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am

Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
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Well...

#65 Post by TomHill » January 13th, 2020, 7:34 am

The Jaffurs SBC Syrah '08 I just posted was a great example of a high-alcohol Syrah that matured beautifully.
OTOH, I've had 4 Alban reds from '00-'01 that didn't show very well w/ lots of alcohol and no real development, just
still very primary. TN's to follow.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#66 Post by Jay Miller » January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am

GregT wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 11:27 am

We recently had a tasting of Turley Zins going back into the 90s and one of my favorites was the 1994, contrary to my expectations going in. It brought home the point that it's more than just the alcohol that one should consider. Based on that alone, I wouldn't have aged the wine. But for the person who did, she was amply rewarded. I'm not sure I would age it for another twenty-five years, but it had done more than simply hold on - it had transformed into something that it wasn't when it started. That's what you want from aging and that's my problem with most CdP, although I'll defer to Gerhard on that!
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Yup....

#67 Post by TomHill » January 13th, 2020, 11:42 am

Jay Miller wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am
GregT wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 11:27 am

We recently had a tasting of Turley Zins going back into the 90s and one of my favorites was the 1994, contrary to my expectations going in. It brought home the point that it's more than just the alcohol that one should consider. Based on that alone, I wouldn't have aged the wine. But for the person who did, she was amply rewarded. I'm not sure I would age it for another twenty-five years, but it had done more than simply hold on - it had transformed into something that it wasn't when it started. That's what you want from aging and that's my problem with most CdP, although I'll defer to Gerhard on that!
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
That's sorta typical, Jay. I find it damnably tough to predict how those high-alcohol wines will age. Guess I don't have enough data points
to predict!! Gotta pick up the pace, I guess.
Tom

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#68 Post by J a y H a c k » January 13th, 2020, 1:10 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am
GregT wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 11:27 am

We recently had a tasting of Turley Zins going back into the 90s and one of my favorites was the 1994, contrary to my expectations going in. It brought home the point that it's more than just the alcohol that one should consider. Based on that alone, I wouldn't have aged the wine. But for the person who did, she was amply rewarded. I'm not sure I would age it for another twenty-five years, but it had done more than simply hold on - it had transformed into something that it wasn't when it started. That's what you want from aging and that's my problem with most CdP, although I'll defer to Gerhard on that!
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
Everyone? I missed that dinner but the group we are talking about thinks that 14% is a swear word.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#69 Post by John Morris » January 13th, 2020, 7:54 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
And your point?

Sounds like what I'd expect from a top young Burgundy that needs 20+ years -- lots of tannin, acid, perhaps some stems and oak. Maybe it has great potential, maybe it doesn't, but by not naming it, you're preventing anyone with knowledge of the wine disagreeing with you. Perhaps instead it's just your preference for bigger, riper wines.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#70 Post by Adam Frisch » January 13th, 2020, 8:23 pm

Turley has come down a bit with Tegan at helm tho, hasn't it?
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#71 Post by PCLIN » January 13th, 2020, 8:37 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am

I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
Love this line, will borrow this for future TNs. [cheers.gif]
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#72 Post by John Morris » January 13th, 2020, 9:32 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 8:23 pm
Turley has come down a bit with Tegan at helm tho, hasn't it?
So everyone says, but I'm not sure that's true. I had the '17 Turley Bedrock zin this week and it's marked as 15.7% and tastes like it. We tasted it against the Bedrock Bedrock, Ridge Hooker Creek (from a part of Bedrock) and a Once and Future Bedrock -- all a percent or more lower in ABV -- and the Turley ranked last. (A Wilde Farms "natural" Bedrock was more feral than natural, so I don't count it.)
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#73 Post by Wes Barton » January 13th, 2020, 10:32 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:54 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
And your point?

