Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 30, May 2005   
Technological WinesTechnological Wines MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 29, April 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 31, June 2005

Technological Wines


 Wine - as everyone knows - is the result of many factors, all being equally important and determinant, from the indispensable contribution of nature to the contribution of human intervention. Times in which many of the variables and the wine making procedures were left more or less by “chance” - relying on the fact production is the result of foregone natural phenomenon in which grape juice ferments and gets transformed into wine - belongs to a truly distant past. Whether it is true wine represents an important bond with the tradition of the places in which it is being produced, it is also true nowadays most of this cultural heritage is strongly affected by technology, wine making developments and - last but not the least - the possibilities offered by chemistry. After all - since the beginnings of wine making - wine is the indisputable result of a series of chemical processes which take place in an absolutely natural and spontaneous way.

 Nowadays there are truly few producers who do not make strong and continuous use both of technology and of the possibilities offered by chemistry in order to control the stability of their wines. We do not want to say wines are today the result of a sophistication and therefore detrimental to the genuineness of the products, indeed, it is opportune to remember and admit that thanks to technology, the overall level of quality in wines has increased in the last twenty years. Moreover it is still thanks to technology that in the past few years the differences between the many producers have diminished. Whereas once the probability of finding wines with evident faults was pretty frequent, today - thanks to the development of wine making technology - faults have dramatically reduced therefore contributing to the increase - in general terms - of quality in wines. Despite the use of technology contributes to improve the quality of wines, it is however opportune to remember quality is - first of all - a presupposition in which the producer believes into and decides to achieve as a goal.


 

 In this regard it can be said technology can help the producer to make higher quality wines provided the primary conditions exist. This does mean that lacking of a quality raw matter, technology cannot make miracles, it can possibly help to obtain the best possible quality from a non excellent raw matter. Nevertheless the role of technology in the production of wines is so high that frequently producers delegates to this factor most of the final result. Technology may be virtually present in every aspect of wine production, from vineyard to bottling. Moreover the use of technology allows to diminish production costs with a subsequent reduction of prices for consumers. Countries in which the extensive use of technology is not affected by traditional or productive conditions, are capable of offering wines at cheap prices while keeping a high quality level, with the exception of the cases in which are being used speculative politics. This is true for wine as well as for any other product.

 Is it then simply enough to invest in the most advanced technologies in order to obtain high quality wines and at cheap prices? Certainly not. Despite man has always had the presumption of being the subject constantly at the center of the universe, capable of controlling every aspect thanks to his intelligence, nothing can be done to change the events imposed by Mother Nature in the less favorable years. In the years in which the meteorological conditions do not allow the harvesting of high quality grapes, even the most modern and efficient technology used by man can simply help to get the most out from a grape, it cannot certainly make miracles. This is clearly proven in every less favorable year when the general quality of wines is evidently inferior - while considering the proper exceptions - such as in case of 2002 and 2003 in Italy. it is also true that sometimes in the cellar can be worked real and proper miracles - both with the help of technology and of chemistry - however this does not help to increase the quality of grapes when it does not exist. There can be certainly limited the consequences of a lesser quality, this is for sure, but you cannot turn a piece of iron into gold.

 The same can be said for environmental and climate conditions of every wine area of the world: in other words technology cannot replace the specific characteristics of every territory. It can certainly help to obtain the best possible result, but this does not mean it can be objectively considered of high quality. Wine making technology certainly is important, however it is good to remember the current quality of wines is strongly determined by what can be considered as a radical cultural and social change towards wine. Consumers ask for more quality - and possibly to a reasonable price - and this forced producers to follow this simple market law: it is being produced what can be sold. Whether most of consumers is interested in high quality products, it is then opportune to being capable of satisfying this need, even by using technology - which certainly offers an excellent support for achieving this result - but not technology only.

 Indeed the greatest technological revolution was done in the cultural techniques, or better to say, in using better viticultural practices, as it was better understood the quality of wine begins, first of all, in the vineyard. This concept, once used by few and passionate producers, has now become a primary need for all who really want to achieve quality. The intervention of man is undoubtedly fundamental for the production of wine, as nature - alone - does not directly offer wine from vines, and it is thanks to the contribution of man, by using his intelligence and technology, wine can be made, and of course, good wine. Man with technology and nature with its fruits are therefore equally indispensable and fundamental factors in order to obtain quality: in case one of them does not properly contribute with its indispensable role, the result will certainly not be the best. May the technology be welcome in a cellar, as well as may be welcome everything a territory and a vineyard can offer in an absolutely unique and unrepeatable way. Technology is repeatable and adaptable everywhere, territory is not.

 



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 30, May 2005   
Technological WinesTechnological Wines MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 29, April 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 31, June 2005

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 or fill in the form available at our site.

 

I heard chocolate can be hardly matched to wine. Is there an explanation to this?
José Paredes -- Santiago (Chile)
Chocolate is an extremely complex and rich food and, like you rightly observed, the matching with wine does not always give satisfactory results. Chocolate, or at least good chocolate, has a very long gustatory persistence and therefore it requires a wine having an appropriate persistence. Because of its qualities, chocolate is a pretty fatty food and its introduction in the mouth causes a real and proper covering of the oral cavity and therefore of taste buds. This covering avoids other gustatory sensations to be perceived and this is true - of course - for wine as well. The dilution of this covering usually requires pretty high quantities of alcohol, usually more than 17%. For this reason the best matchings with chocolate are obtained with fortified wines or with brandies. Another quality of chocolate is the strong physiological response of salivation: a condition which is balanced both by alcohol and tannins. Of course not all chocolates are the same - just like for wines - therefore these considerations are also applied according to the intensity and the organoleptic qualities of each case. In fact it could also be that certain chocolates can be matchable with some table wines, whereas in other cases a brandy would be too much.



What is the difference between Cognac and Grappa? I noticed there are colorless Grappas and others have colors similar to Cognac. What is the difference?
Alison Turner -- London (England)
Despite Cognac and Grappa are both considered distillates, the differences between the two are many. First of all the production area: Cognac is produced in the Charentais region, north from Bordeaux (France), whereas Grappa is exclusively produced in Italy. Another substantial difference is represented by the raw matter. Cognac is produced by distilling wine, whereas Grappa is produced by distilling grape pomace. Whereas Cognac is always being aged in cask, this is not always true for Grappa. The aging of Grappa in cask is what determines its amber color, however this practice has become common in recent times only as Grappa is traditionally distilled and consumed without being aged in any wood container. The aging in wood generally gives Grappa spicy aromas as well as a higher gustatory complexity and smoothness. The sensorial world of Grappa is amazing and rich - just like any other noble distillate - and this is also thanks to the huge improvements of distillation techniques and a higher attention on the quality of the raw matter. Whether it is true once Grappa was considered as a humble distillate, today it can be certainly considered among the best distillates of the world.



   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 30, May 2005   
Technological WinesTechnological Wines MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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