winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
klezman wrote:This is along the lines of one of the things I love about woot. Even if the acidity and pH and other technical data aren't posted initially, people ask for it and nearly always get it. Another way to help us decide whether it's likely to be a style we like.

I realize, though, this is not entirely in line with your argument. I'd love to hear more frequently what sorts of techniques were used in the making of individual wines. More importantly, even, I'm interested in why the winemaker decided to use these techniques. This is exactly because of what you're talking about - there's some good science behind winemaking but also lots of artistry. If it was just science any old shmo could pick up a recipe and do it.

Do you see a way to get the industry to move more towards something more honest and open? And if so, do you see it causing difficulty for consumers to decipher all these techniques? Or would that just be another step on the information overload trajectory?



This is a very good question. Let's start with a sidebar discussion about the general public's relationship to science. Your use of the term supposes that "science" is a complex formulaic book of facts in the realm of the objective as opposed to human subjective inquiry, i.e. art. It isn't. It's a system of inquiry. But plenty of rank-and-file scientists do indeed promote this myth.

Postmodern winemaking discourages this disrespect for the human side. It's possible (though challenging) to inquire into the subjective, and when we do, we find much shared experience, much objective subjectivity. Wine is a place where the two realms meet, and winemaking is all about merging the two. I prefer the old term "natural philosophy."

What I do for fun is to write about technical matters in a manner which is comprehensible to the intelligent layperson. This could be done much better if there were more winemaker voices. I am in a unique position because I am already "outed" as Dr. Evil by those who prejudge technology as the source of sameness in the selection at Safeway.

Technology doesn't lead to sameness. This is just some baloney Alice Feiring made up to stir up book sales. There is more diversity in the 250,000 wines on the U.S. market than ever before. But it's mostly occurring in places like Iowa Brianna, Lake Erie Chardonnay, and Missouri Chambercin -- wines with no chance of gaining Ms Feiring's attention because they're not carried at Whole Foods. The 2% or so of wines that can get any traction in the 3-tier system are selling to people who want consistency, i.e. to buy Merlot like they buy milk, and they want it to all taste the same. Technology has nothing to do with this market demand problem except to provide tools to enable winemakers to give the public what it wants.

Avoiding information overload, to write succinctly without leaving anything important out, is a wonderful challenge. I love to read Malcolm Gladwell, and admire his ability to lay out complex issues in an entertaining way.

If I am successful in passing along an understanding of these tools and why and when we use them, that by itself won't get winemakers out of the closet. As long as the shrill papparazzi have the ear of the public, winemakers are not going to be forthcoming. What is interesting about wine.woot is that it is an emerging forum that rewards honesty. Frankly, I expect you wooters to try my wierd-ass wines simply because I was straight with you. That's a new possibility.

But mean-spirited buffoons continue to dominate the discussion like teabaggers at a town hall meeting, and until they are replaced by saner, gentler voices, don't expect much candor from the candidates.

richardhod


quality posts: 261 Private Messages richardhod
klezman wrote:This is along the lines of one of the things I love about woot. Even if the acidity and pH and other technical data aren't posted initially, people ask for it and nearly always get it. Another way to help us decide whether it's likely to be a style we like.

I realize, though, this is not entirely in line with your argument. I'd love to hear more frequently what sorts of techniques were used in the making of individual wines. More importantly, even, I'm interested in why the winemaker decided to use these techniques. This is exactly because of what you're talking about - there's some good science behind winemaking but also lots of artistry. If it was just science any old shmo could pick up a recipe and do it.

Do you see a way to get the industry to move more towards something more honest and open? And if so, do you see it causing difficulty for consumers to decipher all these techniques? Or would that just be another step on the information overload trajectory?



I've found Scott H to be one of the most candid about how to make good wines: explaining about "grape juice" and methods of adding and removing sugar and acceptable practices, in a woot sometime this year or the end of last. No, I think maybe in his Inzinerator thread (see right). There ain't so much thing as pure, and I was initially shocked to hear about such things until I understood the perspective as explained by Mr Harvey.

I think there's more mileage in comparing what counts as "good practice" in different appellations: Which is bureaucratic nonsense, and which actually preserves quality, or helps define style (German rules?)

Perhaps this kind of wine discussion could even deserve its own thread somewhere. But don't let that stop people going hammer and tongs into such things and new slants here, as these conversations seem to be naturally moving on from minerality, and I'd hate us to close down some great talking.