Sounds like what I'd expect from a top young Burgundy that needs 20+ years -- lots of tannin, acid, perhaps some stems and oak. Maybe it has great potential, maybe it doesn't, but by not naming it, you're preventing anyone with knowledge of the wine disagreeing with you. Perhaps instead it's just your preference for bigger, riper wines.
Not a data point, just nuts. Maybe try taking a brand new Ferrari 8-track racing... Perhaps it would've been better blending in some Coke or Sprite?
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#74 Post by Jay Miller » January 14th, 2020, 4:01 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 1:10 pm
Jay Miller wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am
GregT wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 11:27 am

We recently had a tasting of Turley Zins going back into the 90s and one of my favorites was the 1994, contrary to my expectations going in. It brought home the point that it's more than just the alcohol that one should consider. Based on that alone, I wouldn't have aged the wine. But for the person who did, she was amply rewarded. I'm not sure I would age it for another twenty-five years, but it had done more than simply hold on - it had transformed into something that it wasn't when it started. That's what you want from aging and that's my problem with most CdP, although I'll defer to Gerhard on that!
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
Everyone? I missed that dinner but the group we are talking about thinks that 14% is a swear word.
You agreed :)

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#75 Post by Brian Gilp » January 14th, 2020, 5:07 am

John Morris wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 9:32 pm
(A Wilde Farms "natural" Bedrock was more feral than natural, so I don't count it.)
What was this? I thought I was aware of all of the Wilde Farm wines but unaware of a "natural" Bedrock. Unless they are all natural and I didn't realize it. I haven't had any bottles yet that I thought were feral but I have liked some vintages more than others.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#76 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 14th, 2020, 5:43 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
Sometimes wines designed for 20+ years of aging take a while to come together. They usually do, especially from well known producers with strong track records. Sometimes they simply suck....but not that often...unless big, hot, ripe, low-acidity wines float your boat. In which case, I'd imagine that most all young Burgs suck.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#77 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 14th, 2020, 5:55 am

Jay Miller wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
I simply don't get wines like that, but more and more accept that others not only do, but find aging increases their appeal. I foolishly bought a bunch of middling 2005 Right Bank Bordeaux and have been culling them at parties, gatherings, charity auctions, etc. I'm psyched that guests enjoy what I don't.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#78 Post by GregT » January 14th, 2020, 11:33 am

Jay Miller wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 10:11 am
GregT wrote:
January 4th, 2020, 11:27 am

We recently had a tasting of Turley Zins going back into the 90s and one of my favorites was the 1994, contrary to my expectations going in. It brought home the point that it's more than just the alcohol that one should consider. Based on that alone, I wouldn't have aged the wine. But for the person who did, she was amply rewarded. I'm not sure I would age it for another twenty-five years, but it had done more than simply hold on - it had transformed into something that it wasn't when it started. That's what you want from aging and that's my problem with most CdP, although I'll defer to Gerhard on that!
Just as a counterpoint I opened a 1995 Turley Zin at one of my blind dinners a few years ago and everyone agreed it was an alcoholic overripe mess.
Yep. That's actually what I expected. I wasn't making a claim for all Turleys all the time. Some of the younger wines were far more advanced. Part of it has to do with where the wine comes from - they do a lot of sites. And part of it has to do with the year, and part of it I really don't know. These were all Moore. The 1999 was a mess. The 1994 was fine. It had transformed into something quite delicious. Still ripe, but not obnoxious at all. And maybe ten years ago Mark Squires brought one to dinner, don't remember which, maybe Haynes and maybe 1997? and it was already passing its peak.

As an aside, I really don't know the history of Turley all that well, but this was one more data point for my theory that 1994 - 1996 was the inflection point for many CA wines.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#79 Post by J a y H a c k » January 14th, 2020, 6:32 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 4:01 am
. . .

You agreed :)

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90408&p=1275752&hil ... i#p1275752
No, I was not at that dinner. I have never had an Abatucci white. O was at your dinner where you poured one Abatucci, I think the Ministre Imperial.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#80 Post by J a y H a c k » January 14th, 2020, 6:40 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:54 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
And your point?

Sounds like what I'd expect from a top young Burgundy that needs 20+ years -- lots of tannin, acid, perhaps some stems and oak. Maybe it has great potential, maybe it doesn't, but by not naming it, you're preventing anyone with knowledge of the wine disagreeing with you. Perhaps instead it's just your preference for bigger, riper wines.
My point, of course, is that one would never expect a 2018 GC Burg to be drinkable right out of the bottle, so you would age it. Why you believe that a different result is inevitable from a Cali wine just because it has a high ABV is completely lacking in evidence when the only think you offer is the reviews of people who hate those wines in the first place.

