andyduncan wrote:Have two questions for Kent if he's got a minute:
1: The description lists Free/Total Sulfur Dioxide in PPM, what am I supposed to read into those? Are those numbers high/low/medium? Are the lower levels in the older vintage a coincidence or result of what another winemaker was talking about with sulfur dioxide binding with other compounds over time? Or is that what the free/total part is referring to?
2: (yeah, that first one counts as one question, what of it?) There was an article on Appellation America about winemakers using reverse osmosis machines to lower the alcohol content and VA content of some of their wines. Without asking you to admit explicitly whether you used it on this batch (as it seems to be somewhat of a taboo topic), what do you think of the process, and have you ever tried it before?
Hi from Kent again
I didn’t have anything better to do this afternoon, so I am happy to write about wine-techy stuff.
Reverse osmoses is a new (last 7 years or so) process that allows us to remove alcohol from wine without diminishing the quality of the wine. In simple terms, it basically is a membrane that the wine flows past that allows only alcohol molecules to pass thru. Thus, the wine stays on one side and the alcohol passes to the other side. Needless to say, the technology behind it is a bit more complicated. The nice thing about this procedure is that it is very non-invasive on the wine, as you only treat a small portion and then blend it back to reduce the alcohol
More and more alcohol content has become an issue in winemaking. 25 years ago, it simply never was a worry, grapes became physiologically ripe (flavor-ripe) at lower sugars and, since alcohol is a direct percentage of the sugar in the grape, we just never had much of an issue with alcohol. This was good, since we also had no way to remove it without destroying the wine. Over the last couple of decades, because of changes in the way we grow grapes, global warming and a general change in the flavor profile of what wine drinkers seem to want out of their wine, we find that by the time the grapes are where we want them flavor-wise, they are often very high in sugar (and thus in alcohol). Reverse Osmosis is just a tool in the tool-chest that the winemaker has to make wine better and better. I don’t think there is a winemaker in the world who is fond of alcohol, it is a necessary component of wine to make it taste correct and be what wine should be, but it is also healthy only in moderation, and making wines with too much alcohol is not good from either a sensory or social point-of-view.
As to these three wines, no, none of them were ROde, but that said, I have absolutely no prejudice against RO. I do use it and love the results…it just didn’t turn out to be appropriate for these wines.