There’s a lot of noise in the trade at the moment around high alcohol wines, how they are rising, why it is a bad thing and the reasons for it; I believe though this is a symptom and not a cause of one of our biggest currently misunderstood topics, especially with regards to wines from warmer climates – the importance of being balanced. We ran a blind tasting recently, 5 Chardonnay, 5 Shiraz and 5 Cabernet from across the New World, all within the £8 to £12 RRP price bracket. The results were fascinating but of most interest were the comments and discussions post tasting from a group of our staff specialist in buying, sales and marketing in the UK; the crossroads of the wine world. They all had one common denominator – balance.
Winemakers, critics, members of the wine trade and enthusiasts alone like to be challenged by their glass of wine. Consumers, seen by some to be the lowest ranking member of the vinous intelligentsia, desire only to be delighted by their wine. A smile, a glow, maybe even a short day dream as they’re transported to the wine’s country of origin and are reminded of last year’s holiday there. Not to struggle with a mouthful of tannin and alcohol, not to be assaulted by a palate invasion and not to be left feeling that they just must be missing something here... I’m not saying that wines in a certain price bracket have to be simple, commercial and without complexity. On the contrary, here are 3 warm climate wines with complexity and balance: Quinta Do Crasto Douro Red, Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah and Planeta Cerasuolo Di Vittoria.
All bold wines with plenty of character, alcohol and tannin even. But all wines with balance, and all wines made from grapes that are perfectly suited to the region of origin. Most importantly, all wines that have been grown in the vineyard and not manufactured in a laboratory facility – all are wines that have been allowed to become themselves in the winery and have not been forced to do so. Power, texture, alcohol and acidity – all for nothing without the balance to be beautiful.
So this is a plea to winemakers everywhere on behalf of our consumers – we don’t want to feel like we’re being cross examined in a court dock every time we drink your wine – we want to be able to enjoy every mouthful from the first glass to the last drop!
Posted by Daniel Hart