Actually, my point was that our assessments of other people's tasting notes and comments are colored completely by our own preferences. Of course, there was no 2018 GC Burg. Even I am not stupid enough to open one. I was just making a point that people expect that California wines should be opened right out of the box but then they complain about age-ability with no evidence in a constantly predictable pattern, while no one who had the same response to a GC Burg would get the same commentary.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#81 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 15th, 2020, 8:09 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 6:40 pm
My point, of course, is that one would never expect a 2018 GC Burg to be drinkable right out of the bottle, so you would age it. Why you believe that a different result is inevitable from a Cali wine just because it has a high ABV is completely lacking in evidence when the only think you offer is the reviews of people who hate those wines in the first place.

Actually, my point was that our assessments of other people's tasting notes and comments are colored completely by our own preferences. Of course, there was no 2018 GC Burg. Even I am not stupid enough to open one. I was just making a point that people expect that California wines should be opened right out of the box but then they complain about age-ability with no evidence in a constantly predictable pattern, while no one who had the same response to a GC Burg would get the same commentary.
Jay, GC Burgs have had a reputation for quality going back several hundred years. Most GC AOCs were established in the 1930s. The wineries and vineyards have been there much longer. You just posted about Paso Robles producers to visit, implying a desire for bigger, riper styles. Very few of those producers existed 30 years ago and most of the vineyards weren't there 50 years ago. Preferences for increasing ripeness in Cali wines is, in general, recent. Not a tremendous overall track record for "high alcohol wines and aging".

This is undoubtedly a divisive issue in terms of assessing "quality"....but if you enjoy aged high alcohol wines, then please do and drink my share. [cheers.gif]

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#82 Post by J a y H a c k » January 15th, 2020, 9:17 am

Richard T r i m p i wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 8:09 am
. . . Not a tremendous overall track record for "high alcohol wines and aging". . . .
BINGO! Exactly my point. So why assume that high alcohol is synonymous with reduced aging potential? Patience is a virtue. Maybe Burgundy aged well for the past century because they added Algerian syrah or due to illegal chaptilization. Add to that the fact that there is plenty of high alcohol Rhone wine and high alcohol Barolo that ages so well. With the exception of the 2003 Chateau St. Jean La Combe des Fous, I have never had a notoriously high alcohol wine that "fell apart" on aging and the 1998 Aussie Shiraz that I have had recently, with its high alcohol, is wonderful. the 2003 LCDS was awful, but I think it was because they let the grapes hang too long in a very hot year, having nothing to do with ABV.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#83 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 15th, 2020, 10:21 am

Jay, Southern Rhone is a good example. I'm simply not a fan of the riper offerings...but many are, i.e.: RMP's 2007 "greatest vintage" ever. To get to higher alcohol (i.e.: 15%+), you need to let the grapes hang.

I'm not sure the evidence is consistent or documented with actual testing, but my understanding is that reported alcohol levels used to be lower for "great" table wines. I'm talking 1970s, 80s, 90s. With global warming, alcohol levels are creeping higher and higher. 15.5%+ used to be pretty rare....then 16%...then 17%. Seems like producers are more frequently hitting the non-fortified limits. High alcohol wines aren't new, they just never were so common, IMHO.

It's a great big wine world with a lot of options..and room for those who want aged ripeness. Then again...if ripeness is to be prized, why isn't Algeria among the world's most sought after terroirs?

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#84 Post by Wes Barton » January 15th, 2020, 1:19 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:17 am
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 8:09 am
. . . Not a tremendous overall track record for "high alcohol wines and aging". . . .
BINGO! Exactly my point. So why assume that high alcohol is synonymous with reduced aging potential? Patience is a virtue. Maybe Burgundy aged well for the past century because they added Algerian syrah or due to illegal chaptilization. Add to that the fact that there is plenty of high alcohol Rhone wine and high alcohol Barolo that ages so well. With the exception of the 2003 Chateau St. Jean La Combe des Fous, I have never had a notoriously high alcohol wine that "fell apart" on aging and the 1998 Aussie Shiraz that I have had recently, with its high alcohol, is wonderful. the 2003 LCDS was awful, but I think it was because they let the grapes hang too long in a very hot year, having nothing to do with ABV.
High ABV is not, in itself, something that could possibly reduce aging potential, per se. It is a preservative. You're more likely to have heat (another conversation), which may already be bothersome to some consumers in the young wine, and may become relatively more prominent as a wine matures.....or not.

