Catavino keeps you current not only with the remarkable wine developments in Spain and Portugal, two of the most dynamic wine producers on the planet, but you'll learn about food trends, new dishes and restaurants and the ancient and modern cultures on the Iberian Peninsula. And you may not notice it, but Catavino also happens to be one of smoothest designed websites you'll have the pleasure of visiting.
Doug Frost MS/MW http://dougfrost.com

Full Disclosure in the Wine World and a Few Little Known Secrets

Bulk Wine

Don’t let the title deceive you, because this post is not what you think it’s going to be about. We at Catavino have already laid out our rules of disclosure, and hope that we’re abiding by a code of conduct that is both fair and even handed. But ironically, this is not the type of disclosure I want to talk about. What I want to ask everyone is this: should a winery be honest with the consumer about their winemaking practices? Should they honestly tell us how a wine is made? Should they honestly tell us everything they do? Does it really matter? And if it doesn’t matter, why bother telling us anything at all?

I ask this question after coming off three weeks of wine tasting, while listening to over fifty wineries try and convince me that what they do is different and sets them apart from others. I’ve heard how they use X type of oak on there wines in various combinations and with various ages of barrels. I’ve listen to the way they gently set their grapes in boxes of no more than 12-15 kgs, restricting themselves to only one layer, or maybe two at the very most. How they cold macerate their wines for 1, 2, 3…day, or that handpicking grapes is ideal, but adjusting acidity is bad. Don’t forget that pumping over is also bad(sometimes), but of course, gravity is good. Etc..etc…etc…snore………………………

The truth is, I’m sick of it!!! Not because I’m bored with the process, but rather I don’t know what to believe. Every winemaker I meet seems to have a new and revolutionary way of draining their wine from one barrel to the next in hopes of causing less trauma. One day I expect to hear that some new winery will just give you the barrel when you want to buy the wine, but you’ll need to consume the wine at the winery so as not to disturb it before you’ve had a chance to taste it. Generally, this information is fine, and sometimes even interesting, but unfortunately, much of it is BULL.

Now, I have no intention in turning this post into a Jerry Springer tell all show. Hence, I will not be sharing names, nor will I be calling out anyone as a liar, but I will tell you some facts that fellow wine writers know to be true, but fellow winedrinkers, may not. Things that

  1. Fact #1: There are Parker 90+point wines that use mechanical harvesters to collect grapes and claim to only harvest by hand. Does it matter? Do you care when they tell you this? I thought wine was better if it’s from hand harvested grapes.
  2. Fact #2: Wineries sell wine from one DO to another to use when grape shortages occur or when wines need some extra color or extract. Illegal? Yes! Common? Hell yes!
  3. Fact #3: Some wineries will admit to adding acidity, while others claim they never adjust acidity. Do we care? I don’t, but why lie that you don’t?
  4. Fact #4: Wineries frequently blend their wines as we all know. This is important to understand because in many regions, wineries are required to only list the grapes that make up X% of the wine. If the variety does not reach this percentage, the winery can choose not to list the grape at all. Does this bother anyone? 100% Tempranillo wine with 5% Garnacha? I don’t care, but then again, why not tell us?
  5. Fact #5: Second labels. I know of a few wines currently in the US that are the same wine in different bottles. More frequently, you’ll find different labels for different countries/importers. Should we care? This is not the winery lying per se, but rather trying to sell extra wine to different markets. I can’t blame them for that. But what if these two wines received different ratings?
  6. Fact #6: Oak aged wines that come in under 10euros/dollars/pounds are 9.9 times out of ten flavored with chips/oak slats/oak tea bags. “Aged in French Oak” should read, “Aged with French oak”. We like our vanilla, but do we mind that there is no cellar? Other examples of sketchy wine making include Mega Purple.
  7. Fact #7: That 14.5% alcohol wine is actually 15% or more. Some places the rules are tighter than others, but in the end, it’s fashionable right now to be lower in alcohol, so winemakers do their best to reflect this! As we all know Cali Zin is a frequent culprit in this false hood.

