Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 36, December 2005   
Wine? Red, Still and Always Red!Wine? Red, Still and Always Red! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 35, November 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 37, January 2006

Wine? Red, Still and Always Red!


 The fact wine is not having a truly good time in consumptions, it certainly is not something new. Despite there are slight but significative signals of change, the world of wine is however far away from the levels of some years ago, when the sellings certainly were higher. Like everyone knows, the trend and evolution of everything and every phenomenon, are characterized by the change of ups and downs, which cyclically repeat themselves, at least as long as there are indispensable conditions for their repetition. This is also true for wine - of course - whose consumption is currently reduced after having had a good time in selling. Without discussing the reason which caused these two extremes, by applying this model, sooner or later - at least we hope so - consumptions will resume and, maybe, they will be even higher than some years ago. This trend is also valid for preferences of consumers: whether some tens of years ago were whites to be preferred by consumers, today are reds the wines which are mainly poured in glasses.


 

 In these times, characterized by lower consumptions, wines which seems to better stand to the lowering of selling are reds. Of course, not all reds, as the price factor also plays a fundamental role. In fact, it seems the wines which are mainly preferred by consumers are reds sold at a price of about € 5.00. Whether it is true this price may be justified by general economic conditions, what can justify the preference for red wines? Perhaps it is because red wines are usually produced with higher quality criteria than - for example - white wines? Probably not, because the market offers a good selection of white wines sold at this price, as good as reds. Indeed, we could also add the production of a red wine, in particular when casks are being used, generally has a higher cost than white, therefore a higher price as well. In other words, by using a hypothetical scale of quality and provided it is sold at the same price, a white wine should have a higher quality than a red one.

 Price, although it conditions the choices of consumers anyway, is evidently not the primary factor in determining the preference for red wines. We should probably find a better explanation in those subtle - however fundamental - factors associated to culture, fashion and the influence of media. In fact, in case it simply was culture to influence the consumption of wine, our preferences would still be for sweet wines, that is for those wines mainly consumed in ancient eras and from which our culture - and our traditions as well - have originated from. Culture - as it is too much obvious - evolves and adapts itself according to social changes, up to reaching nowadays and to our preference for red wine. To tell the truth, taste and the way of making wine has drastically evolved - with the exception of the fundamental wine making principles - and the production processes have strongly been influenced both by technology and chemistry. The taste of wine consumed and produced during ancient Romans times, for example, would hardly meet the taste of modern men. This is particularly true for dry wines, as the taste and the production of modern wines is still based on methods and principles developed during the 1500's and 1600's, the era in which enology strongly evolved.

 More likely, it is the influence of trends and of fashion - last but not the least - the interest and the attention media put on red wine. To this should also be added the fact - at least since recent times - red wine has always been considered the wine par excellence. If we think about wine, the most frequent association is with red, to which is recognized a fuller body, higher charm, greater dignity and higher authority, in other words, red wine is considered more wine than any other style. Nevertheless, in not distant times, more or less 15 years ago, it was white wine to be more successful in the preferences of consumers and its notoriety was so high which red wine faced a period of “crisis”. After this short period of decay - when Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay were the ones mainly poured in consumers' glasses - red wine resumed it triumphal march towards its remarkable successes, both in marketing, as well as among the lovers of the beverage of Bacchus.

 If we take a closer look to the reason why red wines are still successful, even according to the opinions of consumers, wood factor seems to play an important role. In fact, not all the red wines are successful in the preferences of consumers: red wines fermented and aged in steel tanks usually are less appreciated than reds vinified in cask. Without insisting too much on this aspect - which is surely widely debated and discussed - it is however undeniable a red wine produced this way has a higher number of preferences. Moreover, the service of a so called “important” wine - although the criteria used to determine an important wine may be disputable - it generally makes use of more suggestive glasses and procedures: large and sumptuous glasses, everything should have a big aspect as they would anticipate an “important event”. Maybe it is also because of the more generous and flattering words generally used for red wines to make consumers believe every red is a great wine. Most of the times it is considered “great” what it is believed - or it is made to believe - to be “great”: magic of persuasion.

 Without touching the subject of personal tastes - in which no objectivity may be applied - it is also sad to see that many consumers who define themselves as connoisseurs, are rarely disposed to go “beyond” red wine, just because this is the wine distinguishing the class of real connoisseurs, at least according to the opinion of many. For these “connoisseurs” it is even unthinkable in their glasses could be poured - even occasionally - a wine which is not red. Luckily, there also are real connoisseurs of wine - let us consider them as the Real Connoisseurs - capable of going beyond and look at wine, with no distinction or discrimination, like a loyal and pleasing companion, no matter it is red or white, sparkling or rose, fortified or sweet: it is important it is good and capable of giving emotions to senses, always and however in a moderate consumption. This is how we like to think about a wine connoisseurs: someone capable of going beyond color and capable of listening and understanding, because every wine - all the wines - have something to tell and to say. And this is also true for everyone and for everything, not only for wine.

 



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 36, December 2005   
Wine? Red, Still and Always Red!Wine? Red, Still and Always Red! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 35, November 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 37, January 2006

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 recently discussed about Amarone with a friend of mine. He says this wine is always produced with dried grapes, whereas according to what I know, it can also be produced with fresh grapes. Who is right?
Salvatore Ascione -- Naples (Italy)
Amarone della Valpolicella is one of the most prestigious wines in the Veronese area and of Italy. It is believed this wine is the result of the evolution of two wines: Recioto, and before it, Acinatico. Cassiodore, minister of Teodoricus, mentioned in one of his letters the Acinatico wine produced with a special technique of grape withering, produced - since those times - in the current territory of Valpolicella. In past times, in this area was produced Recioto only - made from dried grapes - and with time and with the changing of seasons, grapes, despite they were dried and vinified at the same way, began to make a wine drier than the original, for this reason - and because of its “bitter” taste - it was called Amarone. Still today in the Valpolicella area, Amarone is considered as a Recioto scapà, (fled Recioto), that is a Recioto “fled ” to the controls of typical production techniques used for this renowned sweet wine. According to historical sources, the first production of Amarone are dated back to the beginning of the last century and it was only in 1968 it was recognized as DOC. Despite the production of this wine has strongly increased in the course of the last years, Amarone is however a rare wine which requires a scrupulous control of grapes - typically Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara - and of the drying process.



I would like to ask for your opinion about synthetic corks. As natural corks are frequently affected by the annoying “corky smell”, why don't wineries completely replace them with synthetic ones?
Roberta Minerva -- Milan (Italy)
The subject of the use of synthetic corks has become pretty frequent in the world of wine. There are consumers and producers who are against this type of solution, whereas others seem to be more tolerant and accept this type of cork. Like you rightly said, natural cork can be affected - in some cases - by the annoying inconvenient of the so called “corky smell” - caused by tricloroanisole or 246-TCA - which is believed to spoil more than 5% of total worldwide wine production. As this fault cannot happen in synthetic corks, it should seem appropriate to completely replace natural corks, however it should be remembered synthetic corks offer a higher or total hermetic capability, therefore avoiding that essential exchange of oxygen from the inside of the bottle to the outside. This minimal quantity of oxygen passing through the pores of cork, is in fact essential for the aging of wine over time: the absence of this factor would cause - after some years - a strong reduction, therefore spoiling the wine. For this reason, synthetic cork seems to be particularly suited for wines destined to be consumed young, because - according to specific researches done on this subject - after about 18 months the effects of reduction becomes pretty evident.



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 36, December 2005   
Wine? Red, Still and Always Red!Wine? Red, Still and Always Red! MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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