I do think there's enough of a track record to examine. There's southern Europe to look around in. There's 50 years or so of California wines. Some producers, who clearly know what they're doing, have consistently made higher ABV wines that age well. Others, like Ridge, have always "gone with the flow" of a vintage and never factor brix into picking decisions (so ABVs of any long running wine range 3-3.5%). But, then, we had a fad of sorts, where novice winemakers saw all the praise riper wines were getting and jumped on board, not really knowing what they were doing, and some of their wines went to terrible places with age (and were often "controversial" young).

It's not a mystery of what factors are involved, scientifically. But, it is a very complex array of factors that aren't easy to master.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#85 Post by John Morris » January 15th, 2020, 8:55 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 6:40 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:54 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
And your point?

Sounds like what I'd expect from a top young Burgundy that needs 20+ years -- lots of tannin, acid, perhaps some stems and oak. Maybe it has great potential, maybe it doesn't, but by not naming it, you're preventing anyone with knowledge of the wine disagreeing with you. Perhaps instead it's just your preference for bigger, riper wines.
My point, of course, is that one would never expect a 2018 GC Burg to be drinkable right out of the bottle, so you would age it. Why you believe that a different result is inevitable from a Cali wine just because it has a high ABV is completely lacking in evidence when the only think you offer is the reviews of people who hate those wines in the first place. ...
My skepticism about the ageability of a lot of high alcohol wines isn't based on tasting them young, or on other people disliking them young. It's based on decades of tasting, and a lot of experience with high ABV wines at 10-20 years -- Turley and Martinelli, to name just two. My opinion is very much evidence-based.

As Wes says, alcohol alone isn't the determinate, plainly. I've had 15.5% wines that were enjoyable and where the alcohol didn't stand out. I have no idea of the chemistry that separates those from the ones that crack up and taste like lighter fluid with age. It's intriguing. But, based on experience, there are a lot of young, high ABV wines whose long-term viability seems very questionable to me.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#86 Post by John Morris » January 15th, 2020, 9:03 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:17 am
Add to that the fact that there is plenty of high alcohol Rhone wine and high alcohol Barolo that ages so well.
I don't know for sure, but I don't think there was a lot of 16% CdP before recent decades, and a lot of people here who bought 07s have been very disappointed when they've opened them in recently years.

If you go back a few decades, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find Northern Rhone syrah over 14%.

And I don't think there was much 15+% Barolo until the last decade either, and some of those from warm years (e.g., '07 and '09) are marred by alcohol that announces itself.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#87 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 16th, 2020, 9:07 am

John Morris wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:03 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:17 am
Add to that the fact that there is plenty of high alcohol Rhone wine and high alcohol Barolo that ages so well.
I don't know for sure, but I don't think there was a lot of 16% CdP before recent decades...
And I don't think there was much 15+% Barolo until the last decade either....
I agree John, and traditional aficionados of these wines are mostly not happy. That's not to say that others don't find certain riper elements appealing (i.e.: raisins, prunes, stewed fruit and "headiness").

Wes and Jay seem to be coming from more of a CA angle. That's where the ripeness thing really took off in recent decades, IMHO. And to be fair, those monster Martinellis, Turleys (and so many more) have found a receptive consumer base with collectors willing to age them.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#88 Post by Wes Barton » January 16th, 2020, 11:35 am

Richard T r i m p i wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 9:07 am
John Morris wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:03 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 15th, 2020, 9:17 am
Add to that the fact that there is plenty of high alcohol Rhone wine and high alcohol Barolo that ages so well.
I don't know for sure, but I don't think there was a lot of 16% CdP before recent decades...
And I don't think there was much 15+% Barolo until the last decade either....
I agree John, and traditional aficionados of these wines are mostly not happy. That's not to say that others don't find certain riper elements appealing (i.e.: raisins, prunes, stewed fruit and "headiness").