In the end, none of these practices really bother me(some more than others). What does bother me is the wink-wink a winery might give me, or the slight pause before answering certain questions. Anyone that tastes and visits wineries knows what I mean. For me, the answer is simple. If the product is good and true to itself, why lie? I know the consumer has a romantic view that wineries need to cultivate, and that marketing can be more important than the wine, but really! Omission is one thing, but flat out lying about the way you make your wine is something else?

The real point I want to make is this. I do not want to see wine labels that look like this FDA debacle, where wineries have to label everything that ends up in a bottle. But I also want to know what the truth is behind the process.

What do you think? Do you care? Should wineries care? Any winemakers out there have any secrets they need to get off their chest? Let us know what you think!!

Cheers,

I am making no claims that any winery we visited or whose wines we tasted in the last week are telling lies. In truth we don’t know. This is more a series of thoughts that have built up over time.
Ryan Opaz

  • Taster B

    I agree–First of all wine-making has been going on for thousands of years and while there have been many refinements over the centuries, I don't think the gentleness with which one gets the juice from point A to point B is going to make a noticeable difference in the final product. However, I do believe that a wine maker's passion will make a difference, and if he thinks that massaging the grapes makes a better wine then, so be it! Also, there are a lot of consumers who don't want to hear that a wine was flavored by chips rather than being aged in a barrel (even though chips are the much more ecological choice these days), or that the juice was manipulated to achieve the balance they find in their glass, but, you are so right: lying about it is just dishonest. Not everyone expects their wine to be 100% un-manipulated, and those of us that don't understand that there are certain "adjustments" that the wine-maker makes in the interest of producing what he believes to be a better product. On the other hand, some mystery to maintain the romance is ok too. ;)

  • Tom

    Interesting. Another for the list? Many wineries know little about the additives, flavourings and so on that they chuck in the wine. My dad, who lives in Australia, is a big wine fan and was fortunate enough to meet the scientific director of a major Australian winery. Talking about a susceptibility to certain wines (they make him sick, and I suffer from this too), the wine science chap basically said that yes, there are plenty of people who get that sort of thing, that one day someone will be proven to have died from it and the industry will be hit by some sort of class action lawsuit and that frankly, they know very little about the stuff they add to the wine. A lot of the time they add it because it's on the recipe, but they have little understanding of how these ingredients react with each other or with the human who ends up consuming them.

  • Gabriella

    Tom, Your comment reminds me of an article (<a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…we wrote last year on the Food and Drug Administration's desire to place a warning on all wine bottles of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish. In my article, I denounced it, claiming that it was ridiculous to add, yet another, warning to our labels. However, it now makes me pause in light of what you said. As we've written above, wineries have tended to obscure the facts, preferring to share only what is in their best interest, but not of those for whom their affecting. Not that I'm suggesting we list every possible chemical that could potentially harm a human on the bottle, but I do wonder if we shouldn't be advocating a full disclosure policy on their website or elsewhere. I'm far from a purist, believing that wine should only be made the "natural" way, but I do believe in honesty and integrity.

  • Gabriella

    Tom, Your comment reminds me of an article (<a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…we wrote last year on the Food and Drug Administration's desire to place a warning on all wine bottles of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish. In my article, I denounced it, claiming that it was ridiculous to add, yet another, warning to our labels. However, it now makes me pause in light of what you said. As we've written above, wineries have tended to obscure the facts, preferring to share only what is in their best interest, but not of those for whom their affecting. Not that I'm suggesting we list every possible chemical that could potentially harm a human on the bottle, but I do wonder if we shouldn't be advocating a full disclosure policy on their website or elsewhere. I'm far from a purist, believing that wine should only be made the "natural" way, but I do believe in honesty and integrity.

  • Gabriella

    Tom, Your comment reminds me of an article (<a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…we wrote last year on the Food and Drug Administration's desire to place a warning on all wine bottles of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish. In my article, I denounced it, claiming that it was ridiculous to add, yet another, warning to our labels. However, it now makes me pause in light of what you said. As we've written above, wineries have tended to obscure the facts, preferring to share only what is in their best interest, but not of those for whom their affecting. Not that I'm suggesting we list every possible chemical that could potentially harm a human on the bottle, but I do wonder if we shouldn't be advocating a full disclosure policy on their website or elsewhere. I'm far from a purist, believing that wine should only be made the "natural" way, but I do believe in honesty and integrity.

