Sunday, September 7, 2008
I drank some Californian Cabernet Sauvignon the other day. It was a massive Christmas pudding type of wine. The label said that it had 15.5% alc/vol. The reality was closer to 17%. The wine cost USD250 per bottle. Robert Parker gave it 96 points. Overall effect was like drinking a pan galactic gargle blaster I imagine.
Yesterday I opened a Kim Crawford SP 2007 Tietjen vineyard Gisborne Viognier. The label says 15.5% alc/vol. I suspect the reality is higher. Not quite the PGGB effect but the alcohol was annoyingly evident rendering the wine virtually undrinkable.
High alcohol red wines taste porty. High alcohol white wines take on a beer character. Neither are very attractive so why do they do it?
At wine shows and early on in their comparative tasting life the high alcohol can make the wine stand out and give it more 'body'. With some age though the alcohol remains undiluted while the other components have melded leaving a hot character.
If I want to drink a very high alcohol wine I prefer to sip a glass of sherry or port.
I don't want to be sucker punched by an innocent looking table wine.
Thor Iverson in his Oenolog blog discusses high alcohol wines for those interested.