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Do what you like – I don’t really care!

What does this quote:

Unless it’s Zinfandel or Port, a 15.5% alcohol wine is not good. It may not be bad. But it’s not good. Though I can appreciate a firm slap in the face, that never feels nearly as good as a sweet caress on one’s cheek.

and this video:

have in common? Preferences.

The quote is by Tom Wark at Fermentation. Great blog, DUMB statement. If this was true than the stunning Monastrells I tasted last month while in Alicante must have really sucked! Monastrell, grown in the regions of Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla, ripens much like Zinfandel in California. For Tom not to have included an “In my experience” with the above statement seems a little short-sighted. If he only was talking about California wines, well then, I apologize. The debate he talks about is an interesting one, and in truth, I agree with the main premise of the argument that Tom is making. On the other hand, broad sweeping statements not based in fact…well you know what I mean.

As for the video, most wine geeks might cringe. Wine over ice with lemon? What has the world come to?! I really can only say, “get your nose out of your glass and realize that wine is meant to be fun!” GET OVER IT! Do I personally want this drink? NO. Do I care that others do? NO. Let wine drinkers have fun. Oh, and don’t go telling me that this is the downfall of fine wine and that we are losing our wine culture because of it. You’ll never see Alvaro Palacio jump to create the first Priorat based Sangria, but you will notice people putting ICE IN THEIR WINES as they’ve done for decades, and it’s OK to do it.

So back to the unifying theme – preferences. People have different preferences. They always have and they always will. My friend Bill doesn’t like sherry. Do I think he’s nuts not to like it? Sure I do! But I’ll never let his preferences deter me from enjoying this noble beverage. If people want to drink wines that have silly over the top alcohol levels, why should I care (never mind the 15% in a glass of fino)? There will always be people out creating wines that have lower alcohol and bigger body, but few who do the reverse. Personally, I pour vermouth over ice and mix it with soda. Tastes great! I had a 15% Monastrell with steak after I finished my vermouth, followed by a 12% Tempranillo after the meal, and then a 18% cream sherry to finish the night off. Oh no, what wine laws I have broken!

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is falling!

Seriously. Let the market decide. If someone likes to drink 15% California Cabernet, good for them. If you can’t find a restaurant without “big” wines on their list, don’t go there. If you want to put ice in your wine, well you don’t need Stormhoek to do it. Whining about things like this only takes away from my pursuit of new wines to try!

Tom ends his statement with this:

Here’s hoping that many more folks in the media and many more consumers take Dunn’s advice and start asking for a sweet caress rather than a slap in the face.

Maybe some people like being slapped around? I’m not one to judge, on the other hand, no one that I’ve ever met has been forced to drink a wine. If you don’t like it don’t drink it. If only the French or New Zealanders (as taken from Tom) are making wines that fit the bill, then kudos to them.

I’m done now, back to my 15% fino sherry,

Ryan Opaz

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