  • Gabriella

    Tom, Your comment reminds me of an article (<a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…“><a href="http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-…we wrote last year on the Food and Drug Administration's desire to place a warning on all wine bottles of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish. In my article, I denounced it, claiming that it was ridiculous to add, yet another, warning to our labels. However, it now makes me pause in light of what you said. As we've written above, wineries have tended to obscure the facts, preferring to share only what is in their best interest, but not of those for whom their affecting. Not that I'm suggesting we list every possible chemical that could potentially harm a human on the bottle, but I do wonder if we shouldn't be advocating a full disclosure policy on their website or elsewhere. I'm far from a purist, believing that wine should only be made the "natural" way, but I do believe in honesty and integrity.

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  • http://smellslikegrape.blogspot.com Taster B

    I agree–First of all wine-making has been going on for thousands of years and while there have been many refinements over the centuries, I don’t think the gentleness with which one gets the juice from point A to point B is going to make a noticeable difference in the final product.
    However, I do believe that a wine maker’s passion will make a difference, and if he thinks that massaging the grapes makes a better wine then, so be it!
    Also, there are a lot of consumers who don’t want to hear that a wine was flavored by chips rather than being aged in a barrel (even though chips are the much more ecological choice these days), or that the juice was manipulated to achieve the balance they find in their glass, but, you are so right: lying about it is just dishonest. Not everyone expects their wine to be 100% un-manipulated, and those of us that don’t understand that there are certain “adjustments” that the wine-maker makes in the interest of producing what he believes to be a better product. On the other hand, some mystery to maintain the romance is ok too. ;)

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  • http://www.thebadrash.com Tom

    Interesting. Another for the list? Many wineries know little about the additives, flavourings and so on that they chuck in the wine. My dad, who lives in Australia, is a big wine fan and was fortunate enough to meet the scientific director of a major Australian winery. Talking about a susceptibility to certain wines (they make him sick, and I suffer from this too), the wine science chap basically said that yes, there are plenty of people who get that sort of thing, that one day someone will be proven to have died from it and the industry will be hit by some sort of class action lawsuit and that frankly, they know very little about the stuff they add to the wine. A lot of the time they add it because it’s on the recipe, but they have little understanding of how these ingredients react with each other or with the human who ends up consuming them.

  • Jeff

    I certainly have a more positive attitude towards a wine I believe to have been made in smaller quantities and with unquestionable practices. But to some extent, what isn't made in a way that is different than the prevailing industry likes to describe it? I think a certain "romanticism" (which also gets old) is somewhat necessary to maintaining a positive consumer image. After all, you probably don't publicize things which may hinder your sales efforts but you promote the positive and what the consumer wants to hear about.. I just don't see how being completely truthful about wine-making practices across the board would help anyone. I personally feel that I would get bored or just not care if I were to have access to the more technical details every time. Then again, maybe there is an exposé or book deal to be had here…

  • Ryan

    Jeff I agree with you, competely. The thing is I want to believe in a little romance, I'm just not sure if lying about it is ok. I'm all for omission, just not falsehoods.

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    Tom,
    Your comment reminds me of an article (http://www.catavino.net/2007/01/28/wine-labeling-law/) we wrote last year on the Food and Drug Administration’s desire to place a warning on all wine bottles of possible food allergens from eggs, wheat and fish. In my article, I denounced it, claiming that it was ridiculous to add, yet another, warning to our labels. However, it now makes me pause in light of what you said. As we’ve written above, wineries have tended to obscure the facts, preferring to share only what is in their best interest, but not of those for whom their affecting. Not that I’m suggesting we list every possible chemical that could potentially harm a human on the bottle, but I do wonder if we shouldn’t be advocating a full disclosure policy on their website or elsewhere.

    I’m far from a purist, believing that wine should only be made the “natural” way, but I do believe in honesty and integrity.

  • http://www.americanwinery.com Jeff

    I certainly have a more positive attitude towards a wine I believe to have been made in smaller quantities and with unquestionable practices. But to some extent, what isn’t made in a way that is different than the prevailing industry likes to describe it?