I'd just love to dive back into some practical wisdom and move our arguments aay from the theoretic a little again (I bet we get back to it again;) , so we can encourage some more argument and braindumping from Clark, Peter, Scott et al.!

:D

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
richardhod wrote:I've found Scott H to be one of the most candid about how to make good wines: explaining about "grape juice" and methods of adding and removing sugar and acceptable practices, in a woot sometime this year or the end of last. No, I think maybe in his Inzinerator thread (see right). There ain't so much thing as pure, and I was initially shocked to hear about such things until I understood the perspective as explained by Mr Harvey.

I think there's more mileage in comparing what counts as "good practice" in different appellations: Which is bureaucratic nonsense, and which actually preserves quality, or helps define style (German rules?)

Perhaps this kind of wine discussion could even deserve its own thread somewhere. But don't let that stop people going hammer and tongs into such things and new slants here, as these conversations seem to be naturally moving on from minerality, and I'd hate us to close down some great talking.

I'd just love to dive back into some practical wisdom and move our arguments aay from the theoretic a little again (I bet we get back to it again;) , so we can encourage some more argument and braindumping from Clark, Peter, Scott et al.!

:D



Well, then, circling back to minerality, we can talk about whether it's a positive attribute for a wine. I got very focused on this energetic buzz because when my wife moved from France and we were dating, I was at first puzzled that although she was nuts about Sancerre, she didn't like California Sauvignon Blancs such as Geyser Peak at all. At first I thought that was just wierd, until I figured out that this minerally finish was what was missing.

On the other hand, one of the most common pieces of praise you get from novice drinkers is the word "smooth!" One gets the impression they are still suffering from early negative experiences with alcohol. Is this the opposite of energetic, or do they just mean harmonious?

These two directions for wine -- the presence of positives and the absence of negatives -- can be difficult to reconcile in a single wine. Of course, we could say these same things about acidity. But in California wines, minerality is more unexpected, and pretty sharply divides into reactions of utter delight, frank dislike, and confused perplexity. Throw in the associated reductive effects on a young wine, and the effect is even more amplified.

As we move more in this direction by increasing living soil practices, I see us widening the gap between the two wine industries, which I call Real Wine and McWine. The former is about 98% of the wines out there (somewhere), and the latter accounts for 95% of the volume.

klezman


quality posts: 120 Private Messages klezman
winesmith wrote:This is a very good question. Let's start with a sidebar discussion about the general public's relationship to science. Your use of the term supposes that "science" is a complex formulaic book of facts in the realm of the objective as opposed to human subjective inquiry, i.e. art. It isn't. It's a system of inquiry. But plenty of rank-and-file scientists do indeed promote this myth.



Sidebar is agreed. I am actually an engineer/scientist and it's hard to keep the real meaning of science up in day to day conversation. Most people, as you observe, view science as a body of knowledge, and unwittingly I do sometimes (frequently?) do that as well. I'll be paying more attention I also have my beefs with how science is portrayed in the media, but that's definitely a topic for another day.

winesmith wrote:Postmodern winemaking discourages this disrespect for the human side. It's possible (though challenging) to inquire into the subjective, and when we do, we find much shared experience, much objective subjectivity. Wine is a place where the two realms meet, and winemaking is all about merging the two. I prefer the old term "natural philosophy."

What I do for fun is to write about technical matters in a manner which is comprehensible to the intelligent layperson. This could be done much better if there were more winemaker voices. I am in a unique position because I am already "outed" as Dr. Evil by those who prejudge technology as the source of sameness in the selection at Safeway.



Doctor Evil, eh? Wow. That's a sad statement about many winemakers and/or many in the wine industry. Well, I come to quite the opposite conclusion for what that's worth. I think that by understanding as much of the physical processes operating in whatever you're doing, you're in a better place to encourage them to do your bidding.

Should start a campaign

winesmith wrote:Technology doesn't lead to sameness. This is just some baloney Alice Feiring made up to stir up book sales. There is more diversity in the 250,000 wines on the U.S. market than ever before. ...Technology has nothing to do with this market demand problem except to provide tools to enable winemakers to give the public what it wants.

Avoiding information overload, to write succinctly without leaving anything important out, is a wonderful challenge. I love to read Malcolm Gladwell, and admire his ability to lay out complex issues in an entertaining way.

If I am successful in passing along an understanding of these tools and why and when we use them, that by itself won't get winemakers out of the closet. As long as the shrill papparazzi have the ear of the public, winemakers are not going to be forthcoming. What is interesting about wine.woot is that it is an emerging forum that rewards honesty. Frankly, I expect you wooters to try my wierd-ass wines simply because I was straight with you. That's a new possibility.



