Do not Drink California Wines

Rowan Jacobsen in his book “American Terroir,” insist that wine has no other function but to dance on a pole to entertain and please all of us. In other words what you drink might not be a spontaneous creation of nature as the label might want to suggest.

Could it have been altered in any way? The wine growers could change nature? No way those growers are honest folks who want to deliver a sane and honest product…, Ouch! I might have touched a weak spot. 

Every time we dip our nose in a wine glass with expectations to discover hidden pleasures for our taste buds––Not always fulfilled. Where is the vineyard’s soul? When willing, we shed foolish sums for a promise rarely kept. Do we get a lap dance instead of the real thing?

Winemakers know what you like, most likely more than you know about your own taste. Glittering eyes have taught the Winemakers the ropes to your palate.

As wine aficionados could we be programmed by a far way computer funneling our own behavior?

Expectations don’t guarantee that all poles dancers are equal. Wines used to be the product of nature, it might not be anymore. We are dealing with natural wines, vs. manipulated ones.

Winemakers who want to keep the sweetness in their wine, filter or kill the yeast before the fermentation takes place. If not, what about adding glycerol to the batch, it will do the job an convert a so-so wine into a more acceptable one. A wine body is also enhanced with tanning. Tanning is found in the skin of the red grapes, also found in tea, coffee, and chocolate. Those are the basic structure of the wine. Why alter those? A wild guess? Mother nature doesn’t always provide the right combination due to weather conditions and soil.

If the grapes are underripe, well the solution is to add sugar to the batch. Adding sugar to the wine doesn’t make it sweeter it simply add alcohol content, the technique is called Chaptalisation. California wines due to the hot climate doesn’t need to add sugar, the reverse is more in tune, keep sugar out. California wines ferment to 17% of alcohol instead of the European 12%. That’s when reverse osmosis comes in, alcohol is removed, cooked off in a still then watered down to the famous “sweet spot.”

Frankie (Frankenstein,) is at work in the labs to bring you what you like. natural haze is removed with milk, egg and fish proteins. Designers yeast will add different flavors such as passion fruits, spices, citrus and what not, to the broth. You have it, we now deal with organic and natural wines, ouch!

Let’s pursue our winemaking voyage a little further. Natural Oak flavoring, which was popular during the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, those oak barrels are expensive in our modern world. Let’s use stainless steel tanks and add oak chips. Why compromise? We have the chemical world to help produce a rich buttery, vanilla flavor loved by the consumers.

Why is this not revealed on the labels? Ah, ha…, The US Food and Drug Administration has no jurisdiction over it being not a food product.

You, won’t get any mystery with any California wine? Winemakers understand what you like they have it down pat, there won’t be any surprise in any wine that you will purchase with the California label. On top of it all, there are more chemicals in California wines to add to your pleasure.

I raise my glass, Enjoy!

Read 1 comment

  1. Winner for most unique—and definitely hardest to get, as these wines are only made for friends and family and will never be sold—goes to Alex Kongsgaard’s “Skeletons vs Robots” wines. Though he spends most of his time working for his family’s winery, he makes these two wines on the side: an Albarino (the skeleton ) and a Zinfandel (robot), bottles them, draws the corresponding rudimentary figure on the bottle in silver sharpie, and basically just gives it out to friends. Brilliant.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.