    I think a certain “romanticism” (which also gets old) is somewhat necessary to maintaining a positive consumer image. After all, you probably don’t publicize things which may hinder your sales efforts but you promote the positive and what the consumer wants to hear about.. I just don’t see how being completely truthful about wine-making practices across the board would help anyone. I personally feel that I would get bored or just not care if I were to have access to the more technical details every time.

    Then again, maybe there is an exposé or book deal to be had here…

  • http://www.obiscoito.com Ryan

    Jeff I agree with you, competely. The thing is I want to believe in a little romance, I’m just not sure if lying about it is ok. I’m all for omission, just not falsehoods.

  • -Victor-

    An interesting thread and I must weigh in here … Re:Manipulation of wines in Rioja and elsewhere and full disclosure of a maker's techniques. Techniques like chapitalization and acidification and cross-sourcing are only the tip of the iceberg in the new technological era of winemaking. All too common these days are techniques such as micro-oxygenation and mega-purple/mega-red which should be more of a concern to a consumer, and why these and other manipulations are being used more and more. Winemaker's are reluctant to talk about them but I have seen micro-oxygenation particularly popping up everywhere in recent years even yes, in Rioja. The mega-colourants are common, especially in California, although winemakers won't talk about them. Winemaking and the resulting regional "styles" have developed over many generations in most cases are a maker's response to his 'terroir'. Certain grapes thrive in certain climatic and soil conditions and the winemakers/growers responded by planting the correct varietals by neccesity, and using whatever technology was available to them to produce their wines. Thus the global wine landscape developed. Fast forward to 2008. Yes, technology has improved winemaking consistency and quality but the f'ashion' winemaking today and the drive for high scores from powerful wine critics are encouraging makers and companies such as Enologix do 'invent' wines specific to the critics' palates for high ratings. The mere fact that these types of companies exist should be disturbing to a wine lover. Re: Alcohol levels. I do a lot of blind tasting. One of the markers for old world wines USE to be alcohol levels. Generally, except in warmer regions, alchohol levels are restrained in the 'Old World". That marker has disappeared. It is common to see alcohol levels in many areas over 14%. Most countries have about a /- 1% acurracy window by law. In fact several winemakers(ironically from California) and a respected retailer from California, Daryl Corti , have expressed concern about increasing alcohol levels and how they believe this is a flaw in wines worldwide. The beauty of the world wine landscape is diversity. Differences in flavor profiles, extract , alcohol etc. are all natural expressions of what a winemaker in a certain region has to work with. The resulting wines can be called 'styles' but what they really are is that areas expression of place. These expressions have developed over generations in many cases. It would be a loss indeed if they are lost in one generation so that new wine drinkers lose their frame of reference in not having these types of wines even available to refer to. Resources: Enologix<a href="<a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br />”><a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br /> Micro-Oygenation<a href="<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/>”><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/><a href="<a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br />”><a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br /> Mega-Purple<a href="<a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_87/ai_n16116989/pg_1http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_…/>”><a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3…” target=”_blank”>http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_… Mega Wines<a href="<a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archives/003235.htmlhttp://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi…/>”><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/din…” target=”_blank”>http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi… Wine merchant Darrell Corti no longer sells wines over 14.5% alcohol<a href="<a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/425/Wine-merchant-Darrell-Corti-.htmlhttp://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42…/>”><a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42… Mondovino<a href="http://www.mondovinofilm.com/ “>http://www.mondovinofilm.com/

