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 Post subject: Alcohol levels in wine
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:30 am 
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It?s a sad(?)fact that the alcohol level in wine has been on the rise for some time now. A mix of better standards of viticulture, warmer climates, new world influence on 'old world' producers, etc., etc., there are a number of reasons, fact is the average % alcohol content has continued to rise. When was the last time you picked up an Ausi Shiraz that was under 13% alc?

You could argue that if a wine was 'balanced' does it matter what the alcohol content is? Personally, I prefer to drink wine, not alcohol but I accept that not everyone feels the same. I would not buy a wine with an alcohol content higher than 14.5% and often avoid anything over 13.5% but my choice is narrowing all the time, especially as I have a liking for New World red.

Correct me if you think I am out of line here but I think the majority of wine consumers think a high alcohol content is all the better for getting drunk, never knowing how great a perfectly balanced German Riesling wine can taste at 9%

I have read that producers are looking at ways to reduce alcohol levels in the future, would that be something you would welcome?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 9:44 pm 
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Location: Gloucestershire
I do agree that there seem to be a lot more high alcohol wines around these days, however this seems to be par the course for new world wines. Because of the growing conditions you either end up with sweet wines, or with high alcohol wines!

Most french and old world wines still seem to be about the 12.5%-13% level, and until global warming really sets in, the I don't think we'll see this change greatly.

But hey, as for me, I don't tend to pay particular attention to the alcohol level anway, unless the wine is out of balance, or the alcohol particularly noticable. Though there is definately something to be said for being able to pick a nice white with a lower alchol level when you fancy a glass or 2 on a summer afternoon, without being over the drink drive limit!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:59 am 
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Reducing alcohol is absolutely simple. Any winemaker can do it and it takes just a few hours.

Without writing the full 1000 word essay, Reverse Osmosis is a system also used for filtration, that can be used to removed certain constituents parts from grape juice or wine.

In a wet year, the winemaker can remove water from grape juice, pre-fermentation, to make the juice and so wine more concentrated.

After fermentation, alcohol can be removed. Usually, the winery would completely remove the alcohol from a proportion of the wine and then blend it back into the remainder until they get the perfect balance. Obviously, if you removed X% from all your wine and then find it's too much, you can't put any back, so just treating a small batch gives control.

This is widely used in New World countries. Of course, the machinery is expensive and the producer needs to feel that high alcohol is a problem, but there are also companies that will take a batch of your wine and send it back sans alcool.

Don't get me started on the vileness of hot wines. Of course, if the rest of the wine is in balance with the alcohol, then 14% can be undetectable.

There is absolutely no excuse for selling nastily strong wine nowadays.

Having said that, the American public, apparently, likes its wine at 15-16%, and I've certainly seen people in supermarkets here buying wine because it's high in alcohol, almost seeming to think that this means it's better quality.

As I said, don't get me started...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:17 pm 
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Location: South Wales
Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris ( Alsace only ) seem best able to cope with 13.5/14% alcohol.

I think it must the the rich, oily texture...

I tend to avoid sauvignon blanc at these levels as it tends to have a bit of heat on the finish.

Wither Hills is a classic example of this...it's like drinking blackcurrant leaf vodka.

Alsace riesling though will often have a touch of heat even at 12.5% as will cheap sb that smells of pear drops

' Full bodied ' on the label is a good sign that the wine will either taste of wood or spirits.

And rose with 13.5/14% alcohol seems to have had the alcohol artificially added just to make it seem like ' serious ' wine.

And viogner.....viogner is just peach flavourted firewater surely...something to put in a hip flask when you play golf in the winter.

WhingingGoosegogs


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:42 pm 
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Also of note are cheaper Spanish reds, particularly garnacha/grenache based, which are regularly 14.5% and just don't have the balls to carry it off. Wines that have the potential to be pretty good for the money are ruined by tasting of gin.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:05 pm 
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Reducing alcohol. Why don;t producers add water? the dilujtion in terms of taste would be minimal and it would increase their yields...! :D :twisted:


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