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Friday Fishwrap
A Correction of Sorts

By Charles Olken

In the blog entry directly below, I have attributed to Eric Asimov a set of Pinot Noir recommendations. My bad. Those recommendations appear under the byline of Howard Goldberg, another New York Times writer about things vinous.

I have reached out to Mr. Asimov to ask him to give us his views on the subject of choosing wines by stated alcohol versus by taste. He has so far declined. But, in fairness to him, he has written the following about a tasting of Santa Barbara County Pinot Noirs (New York Times, May 2007):

“We did find wines that struck us as over the top, soft and sweet, with flavors that would overpower food. But we were also pleasantly surprised by how many wines seemed balanced and somewhat restrained.”

His panel’s top wine was Siduri’s Clos Pepe 2004 about which he commented in full: “Earthy and bright with floral and cherry aromas; well balanced and structured”. This wine is 14.3% alcohol, and while that is not 16%, it is higher than many people believe is appropriate as a guiding principle. His panel’s second place wine runs 14.7%; it is described as “Cherry, cola and violet aromas and flavors balanced by vibrant acidity; bright but not overbearing.”

I could be wrong again, but it seems to me that Mr. Asimov’s own choices and words put him squarely on the same side of the issue, in concept at least, with Siduri’s Adam Lee, with Raj Parr and with Connoisseurs’ Guide. We may or may not agree about individual wines, but it is not too much to suggest that Mr. Asimov judges wine by what is in the glass, not by what is on the label. That concept lies at the heart of the “Big Kerfluffle”. It is what Adam Lee was trying to prove. It is what Connoisseurs’ Guide proves over and over again. It is what Mr. Asimov’s own reviews prove.

Let the wines speak, not the labels.


No Subject
by Jeff
Posted on:3/12/2011 3:43:49 PM

What is more useless than determining a wine based on what is on the label?  This issue was recently raised on the Washington Wine Report Blog:

So, again, that label might say 14.3%, but it could very well be 15.3%....

Combine that with the fact that that same wine might have been north of 18% alcohol, but put through the RO machine to "fix" that wine, to make it more "balanced". 

Unless the "Kerfluffle" is headed to openly discussing true alcohol levels of domestic wines, and more accurate labeling rules about how that wine was made, there will always be suspicion.  

I'm all for letting the wines speak, I would just rather know how that wine was made.  That's the BIG Kerfluffle.

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