  • -Victor-

    An interesting thread and I must weigh in here … Re:Manipulation of wines in Rioja and elsewhere and full disclosure of a maker's techniques. Techniques like chapitalization and acidification and cross-sourcing are only the tip of the iceberg in the new technological era of winemaking. All too common these days are techniques such as micro-oxygenation and mega-purple/mega-red which should be more of a concern to a consumer, and why these and other manipulations are being used more and more. Winemaker's are reluctant to talk about them but I have seen micro-oxygenation particularly popping up everywhere in recent years even yes, in Rioja. The mega-colourants are common, especially in California, although winemakers won't talk about them. Winemaking and the resulting regional "styles" have developed over many generations in most cases are a maker's response to his 'terroir'. Certain grapes thrive in certain climatic and soil conditions and the winemakers/growers responded by planting the correct varietals by neccesity, and using whatever technology was available to them to produce their wines. Thus the global wine landscape developed. Fast forward to 2008. Yes, technology has improved winemaking consistency and quality but the f'ashion' winemaking today and the drive for high scores from powerful wine critics are encouraging makers and companies such as Enologix do 'invent' wines specific to the critics' palates for high ratings. The mere fact that these types of companies exist should be disturbing to a wine lover. Re: Alcohol levels. I do a lot of blind tasting. One of the markers for old world wines USE to be alcohol levels. Generally, except in warmer regions, alchohol levels are restrained in the 'Old World". That marker has disappeared. It is common to see alcohol levels in many areas over 14%. Most countries have about a /- 1% acurracy window by law. In fact several winemakers(ironically from California) and a respected retailer from California, Daryl Corti , have expressed concern about increasing alcohol levels and how they believe this is a flaw in wines worldwide. The beauty of the world wine landscape is diversity. Differences in flavor profiles, extract , alcohol etc. are all natural expressions of what a winemaker in a certain region has to work with. The resulting wines can be called 'styles' but what they really are is that areas expression of place. These expressions have developed over generations in many cases. It would be a loss indeed if they are lost in one generation so that new wine drinkers lose their frame of reference in not having these types of wines even available to refer to. Resources: Enologix<a href="<a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br />”><a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br /> Micro-Oygenation<a href="<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/>”><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/><a href="<a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br />”><a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br /> Mega-Purple<a href="<a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_87/ai_n16116989/pg_1http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_…/>”><a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3…” target=”_blank”>http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_… Mega Wines<a href="<a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archives/003235.htmlhttp://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi…/>”><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/din…” target=”_blank”>http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi… Wine merchant Darrell Corti no longer sells wines over 14.5% alcohol<a href="<a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/425/Wine-merchant-Darrell-Corti-.htmlhttp://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42…/>”><a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42… Mondovino<a href="http://www.mondovinofilm.com/ “>http://www.mondovinofilm.com/

  • -Victor-

    An interesting thread and I must weigh in here … Re:Manipulation of wines in Rioja and elsewhere and full disclosure of a maker's techniques. Techniques like chapitalization and acidification and cross-sourcing are only the tip of the iceberg in the new technological era of winemaking. All too common these days are techniques such as micro-oxygenation and mega-purple/mega-red which should be more of a concern to a consumer, and why these and other manipulations are being used more and more. Winemaker's are reluctant to talk about them but I have seen micro-oxygenation particularly popping up everywhere in recent years even yes, in Rioja. The mega-colourants are common, especially in California, although winemakers won't talk about them. Winemaking and the resulting regional "styles" have developed over many generations in most cases are a maker's response to his 'terroir'. Certain grapes thrive in certain climatic and soil conditions and the winemakers/growers responded by planting the correct varietals by neccesity, and using whatever technology was available to them to produce their wines. Thus the global wine landscape developed. Fast forward to 2008. Yes, technology has improved winemaking consistency and quality but the f'ashion' winemaking today and the drive for high scores from powerful wine critics are encouraging makers and companies such as Enologix do 'invent' wines specific to the critics' palates for high ratings. The mere fact that these types of companies exist should be disturbing to a wine lover. Re: Alcohol levels. I do a lot of blind tasting. One of the markers for old world wines USE to be alcohol levels. Generally, except in warmer regions, alchohol levels are restrained in the 'Old World". That marker has disappeared. It is common to see alcohol levels in many areas over 14%. Most countries have about a /- 1% acurracy window by law. In fact several winemakers(ironically from California) and a respected retailer from California, Daryl Corti , have expressed concern about increasing alcohol levels and how they believe this is a flaw in wines worldwide. The beauty of the world wine landscape is diversity. Differences in flavor profiles, extract , alcohol etc. are all natural expressions of what a winemaker in a certain region has to work with. The resulting wines can be called 'styles' but what they really are is that areas expression of place. These expressions have developed over generations in many cases. It would be a loss indeed if they are lost in one generation so that new wine drinkers lose their frame of reference in not having these types of wines even available to refer to. Resources: Enologix<a href="<a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br />”><a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br /> Micro-Oygenation<a href="<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/>”><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/><a href="<a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br />”><a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br /> Mega-Purple<a href="<a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_87/ai_n16116989/pg_1http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_…/>”><a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3…” target=”_blank”>http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_… Mega Wines<a href="<a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archives/003235.htmlhttp://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi…/>”><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/din…” target=”_blank”>http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi… Wine merchant Darrell Corti no longer sells wines over 14.5% alcohol<a href="<a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/425/Wine-merchant-Darrell-Corti-.htmlhttp://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42…/>”><a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42… Mondovino<a href="http://www.mondovinofilm.com/ “>http://www.mondovinofilm.com/