Wes and Jay seem to be coming from more of a CA angle. That's where the ripeness thing really took off in recent decades, IMHO. And to be fair, those monster Martinellis, Turleys (and so many more) have found a receptive consumer base with collectors willing to age them.

RT
Just stating the fact that ethanol isn't the factor. Not saying there isn't a significant statistical correlation. But, that doesn't mean we should bathe in snobby ignorance. Grape variety, site, training, vintage and so forth all impact the various ripening processes, as well as sugar accumulation in grapes. One generalization is at the same ripeness level, Zin averages about 1 brix higher than CS. I stated above that Ridge, for example, picking for optimal ripeness from the same grape variety, same site, over the years see an ABV variation of around 3-3.5%. But, we saw greedy recipe following lemmings try to recreate successful "riper" vintages by extending hang time, with often disastrous results. You can lose critical compounds with extended hang time. Depends. Also depends and depends.

Re: CdP, there's a ripeness range where those grapes can age well. Plenty of room to play with for preferences. But, there's going to be a point where more is not better. The '07s I've had have been disgusting. At the same time, I've had fairly mature to very mature examples that did just fine. We just did a blind tasting of mature Provencal reds - various "Rhone" grapes and blends. ("Rhone, as in most originating in Spain.) They were all really good. A few showed a little heat, which is not a positive for me, but not so much to cost them too much.

Pushing ripeness in Barolo is just dumb. So is new oak. It's clumsy ignorance-based attempts to resolve tannins and be more appealing, at the expense of quality. Lucky for them those vineyards stand up to that abuse, as they have for rustic winemaking. Some producers are just now figuring out how to make better wines (and it's an informed rustic, not with some wizz-bang manipulations.)

I have yet to have a Martinelli that isn't a bad joke on the wine industry.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#89 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 16th, 2020, 11:47 am

Wes Barton wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 11:35 am
I have yet to have a Martinelli that isn't a bad joke on the wine industry.
Wes, I've actually had a good Pinot or two, late 90s IIRC. Tasty, restrained and I almost fainted.

Maybe it is a bad joke (you won't see me buying), but you can't doubt the popularity. One man's meat.... which seems to be Jay's point.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#90 Post by John Morris » January 16th, 2020, 12:28 pm

Thanks for all your posts here, Wes. They've helped me (start to) understand why some big wines work and others don't.

It's been clear to me back to the 80s that zins can do well at higher alcohols than cabernet, and may even be better for it (up to some point).

Although grenache-based wines are seldom low in alcohol, they often seem to hit a wall at some point where isn't enough of something to sustain the alcohol. They can have a kind of hollowness -- a shell of alcohol with nothing in the mid-palate. What do you think that is that can go missing? In the worst cases, it's hollowness with a cooked fruit or porty set of tastes and a burn in the throat.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#91 Post by Wes Barton » January 16th, 2020, 3:03 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Thanks for all your posts here, Wes. They've helped me (start to) understand why some big wines work and others don't.

It's been clear to me back to the 80s that zins can do well at higher alcohols than cabernet, and may even be better for it (up to some point).

Although grenache-based wines are seldom low in alcohol, they often seem to hit a wall at some point where isn't enough of something to sustain the alcohol. They can have a kind of hollowness -- a shell of alcohol with nothing in the mid-palate. What do you think that is that can go missing? In the worst cases, it's hollowness with a cooked fruit or porty set of tastes and a burn in the throat.
It's not my favorite grape, but I've handled it for several vineyards and a few wineries. There's such a range of expressions, and it's been around so long, and is so widely planted, clonal diversity must be a big factor why I love some of it and can't stand much - even from favorite winemakers. It's got a reputation for being thin skinned and having uneven ripeness (also common with Zin), like Bates Ranch and Unti. We've gotten thick skinned, even ripeness dark fruit from Siletto and Cedar Lane. Our Sumu Kaw is about midway, with even ripeness. To contrast that, we had a Sicilian clone grafted there which is completely different and unlike any Grenache I've tried.

