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  • Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

    In today's San Fran Chronicle, Jon Bonne has a long discussion about alcohol levels in wines. The article is in two parts, the first being about the same old discussion re "What is a table wine/dessert wine, balance, too much alcohol, etc." But then there is a second part titled "Labels Accurate? Often Not."

    In this section they tested 19 wines for their alcohol level against their listed alcohol level. Of the 19, 14 were higher than listed. Most were at least 1/2 percent higher. Only one of the 19 claimed to be over 15%, but in reality seven were.

    One that stood out for me? 2009 Calera Viognier, listed at 14.5, but actually 15.54. More proof that alcohol and balance are not necessarily related, as I have never heard anyone claim any Calera is out of balance or "hot." And which wine had the highest "listed" alcohol of 19 wines? The 06 Mondavi Reserve Cab, 15.5%. What was the actual number? 15.5%. The highest listed wine of the 19 was the most accurate. Yet how many soms would ban this wine because they claim it was "too alcoholic" on the label?

    I assume the net version will be available starting tomorrow or sooner. Look it up when it is. It is a good article.

  • #2
    Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

    Thanks. Look forward to reading it.
    If I had my way, I'd have all of you shot. In the flesh(II) Pink Floyd

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

      In Europe experience shows that in many case the figure on the label is under 0,5 ° from the real level.
      Mauss Francois

      GJE

      "Whatever is said about the necessity to avoid sometimes blind tastings, most of the time the reasons behind are simply to "protect" our tiny confidence in our own capacity to judge clearly a wine and accepting the results".

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

        Originally posted by Roy Piper

        One that stood out for me? 2009 Calera Viognier, listed at 14.5, but actually 15.54. .... I have never heard anyone claim any Calera is out of balance or "hot." .
        They will now.

        But honestly--I don't find it unusual to complain about alcohol with low numbers on the label, personally (not that 14.5 is all that low!). Yesterday I was drinking an obscure Greek white that was listed at 13%. The alcohol seemed quite prominent. If that was truly 13% I'll eat my hat. If it was, the wine was a bit out of whack for one reason or another.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

          Francois,

          Can you help me out with your experience....perhaps with some specific examples.....as that doesn't jibe with some of the numbers that my friends and I have seen.

          Adam Lee
          Siduri Wines

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

            Originally posted by François Mauss
            In Europe experience shows that in many case the figure on the label is under 0,5 ° from the real level.
            Within the EU, alcohol declaration on wine labels mandatorily is given in whole or half percent steps: 12 – 12.5 – 13 – 13.5 etc.

            What François says is definitely right, since EU regulations allow an alcohol indication tolerance of ±0.5% for still wines. (What I did not know until very recently, is that indication tolerance for sparkling wines in the EU is higher: ±0.8%.)
            Ceterum censeo corticem esse delendum

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            • #7
              Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

              Just an information I got from some laboratories such as the one of Michel Rolland in Pomerol. They explain to me that the rate established when needed for the printer of the labels may vary to higher value with time.
              Mauss Francois

              GJE

              "Whatever is said about the necessity to avoid sometimes blind tastings, most of the time the reasons behind are simply to "protect" our tiny confidence in our own capacity to judge clearly a wine and accepting the results".

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

                Francois,

                I appreciate it.....would the results that you got be more from Bordeaux?

                The wines that I have seen tested (and to be honest, I have only done a few tests myself --- but have seen tests that others have done).....have shown much bigger variations in label alcohol vs. actual alcohol in the wines from CdP and the south of France. There certainly have been a few where the importer sticker is quite a bit off (and on the wrong side of the tax line) on these wines.

                Adam Lee
                Siduri Wines

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

                  Just a reminder once again - in case this discussion really gets going - that alcohol levels on bottles of wine imported to the U.S. must be taken with an especially large grain of salt because the numbers of the label are seldom and not at all systematically checked against the certificates of origin, and certificates of label approval are not alcohol level-specific. (I know I have made this point somewhere or in more than one place on this board in greater detail in past but have not time to search.)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

                    Not sure whose argument is lent support by this data.

                    If one is looking for data to support the notion that it is okay to enjoy high alcohol wine, I don't know why one would need anything besides one's personal opinion.

                    If looking for data to support the notion that others must agree with one's palate, I doubt you'll find it in this article.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

                      Originally posted by Rob Becker
                      Not sure whose argument is lent support by this data.

                      If one is looking for data to support the notion that it is okay to enjoy high alcohol wine, I don't know why one would need anything besides one's personal opinion.

                      If looking for data to support the notion that others must agree with one's palate, I doubt you'll find it in this article.
                      I think the subtext here is the fear that some may be arriving at opinions on how unbalanced high alcohol wines are more by reading the label, than tasting the wine.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Nice Article Tests True Alcohol Levels Of Various Wines

                        If you can't tell how unbalanced it is by looking at the label, you also can't tell how balanced it is, either. And balance is still subjective and varies from grape to grape. That's why I'm not sure whose argument is lent support by this data.

                        Comment

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