  • -Victor-

    An interesting thread and I must weigh in here … Re:Manipulation of wines in Rioja and elsewhere and full disclosure of a maker's techniques. Techniques like chapitalization and acidification and cross-sourcing are only the tip of the iceberg in the new technological era of winemaking. All too common these days are techniques such as micro-oxygenation and mega-purple/mega-red which should be more of a concern to a consumer, and why these and other manipulations are being used more and more. Winemaker's are reluctant to talk about them but I have seen micro-oxygenation particularly popping up everywhere in recent years even yes, in Rioja. The mega-colourants are common, especially in California, although winemakers won't talk about them. Winemaking and the resulting regional "styles" have developed over many generations in most cases are a maker's response to his 'terroir'. Certain grapes thrive in certain climatic and soil conditions and the winemakers/growers responded by planting the correct varietals by neccesity, and using whatever technology was available to them to produce their wines. Thus the global wine landscape developed. Fast forward to 2008. Yes, technology has improved winemaking consistency and quality but the f'ashion' winemaking today and the drive for high scores from powerful wine critics are encouraging makers and companies such as Enologix do 'invent' wines specific to the critics' palates for high ratings. The mere fact that these types of companies exist should be disturbing to a wine lover. Re: Alcohol levels. I do a lot of blind tasting. One of the markers for old world wines USE to be alcohol levels. Generally, except in warmer regions, alchohol levels are restrained in the 'Old World". That marker has disappeared. It is common to see alcohol levels in many areas over 14%. Most countries have about a /- 1% acurracy window by law. In fact several winemakers(ironically from California) and a respected retailer from California, Daryl Corti , have expressed concern about increasing alcohol levels and how they believe this is a flaw in wines worldwide. The beauty of the world wine landscape is diversity. Differences in flavor profiles, extract , alcohol etc. are all natural expressions of what a winemaker in a certain region has to work with. The resulting wines can be called 'styles' but what they really are is that areas expression of place. These expressions have developed over generations in many cases. It would be a loss indeed if they are lost in one generation so that new wine drinkers lose their frame of reference in not having these types of wines even available to refer to. Resources: Enologix<a href="<a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br />”><a href="http://enologix.comhttp://enologix.com<br /> Micro-Oygenation<a href="<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/>”><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation<br…/><a href="<a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br />”><a href="http://www.micro-ox.comhttp://www.micro-ox.com<br /> Mega-Purple<a href="<a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_87/ai_n16116989/pg_1http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_…/>”><a href="http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3…” target=”_blank”>http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_… Mega Wines<a href="<a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archives/003235.htmlhttp://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi…/>”><a href="http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/din…” target=”_blank”>http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archi… Wine merchant Darrell Corti no longer sells wines over 14.5% alcohol<a href="<a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/425/Wine-merchant-Darrell-Corti-.htmlhttp://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42…/>”><a href="http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-…” target=”_blank”>http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/42… Mondovino<a href="http://www.mondovinofilm.com/ “>http://www.mondovinofilm.com/

  • -Victor-

    An interesting thread and I must weigh in here …

    Re:Manipulation of wines in Rioja and elsewhere and full disclosure of a maker’s techniques. Techniques like chapitalization and acidification and cross-sourcing are only the tip of the iceberg in the new technological era of winemaking. All too common these days are techniques such as micro-oxygenation and mega-purple/mega-red which should be more of a concern to a consumer, and why these and other manipulations are being used more and more. Winemaker’s are reluctant to talk about them but I have seen micro-oxygenation particularly popping up everywhere in recent years even yes, in Rioja. The mega-colourants are common, especially in California, although winemakers won’t talk about them.