Generally, I think the thicker skinned (site plays a big role in that, too) ones just have a lot more "stuff" to age well. A thin skinned one, regardless of ripeness, isn't likely to age well without some blending help.

The "seldom low in alcohol" comment is interesting. I think that comes from fearful winemakers making dreadful mistakes, the same way they do with Zin. Instead of panicking and trying to get every grape fully ripe, at the expense of wine quality, masterful winemakers appreciate a range of ripeness. Optimal aromatics, good acid, maximal complexity rather than fuller fruit.

Even ripeness was a fairly modern over-reaction to badly uneven ripeness and over-cropping in Bordeaux. VSP was a big part of that, helping get better, more even quality out of that fairly cool region. Taking VSP to Napa seems to have been a mistake, where many of the old great Napa wines were from head-trained vines. Then again, you can still train for a wider range of ripeness or blend to get good complexity of that sort using VSP.

Then again, this did allow for a new style which depends on even ripeness. And meticulous sorting. That's the silky, polished, elegant and often dense wines, like a lot of Napa cults. Shriveled grapes taste concentrated. Raisinated grapes have a raisin taste. Wines made with some raisins in the mix can hide that some of the time, but that raisin taste does not fade the way fruity esters and other compounds do. I've definitely had wines that were big, "gorgeous" critic darlings young, but lost all their fruit with age, leaving a hollow/thin burny raisin water. Bleh.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#92 Post by Howard Cooper » January 16th, 2020, 7:09 pm

markjchambers wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 8:25 am
Turley Zins do age. Not sure they gain a lot, but they don't lose anything - at least when it comes to single vineyard releases. I just had an 08 Mead Ranch and it was great. Big and brambly blackberry fruit. No heat to speak of even though it's right around 16% ABV. I've heard that Carlisle and Bedrock Zins age well also, but I drink mine too fast to be able to personally attest to that.
To me, a wine that does gain a lot but does not lose anything is not aging. It is holding. Wines that age gain a lot.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#93 Post by Howard Cooper » January 16th, 2020, 7:21 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
January 14th, 2020, 6:40 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:54 pm
J a y H a c k wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 7:04 am
Last night, I had a 2018 grand cru Burgundy from a well known producer in Gevrey whose name I will omit to avoid giving him a bad rep. Raw, disjointed with no meaningful varietal characteristics noted because the harshness of the wine overpowered anything interesting that might have been hiding in the background. There was obvious stem inclusion that added to the harshness, and I thought I would need a tweezers to remove the oak splinters from my mouth.
And your point?

Sounds like what I'd expect from a top young Burgundy that needs 20+ years -- lots of tannin, acid, perhaps some stems and oak. Maybe it has great potential, maybe it doesn't, but by not naming it, you're preventing anyone with knowledge of the wine disagreeing with you. Perhaps instead it's just your preference for bigger, riper wines.
My point, of course, is that one would never expect a 2018 GC Burg to be drinkable right out of the bottle, so you would age it. Why you believe that a different result is inevitable from a Cali wine just because it has a high ABV is completely lacking in evidence when the only think you offer is the reviews of people who hate those wines in the first place.

Actually, my point was that our assessments of other people's tasting notes and comments are colored completely by our own preferences. Of course, there was no 2018 GC Burg. Even I am not stupid enough to open one. I was just making a point that people expect that California wines should be opened right out of the box but then they complain about age-ability with no evidence in a constantly predictable pattern, while no one who had the same response to a GC Burg would get the same commentary.
strawman Most (but certainly not all) grand cru Burgs are made to be aged. In California, there are many wines made to age and that have a long history of aging well (e.g., Ridge, Montelena, Dunn, Mount Eden, Stony Hill, to name a few) but there are many others made to show best at a young age. strawman strawman strawman
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#94 Post by David Glasser » January 17th, 2020, 4:59 am

Wes Barton wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:03 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 12:28 pm
Thanks for all your posts here, Wes. They've helped me (start to) understand why some big wines work and others don't.

It's been clear to me back to the 80s that zins can do well at higher alcohols than cabernet, and may even be better for it (up to some point).

