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What are the most contentious issues in wine right now?


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#1 Rebel Rose

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:32 AM

Are we still stuck on the screwcap vs. cork issue? How passe. Clearly wine shipping laws aren't going to change in the next millenium ...

What about filtration? Use of sulfites? Additions of copper? Is 'biodynamic' real or marketing bullshit? Overpriced American wine?

If you could get all up in a winemaker's grill about anything, what would it be? What would YOU really like to ask a winemaker?

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#2 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:07 AM

I'd like to ask winemakers how they can concience selling their barrel musts to Ecuador for the production of some truly horrendously awful sloosh wines.
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#3 Edible Arts

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:22 PM

Screwcap vs. cork is still an issue given that questions about aging have not been thoroughly answered and as screw cap technology improves. The debate about alcohol levels is still with us, moderated perhaps by some less than ideal weather in California in the recent past, and will likely return. If winemakers increasingly focus on the science behind biodynamics and leave the metaphysical mumbo jumbo behind, that issue can be laid to rest. And proposals to list ingredients on wine labels will continue as an issue.

If I were to get into a winemaker's grill about anything it would be keep your acidity integrated--I'm tired of sour finishes.

#4 Rebel Rose

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:47 PM

I'd like to ask winemakers how they can concience selling their barrel musts to Ecuador for the production of some truly horrendously awful sloosh wines.


Do you mean barrel LEES? Because must does not exist in a barrel ...

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#5 Rebel Rose

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:50 PM

Screwcap vs. cork is still an issue given that questions about aging have not been thoroughly answered and as screw cap technology improves. The debate about alcohol levels is still with us, moderated perhaps by some less than ideal weather in California in the recent past, and will likely return. If winemakers increasingly focus on the science behind biodynamics and leave the metaphysical mumbo jumbo behind, that issue can be laid to rest. And proposals to list ingredients on wine labels will continue as an issue.

If I were to get into a winemaker's grill about anything it would be keep your acidity integrated--I'm tired of sour finishes.


Great points. And thank you for pointing out the acidity issue! Some wines have such sharp acidity they will never come into balance, even with age. And some wines that are perceived as being 'acidic' or 'mineral' clearly (to a producer) taste artificially acidified. And if it isn't that, it's "phat" wines ... wine with such a high pH that reviewers love them fresh out of the gate, but they don't have enough acidity to age for even 5 years ...

It's a tightrope, for sure, and one I wish consumers were more familiar with.

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#6 Dexter

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:37 PM

Totally agree with the above. I'll toss in, for your consideration:

100 point rating scales, and Robert Parker's influence.

#7 Rebel Rose

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:48 PM

Is he still alive? (Just kidding. I think.)

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#8 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:42 AM


I'd like to ask winemakers how they can concience selling their barrel musts to Ecuador for the production of some truly horrendously awful sloosh wines.


Do you mean barrel LEES? Because must does not exist in a barrel ...


Yes, lees. Apologies - I spent most of that day speaking Spanish and Kichua, and my English took a while to fire back up, obviously. I still find it unconsionable.
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#9 Rebel Rose

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:50 AM

I don't even know about this trend. Who is selling must? There 'must' be a lot of it to make the freight worthwhile ...
Is the must coming from another country near Ecuador? Why is it unconscionable? Wouldn't it be the fault of the buyer, who is buying crap and making awful wine? I'm truly curious!

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#10 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:29 AM

It's the fault of the wineries (in many other countries, but particularly Chile, Argentina, France, and Italy) that sell their dregs to unscrupulous Ecuadorian companies, who then sloosh them up with cheap aguardiente and package the result as "wine." It's also the fault of the companies that buy the dregs and repackage them as "wine".

I find it unconsionable because Ecuador does have a fledgeling wine industry based in its sierra that actually produces some rather stellar vintages, particularly Malbec and Sirah, which this whole debacle with repackaging lees serves to obscure and devalue. I will take a bottle of Conde de la Cruz Malbec over a similar Chilean or Argentine wine of the same age and grape any day, but only because I've taken the time to wade through the crap "wine" made in the manner I state above, to find the real wineries. If you search on Ecuadorian wines, you'll likely come back with a number of results saying "horrid, skip it" and that's because of the sludge peddlars.