    Winemaking and the resulting regional “styles” have developed over many generations in most cases are a maker’s response to his ‘terroir’. Certain grapes thrive in certain climatic and soil conditions and the winemakers/growers responded by planting the correct varietals by neccesity, and using whatever technology was available to them to produce their wines. Thus the global wine landscape developed.

    Fast forward to 2008. Yes, technology has improved winemaking consistency and quality but the f’ashion’ winemaking today and the drive for high scores from powerful wine critics are encouraging makers and companies such as Enologix do ‘invent’ wines specific to the critics’ palates for high ratings. The mere fact that these types of companies exist should be disturbing to a wine lover.

    Re: Alcohol levels. I do a lot of blind tasting. One of the markers for old world wines USE to be alcohol levels. Generally, except in warmer regions, alchohol levels are restrained in the ‘Old World”. That marker has disappeared. It is common to see alcohol levels in many areas over 14%. Most countries have about a +/- 1% acurracy window by law. In fact several winemakers(ironically from California) and a respected retailer from California, Daryl Corti , have expressed concern about increasing alcohol levels and how they believe this is a flaw in wines worldwide.

    The beauty of the world wine landscape is diversity. Differences in flavor profiles, extract , alcohol etc. are all natural expressions of what a winemaker in a certain region has to work with. The resulting wines can be called ‘styles’ but what they really are is that areas expression of place. These expressions have developed over generations in many cases. It would be a loss indeed if they are lost in one generation so that new wine drinkers lose their frame of reference in not having these types of wines even available to refer to.

    Resources:

    Enologix
    http://enologix.com

    Micro-Oygenation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-oxygenation
    http://www.micro-ox.com

    Mega-Purple
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3488/is_3_87/ai_n16116989/pg_1
    Mega Wines
    http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/dining/archives/003235.html

    Wine merchant Darrell Corti no longer sells wines over 14.5% alcohol
    http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/425/Wine-merchant-Darrell-Corti-.html

    Mondovino
    http://www.mondovinofilm.com/

  • Ben

    As a fairly base level wine drinker (I love it but don't over analyze it or get too much into the tasting notes side of things) it has never even occured to me to wonder whether or not they are lying to me, or I am being told half truths about the production process. I probably would buy into the romance marketing these guys rely on to make their brands 'special', but most of the time I don't even read the label on the bottle. If it says 'crianza' or 'grand reserva' on the front then that is good enough for me. I suspect many (most?) consumers are like this. P.s. having said all this I would care a great deal if I began finding out that harmful substances were going into wine without me knowing. In that respect the wine industry should be as liable to full disclosure as everyone else. 'Contains sulphites' is a start I suppose…

  • http://www.notesfromspain.com/ Ben

    As a fairly base level wine drinker (I love it but don’t over analyze it or get too much into the tasting notes side of things) it has never even occured to me to wonder whether or not they are lying to me, or I am being told half truths about the production process.

    I probably would buy into the romance marketing these guys rely on to make their brands ‘special’, but most of the time I don’t even read the label on the bottle. If it says ‘crianza’ or ‘grand reserva’ on the front then that is good enough for me. I suspect many (most?) consumers are like this.

    P.s. having said all this I would care a great deal if I began finding out that harmful substances were going into wine without me knowing. In that respect the wine industry should be as liable to full disclosure as everyone else. ‘Contains sulphites’ is a start I suppose…

  • Estelle Platini

    I do care about how the wines I love are made. But I don't want certification bodies for the details. It is enough that simple rules are enforced (such as: only grapes, mention of irrigation if any, etc.) I establish a trust relationship before asking for details.

  • http://blog.cellarer.com/ Estelle Platini

    I do care about how the wines I love are made. But I don’t want certification bodies for the details. It is enough that simple rules are enforced (such as: only grapes, mention of irrigation if any, etc.)
    I establish a trust relationship before asking for details.