Although grenache-based wines are seldom low in alcohol, they often seem to hit a wall at some point where isn't enough of something to sustain the alcohol. They can have a kind of hollowness -- a shell of alcohol with nothing in the mid-palate. What do you think that is that can go missing? In the worst cases, it's hollowness with a cooked fruit or porty set of tastes and a burn in the throat.
It's not my favorite grape, but I've handled it for several vineyards and a few wineries. There's such a range of expressions, and it's been around so long, and is so widely planted, clonal diversity must be a big factor why I love some of it and can't stand much - even from favorite winemakers. It's got a reputation for being thin skinned and having uneven ripeness (also common with Zin), like Bates Ranch and Unti. We've gotten thick skinned, even ripeness dark fruit from Siletto and Cedar Lane. Our Sumu Kaw is about midway, with even ripeness. To contrast that, we had a Sicilian clone grafted there which is completely different and unlike any Grenache I've tried.

Generally, I think the thicker skinned (site plays a big role in that, too) ones just have a lot more "stuff" to age well. A thin skinned one, regardless of ripeness, isn't likely to age well without some blending help.

The "seldom low in alcohol" comment is interesting. I think that comes from fearful winemakers making dreadful mistakes, the same way they do with Zin. Instead of panicking and trying to get every grape fully ripe, at the expense of wine quality, masterful winemakers appreciate a range of ripeness. Optimal aromatics, good acid, maximal complexity rather than fuller fruit.

Even ripeness was a fairly modern over-reaction to badly uneven ripeness and over-cropping in Bordeaux. VSP was a big part of that, helping get better, more even quality out of that fairly cool region. Taking VSP to Napa seems to have been a mistake, where many of the old great Napa wines were from head-trained vines. Then again, you can still train for a wider range of ripeness or blend to get good complexity of that sort using VSP.

Then again, this did allow for a new style which depends on even ripeness. And meticulous sorting. That's the silky, polished, elegant and often dense wines, like a lot of Napa cults. Shriveled grapes taste concentrated. Raisinated grapes have a raisin taste. Wines made with some raisins in the mix can hide that some of the time, but that raisin taste does not fade the way fruity esters and other compounds do. I've definitely had wines that were big, "gorgeous" critic darlings young, but lost all their fruit with age, leaving a hollow/thin burny raisin water. Bleh.
The CdP comments are interesting. I’ve become very intolerant of what I perceive as a sickly sweet confected nature that I associate (rightly or wrongly) with very ripe Grenache. A lot of 2007s had this in spades and it seems like they’ve actually made me more aware and less tolerant of that characteristic in CdP. Of course those tend to be high alcohol wines as well but I’m not sensing alcoholic heat or burning so much. It’s the antifreeze-like sweetness that kills these wines for me.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#95 Post by John Morris » January 17th, 2020, 7:42 am

Wes Barton wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:03 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 12:28 pm
....
Although grenache-based wines are seldom low in alcohol, they often seem to hit a wall at some point where isn't enough of something to sustain the alcohol. They can have a kind of hollowness -- a shell of alcohol with nothing in the mid-palate. What do you think that is that can go missing? In the worst cases, it's hollowness with a cooked fruit or porty set of tastes and a burn in the throat.
....
The "seldom low in alcohol" comment is interesting. I think that comes from fearful winemakers making dreadful mistakes, the same way they do with Zin. Instead of panicking and trying to get every grape fully ripe, at the expense of wine quality, masterful winemakers appreciate a range of ripeness. Optimal aromatics, good acid, maximal complexity rather than fuller fruit.
...
I just meant that, except perhaps for badly overcropped plonk (I remember some at Trader Joes 25 years ago), I don't think there ever was a lot of 12 or 12.5% grenache from the Southern Rhone, even though the Cotes du Rhone appellation rules only set a minimum of 12%.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#96 Post by John Morris » January 17th, 2020, 7:43 am

Wes Barton wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:03 pm
Then again, this did allow for a new style which depends on even ripeness. And meticulous sorting. That's the silky, polished, elegant and often dense wines, like a lot of Napa cults. Shriveled grapes taste concentrated. Raisinated grapes have a raisin taste. Wines made with some raisins in the mix can hide that some of the time, but that raisin taste does not fade the way fruity esters and other compounds do. I've definitely had wines that were big, "gorgeous" critic darlings young, but lost all their fruit with age, leaving a hollow/thin burny raisin water. Bleh.
That's very interesting, and would explain why some very big wines become quite raisiny with age.
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#97 Post by Otto Forsberg » January 18th, 2020, 5:32 am

I find it weird how nobody mentions acidity and especially pH in relation to the aging capabilities of the wine (apart from one William Kelley's post in the previous page).

