Wine Culture and Information - Volume 13
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  Editorial Issue 6, March 2003   
The Great Power of RedsThe Great Power of Reds MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 5, February 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 7, April 2003

The Great Power of Reds


 Time changes and so does the tastes and preferences of people. Time changes and so does fashions and customs. As time passes by, wine is also affected by these changes and it is forced to adapt to people's tastes and preferences. About ten years ago, white wines were the ones which met, generally speaking, the taste of people, first there was the success of Chardonnay, then arrived the turn of Sauvignon Blanc, then of Pinot Gris, a moderate return to Chardonnay and then, strangely to see, the interest for white wines dropped considerably. Nowadays, in any discussion about wine, people implicitly refer to red wine every time they say the word “wine”. Even ladies, who generally prefer aromatic white wines, changed their mind and moved towards the charm of the powerful and prominent red wines.

 Wine producers, both because they promoted this kind of wine and because of the need to adapt to new consumers' preferences and therefore for not being excluded from market, introduced in their production considerable quantities of red wine; even those which historically were tied to the production of white wine had to adapt and started making red wine. Did you notice that? When a winery announces the release of a new wine, most of the times it is a red wine. Even in the many wines guides the best rated wines, the ones which get higher scores and better results are generally red.


 

 Even in restaurants can be found more or less the same trend: a quick look to wine lists make us realize the ratio between white wines and red wines is most of the times in favor of red wines. Is this a consequence of the gastronomical needs and the majority of foods of modern cooking require the matching with a red wine? Apparently this does not seem to be the cause. Even though we consider restaurants where fish cooking is exclusively served, usually matched, as a matter of habits and for common sense, with white wines, that should make us believe this is not the real cause. Anyway it should be noticed that in certain restaurants where they serve fish cooking, it is getting more and more common to see red wines in their wine lists, even though in modest quantities, probably for commercial reasons but, maybe, even because in certain recipes based on fish red wine can be successfully matched with these foods.

 By visiting wine shops, as well as any other shop where wine if sold, confirms this general and new trend. A quick look at the shop's shelves makes us realize red wine is the one present in greater quantities. Is it really declining the preference for white wines? The market seems to confirm this hypothesis. In case we consider the habit, or maybe the natural custom of aging red wine in casks, by giving wine more or less accentuated wood aromas, it is funny to see that in the last ten years there has been a production of white wines where wood aroma is practically the only perceivable smell. Is this a try in order to make white wines appear as red wine and therefore to make it more commercial? Maybe consumers are not interested anymore in fresh fruit and flower aromas typical of white wines? Maybe it is just a matter of taste and the typical crisp taste of white wine is not liked anymore? However, It should be noticed that, generally speaking, red wine usually has a higher price than white wine, most of the times they cannot even be compared; maybe it is just a commercial reason adopted just for speculative reasons and for market opportunities? To tell the whole story, it should be noticed that production of red wine, in particular when casks are being used and which have a considerable impact on costs, generally requires higher investments and therefore it is sold at higher prices.

 There are so many white wines, very rich in aromas, having great elegance and refined, wonderfully agreeable, that can be, in many cases, better than thousands of red wines. Anyway it is red wine which is what it is sold the most now and it is the one people is interested in. Maybe red wine is generally better than white wine or maybe it is difficult to make very good and interesting white wines? Not to mention the subjective preference for taste, a subject which is indisputable and every hypothesis does not help at all, it is rather daring to say red wine is better than white wine and vice versa. Maybe the most probable reason is that it is just a consequence of a fashion, full of prejudices and speculations, where red wines are the only characters of the play, in particular those red wines which are referred as full bodied and robust, the ones which are usually defined as “important”. Maybe it is because of the frequent use of this adjective associated to red wine which made white wines appear as having lesser quality and being less interesting. Maybe, in the aim of giving a simple reason, it is just one of the many fashions which is part of the world of wine and will probably be demolished and replaced by another, as soon as they will realize the necessity of creating something new in order to keep people interested in this beverage. Maybe that will be the cause for the return, once again, of white wines.

 



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 6, March 2003   
The Great Power of RedsThe Great Power of Reds MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 5, February 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 7, April 2003

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial.

 

In a bottle of sparkling wine I recently had, I noticed in the label the indication of “Methode Charmat”. What does that mean?
Luisa Giarrone -- Palermo (Italy)
It is a more rapid and less costly method, if compared to classic method, for the production of sparkling wines. The method was invented by the French Eugène Charmat in about 1910, however it is probable he based this system according the ideas of the Italian Federico Martinotti. The method makes use of large pressurized containers (tanks) where the wine is allowed to ferment while keeping carbon dioxide. Every phase of the process, from fermentation to bottling, is done under pressure. Sparkling wines made this way are generally less elegant and complex than the ones made with classic method, however there are good examples of “Methode Charmat” even though the complexity and quality of the ones made with “classic method” is certainly higher.



I have been told Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine is made with 13 different kind of grapes. Is it true?
Manfred Weninger -- Eisenstadt (Austria)
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an important wine area belonging to Rhône Valley and is located near Avignon and the most renowned wine style there is surely red. In the area are produced, even though in modest quantities, white wines as well. Production disciplinary for Châteauneuf-du-Pape AC allows the use of 13 different grapes and precisely, for red berried grapes, Grenache, Cinsaut, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardine, Syrah, Terret Noir and Vaccarese, and for white berried grapes, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardan, Roussanne and Picpoul. These grapes can be used, at least in theory, for the production of wines of the area, white grapes for the production of white wines, red and white grapes for red wines. Most of red wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape are produced with Grenache and sometimes Mourvèdre and Syrah are added as well. However there are producers who cultivates all thirteen grape species and use them all for making red wines.



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 6, March 2003   
The Great Power of RedsThe Great Power of Reds MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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