20-06-2011

Let’s cool that bottle off a bit

The comic strip above from the generally always genius Wulffmorgenthaler does a pretty good job at rounding up the general approaches to wine tasting. Of course, it’s not always the case that everyone drinking wine wants to get pitch drunk, as Vodka does a much faster job of that. This is why we were most interested in this Washington post article that talks about bucking off the trend of cranking up the alcohol in wine and dousing it in a forest of oak.

Now, overripe, over-oaked, high-alcohol wines are not exclusive to California. But the Golden State has become the poster child for that style of wine.

This is one of the reasons that while currently based in San Francisco, we more often than not turn to European wines that are, at most 13% alcohol. They pair better with meals and say… you polish off a whole bottle of something delicious in one night, well, you won’t feel like you’ve had a cellar of barrels rolled across your head the next morning. We’re not alone in this as we know of several local wine shops who are purposely choosing lower alcohol wines with less oak. They taste what they stock and they like how these wines taste.

…Rajat Parr, wine director for the Michael Mina restaurant group, refuses to buy chardonnay or pinot noir over 14 percent alcohol for his RN74 restaurant, claiming those wines don’t match the restaurant’s cuisine.

It’s important to note that there are a number of Californian wines that we do indeed enjoy a great deal and so it made sense that one of our favorites, Frog’s Leap is listed in this article as one of the few Californian wineries working to make wines in this “European” manner. Now, if this message could just be gotten out to a number of newer wineries in Europe that high alcohol, heavy oak wines are becoming less desirable for export to the US, then we’ll be getting somewhere.