Alcohol is a preservative and high alcohol on its own certainly doesn't decrease the aging potential of a wine. If you had two otherwise identical wines, but the other one at 12% alcohol and the other one at 15% alcohol, most likely the latter one would age better because it had 3% less water and a corresponding amount more of alcohol. Port wine is a great example of alcohol's protective qualities: it might be very low in acidity with high pH, yet they age like crazy due to their high levels of alcohol and residual sugar.

However, the alcohol in these wines - as we all know - comes from fortification. In order to accumulate higher alcohol in wines naturally, you have to get more sugar in grapes, i.e. get the more ripeness in grapes. As grapes ripen, they accumulate more sugar, but their acidity levels drop and pH soars. This is one of the key points in making wines that can last for ages: the preservative qualities of higher alcohol often do not replace fully the diminished preservative qualities of lower acidity and/or higher pH. This change always depends on the grape variety and clone; some might accumulate more sugar while keeping higher levels of acidity as they ripen, others might drop their acidity before the the sugar levels start to soar, etc.

While the aforementioned Nebbiolo is normally quite high in alcohol, it tends to keep its acidity quite high up to 14%. However, often the acidity starts to drop as the grapes have accumulated the potential alcohol of 14,5-15%, which is why it is hard to assess the aging capabilities of these high-alcohol Barolo and Barbaresco wines; we've have not had them in the past and the first ones have not aged long enough so that we can tell.

Grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are a whole different story altogether. They come from a cool region, where they've normally gained 12,5-13% alcohol and high acidity. One can certainly make it go ripe up to 16% ABV, but this kind of wine most likely requires lots of intervention (acidity corrections) to keep the wine at least somewhat stable. They might be able to age to some extent due to the preservative qualities of high alcohol, but most likely aging processes happen rather rapidly due to their high pH (let alone the completely diminished protective qualities of SO2 in such a high-pH environment).

And I've certainly noticed that same raisiny thing Wes mentioned: wines made from raisiny grapes tend to have a raisiny taste - even though the youthful primary fruit can mask this for some while.

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#98 Post by William Kelley » January 18th, 2020, 6:34 am

In addition to the acidity question, Otto, we should also be talking about what happens to the tannins of physiologically over-ripe grapes. Clark Smith has this to say about field oxidation and its impact on a wine's redox chemistry: http://postmodernwinemaking.com/field-oxidation
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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#99 Post by Otto Forsberg » January 18th, 2020, 6:59 am

William Kelley wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 6:34 am
In addition to the acidity question, Otto, we should also be talking about what happens to the tannins of physiologically over-ripe grapes. Clark Smith has this to say about field oxidation and its impact on a wine's redox chemistry: http://postmodernwinemaking.com/field-oxidation
Seems interesting. However, I don't understand what the writer is trying to say with "A typical Napa Cab Sauv will take up 60 – 80 mls of oxygen for a month." What amount of Napa Cab? A bottle? A litre? A gallon? A 225-liter barrique?

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Re: High alcohol wines and aging

#100 Post by Dennis Borczon » January 18th, 2020, 7:26 am

William Kelley wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 6:34 am
In addition to the acidity question, Otto, we should also be talking about what happens to the tannins of physiologically over-ripe grapes. Clark Smith has this to say about field oxidation and its impact on a wine's redox chemistry: http://postmodernwinemaking.com/field-oxidation
Very cool. Yet another variable and another level of understanding why you would pick perfectly ripe, but not overripe fruit. This winemaking stuff aint' like brewing beer!!!

Better understanding of what truly "physiologically ripe" is should include the state of tannins in the skins, if I understand the article correctly. I have heard winemakers talk about young Cabernet "eating up" large amounts of oxygen. This seems to explain why and also what has made the Aussie fruit bombs what they are. Enlightening....

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