Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wine News From Here and There

Ken Wright's evaporatorJust a few odds and ends.

Many people agree with me that Remy Charest's article "Natural Wine: On a Practical Note.. may be the best article written of late on natural wine, as he highlights how the best practitioners are really quite pragmatic, if also dedicated and quite serious, in the way they make their wines. Really a must read.

Of course, it's easy to nod one's head at this article, as Charest profiles well-known, highly-trusted winemakers whose idea of practical intervention is to add a small shot of sulfur. What would they think of Ken Wright's practice of boiling water-logged grapes in a vacuum at 50 degrees Fahrenheit to concentrate the must? If people are not adverse to having Pierre Overnoy chaptalize (add sugar) in certain years to pump up the alcohol levels, would they be so sanguine about Wright using a high-tech device to simply take water away in a heat- and oxygen-free environment? The answer, of course, is contextual to the person learning this news (do they trust Wright?), the winemaker (what is his motivation, and how else is he intervening?), and of course the wine itself (what other reactions and results occur in the process, and what is the wine when one drinks it?).

Speaking of water in Oregon, rain is not the only threat to Oregon's exceptionally late 2010 harvest: hungry, migrating birds are wreaking havoc on vineyards throughout the state — and they quickly wise up to countermeasures. Egad.

Speaking of water in Oregon for the third time, a very alarming report from the National Center for Atmospheric Research projects that extreme drought will overcome much of the developed world by 2060, including much of Europe and the western US, if global warming emissions continue at their present rate — echoing previous studies on the subject.

Finally, in happier if less inevitable news, if you're able to get to Anjou in late November, get your buns over to St. Aubin de Luigné for Anges Vins 2010. Saurigny! Courault! Mosse! Angeli! Les Griottes! Sigh, if only I could be there...

1 comment:

Cabfrancophile said...

With respect to the 50 degree boiling of grapes, yes, it comes down to intention. As far as interventions go, it seems fairly benign, though the process does look rather harsh. Anything else volatile in the grapes likely will boil off as well. But this seems vastly superior to drying grapes slowly in the air as they won't undergo the same raisining chemical reactions. Looks fast and effective, and I'd wager that side effects are mitigated if this is used on only some of the grapes.

Now, if this is used in a warm dry vintage to produce a Power Pinot of illogical concentration, that's a whole different story. But to save a dilute vintage, this is just a pragmatic tool.