Grrrr.
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#11 Rebel Rose

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:53 AM

I had no idea. Bravo to you for calling them out on it. Are the wines produced in the sierras exported to the US, do you know? Or are they small productions that sell out regionally? It sounds as though you would love to get your hands on everything they produce. :)

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#12 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 10:08 AM

If they are exported, it's on a very small scale and only to areas that have both an Ecuadorian community and one that drinks wine. This is, however, in keeping with the size of the wineries - Conde de la Cruz, for example, corks only about 2,000 bottles in any given year. Even locally, I have only found their wines at one small liquor store whose owners have contacts in Cuenca. I'm also eagerly awaiting the five-year aged Tunguraha vintages - their 2005 and 2006 Sirah was exquisite, and I have high hopes for the 2007, which was a bumper year for the grapes. They should also be releasing their Italian styles this year, particularly the Lambrusco, which is a wine I truly adore but which is very difficult to get here.

There are a couple of coastal vineyards that have larger corkages and are available nationally, but I prefer the flavours of the sierra-based wineries. (It has to do with the climate and soils - Cuenca, Riobamba, and Ambato, where the sierra wineries are based, have eternal springtime weather and soils fed by fresh volcanic ash. It makes for some amazingly complex grapes. The coast is richer, loamier soil and eternal summertime weather, which is ideal for great whites but produces inferior reds.)
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#13 LPShanet

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 09:56 PM

Although others seem not to care much, I personally do still have a major issue with the use of "biodynamics". While there are quite a few accidental benefits that sometimes may occur to the same people who employ biodynamics, the actual requirements of biodynamics are 100% nonsense. It's all poop-filled animal horns, magic spells, bogus "energy" manipulation and disproven homeopathy, and very little tangible farming technique, despite what people think. There is more misinformation about biodynamics than there is correct information out there, and presenting it as science or reality is a total sham. If biodynamic wines turn out well, it has nothing to do with biodynamics, and everything to do with the fact that people who care that much about their crops will treat them better and give them more attention of the relevant kind. Credit should go to them and not the fakery, and being biodynamic should not be held up as a mark or standard of quality.

The benefits of organics on the end product are debatable enough, but biodynamics takes it to the level of pure bunk, on par with saying that the wine was raised via unicorn blessing. Time to start understanding why a particular wine came out well in a way that is reproducible and therefore useful.

Edited by LPShanet, 22 August 2012 - 09:58 PM.


#14 Wickmans

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:08 AM

Hey Mary..
Good topic.. (and nice blog btw)..

Two hot topics down here are definitely screwcap vs cork... and good one Dexter.. 100 point scale vs 20 or whatever arbitrary figure you would care to use.

Personally I have been toying with a three point system..
1) Down the throat
2) Down the sink
3) Down the cellar
Cheers
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#15 FoodyBorris

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:58 AM

Probably the thing that regularly irritates me the most in that some producers sell their products at prices that are not justified - ie too expensive. And the supermarkets' role in this.

I know you can try something, decide it isn't worth the money and never buy it again. But why should I?

These days I use the Wine Society in the UK to buy most of my wine through. They are a fundamentally different type of entity to shops, etc. To become a member of the Wine Society, you buy a share in them. They exist to buy wines on behalf of their members and to sell the wines to their members. They do not sell wines generally. They have no "profit" motive - their role is simply an average break-even point. They have buyers dedicated to the regions. If a given wine in a given year is of poor quality, they simply don't buy it. The buyers are employed on behalf of the members and are there to serve the members' interests only.

A supermarket has buyers for entirely different purposes. Thus two £10 bottles (or two $20 bottles if you wish) can give you one pleasant surprise and one massive disappointment.

I doubt that much is going to change here. But that would be my topic to raise with wine makers. Although the odds are that the ones present for the conversation are the ones delivering the pleasantly surprising bottle anyway!
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#16 nickrey

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:39 PM

One emerging and growing area of contention is rising levels of alcohol in wine. There is a strong view that this fashion is causing homogeneity in the flavour of wine and that they lack subtlety and finesse. While global warming is likely to be one of the causes, there is also a view that this trend is being driven by the preferences of influential writers (did I see Robert Parker's name mentioned earlier?).

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#17 Wickmans

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 03:47 PM

One emerging and growing area of contention is rising levels of alcohol in wine. There is a strong view that this fashion is causing homogeneity in the flavour of wine and that they lack subtlety and finesse. While global warming is likely to be one of the causes, there is also a view that this trend is being driven by the preferences of influential writers (did I see Robert Parker's name mentioned earlier?).


Good point Nick, although I believe that very few wine consumers (at least in Australia) care any more for Parkers opinion, at least not on Australian wine anyway. I believe most consumers have found other pastures for their wine opinion grazing.
Cheers
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#18 naguere

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:43 AM

It is between me and my Doctor...

one glass a day... Pah

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#19 nickrey

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:18 PM

Love the high quality crystal. ;)

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Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
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