Mother Nature Argument

Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming yet surely has his or her head buried in the sand. Blame it on the natural way of the world and/or human intervention… it’s happening. I saw a comparative image this past week, and I thought, “Well, I wonder if my cousin will still say that it doesn’t exist?” like she did a few years ago. What I never realized until today is that this has been going on since the beginning of the industrial revolution. This image won’t be completely understood, unless you watch this really well produced, graphical video of the earth’s oceanic and land mass changes from 1880 to the present. World of Change Global Temperatures


“The world is getting warmer. Whether the cause is human activity or natural variability—and the preponderance of evidence says it’s likely humans—thermometer readings all around the world have risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

What this tells me, as the demand for having “stuff” continues (because nobody wants to stop having “stuff”) is that there’s no real end in sight, unless humanity all of a sudden got its collective act together.

So, can winemakers use a more Mother Nature approach and continue to make balanced wines? I’m beginning to hear more and more winemakers say that they’re now doing some picking by acid levels, rather than brix levels. That might be one solution.

Wine Critics and Winemakers

When I began to really enjoy wine, which was once I moved to California, the wines of the early 1990s were primarily 13.5 percent alcohol. Having my first “real” job being in the wine business, I quickly learned that as soon as a wine hit 13.5 percent alcohol, winemakers quit with that level… Then I learned a little secret. Winemakers are allowed to fudge it a bit.

One commenter on blog recently gave me a great link that lays out rules and regulations. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

So, if an alcohol really hit 14 percent, they could still put 13.5 percent on the label. One of the main reason winemakers didn’t want to hit that 14 percent was because that’s where the tax on the wine was going to go up. So, for economic purposes, wine’s alcohol was restrained.

Once a few fruit bombs got some great scores, and they were red wines with alcohols that exceeded the 13 percent rule, could other winemakers have also actually followed suit, chasing the potential dream? There is an argument for that that exists.

Over the years, ever so slowly, alcohol levels have been creeping up. Recently having a 14.7 percent alcohol Napa Valley Viognier put me right over the edge. Viognier, when the alcohol is in the 13 percent range, has deliciously floral aromas and flavors. This one was just over-the-top “hot,” with nothing of the varietal character left to enjoy. I should have ordered a shot of tequila and just been done with it, is how I’ve come to view that one.

With high wine scores being given to wines with higher percents of alcohols, are there some winemakers only pandering to achieving high scores and leaving finesse and elegance behind, and embracing higher alcohol in he process to get a score that will sell the wine off the shelves, guaranteeing them job security?

What do you think?

Who’s going to have the final say?

Will winemakers who are more concerned with artistic license continue to find ways to keep their wines in balance and deliver delicate wines that pair well with foods, are wine critics going to rule what we are enjoying with hot wines, or is it purely global warming and we’re all invited?

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