Wines Of The Week: Alcohol And Balance
Forbes | By Brian Freedman | Aug 24, 2018 | Original Article
Discussions of alcohol levels in wine are analogous to the third rail of train tracks: Often dangerous to even approach, and it should only be done with extreme caution. This is because everyone, it seems, has an opinion about what constitutes an “appropriate” amount of alcohol. It makes sense: The abv in a bottle has a huge impact on the balance of the wine, the flavor profile, the texture, the ways in which it interacts with food, and more. Strong opinions, on either side of the proverbial aisle, are justified, and I find plenty of merit in both.
But as with all deeply held convictions, it’s far too easy for logical argument to devolve into orthodoxy, when the reality is that there are plenty of great wines that don’t have all that much alcohol (the Kutch Bohan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, for example, clocks in at 11.3% abv, and it’s magnificent, with copious red fruit, Indian spice, and roses leaving a lasting impression long after the wine has been finished) and just as many that have higher levels (the Faust Limited Release “Graffiti Edition” Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, which comes in magnum and boasts 14.9% alcohol, is balanced and assertive all at once, with chocolate, cedar, blueberry cobbler, cassis, and cigar tobacco). They are verydifferent wines, but I find a ton of pleasure in both.