Interesting point about technology. I didn't realize the general line of attack was that technology leads to sameness of wines. I guess the underlying assumption to that means people think it's assembly line style. That sounds silly on its face, at least for the vast majority of the wine on the market.

Your observation about wine.woot, I think is right on the money. We're a group of geeks who like our wine and like to geek out about it. I am looking forward to trying your wines, that's for sure. I'd even have fun trying to see what my dad thinks of the Faux Chablis, since he is a bit of a French wine snob, partly for the minerality.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

klezman


quality posts: 120 Private Messages klezman
richardhod wrote:I've found Scott H to be one of the most candid about how to make good wines: explaining about "grape juice" and methods of adding and removing sugar and acceptable practices, in a woot sometime this year or the end of last. No, I think maybe in his Inzinerator thread (see right). There ain't so much thing as pure, and I was initially shocked to hear about such things until I understood the perspective as explained by Mr Harvey.

I think there's more mileage in comparing what counts as "good practice" in different appellations: Which is bureaucratic nonsense, and which actually preserves quality, or helps define style (German rules?)



I agree - I spent a few hours with a few other wooters at Scott's house a few weekends ago. He is amazingly open and happy to discuss every aspect of winemaking and the wine business. I was already incredibly impressed by his wines, and speaking to him cemented that for him as well.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

klezman


quality posts: 120 Private Messages klezman
winesmith wrote:On the other hand, one of the most common pieces of praise you get from novice drinkers is the word "smooth!" One gets the impression they are still suffering from early negative experiences with alcohol. Is this the opposite of energetic, or do they just mean harmonious?

...

As we move more in this direction by increasing living soil practices, I see us widening the gap between the two wine industries, which I call Real Wine and McWine. The former is about 98% of the wines out there (somewhere), and the latter accounts for 95% of the volume.



*Raises hand* I'll take some Real Wine, please! The McWine can be served at McD's

Good point about smoothness in wine. You are doing an excellent job of getting me to think about these long standing assumptions.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
winesmith wrote:We are in the middle of a paradigm shift wherein the establishment holds the high ground reputation-wise and in owning the language, with its buried slanted assumptions. We progress when modern winemaking sees the inadequacies of its system and postmodernism offers a plausible alternative.



This to me is the great struggle in the wine world, a sort of class struggle if you will. There is the nature vs. manipulation battle, of course, but that is a false dichotomy as has been pointed out in the discussion here. The struggle between an open yet critical discussion and truisms built upon assumptions is the real dichotomy.

On one side there are those that hold the most famous estates and regions as infallible, and readily invoke the superiority of their terroir despite an inability to define it. In this paradigm there is only better and best, and these cannot be questioned because history says they simply are better and best. This then ensures that Veblen wines dominate the discussion and those who treat wines as a luxury remain at the top of the food chain. It's truly an aristocratic, anti-democratic mindset, and its purpose is to assure that the wealthiest are the only group that can claim the title of connoisseur.

This is not to say there are substitutes for specific regions and styles--there aren't. But I subscribe to a pluralistic view of the world. In taste there are no absolutes, and as scientific inquiry advances, different terroirs are better understood, and suitable investment is placed into new ventures, the wine world only gets bigger. Those that view that world narrowly only do so in a feeble attempt to assert their self-assumed superiority.

History is learned to inform decisions based on past experience. Science, meanwhile, does not equate to continuous advance of society. But there are indeed realms where historically informed use of scientific inquiry leads to interesting developments--if not advances. There is much ignorance masquerading as absolute truth in the wine world, and slowly but surely it must be stripped away. For one, it amazes me how few people fail to grasp that tasting any wine with knowledge of price and pedigree introduces an unconscious bias. While we drink wines with this knowledge, the premise that we can evaluate wines fairly with complete knowledge is simply false.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
winesmith wrote:On the other hand, one of the most common pieces of praise you get from novice drinkers is the word "smooth!" One gets the impression they are still suffering from early negative experiences with alcohol. Is this the opposite of energetic, or do they just mean harmonious?



I do recall I liked many years ago a certain cheap wine because "it goes down smooth." Definitely a certain theme I've noticed in New World winemaking is an emphasis upon texture above other elements. I have little doubt modern tools have improved winemakers' abilities to consistently and inexpensively produce wines with the soft but enveloping texture that most people enjoy.

This does, in my mind, lead to a certain degree of homogenization. But the tools are not to blame--it is how the tools are used. What excites me about scientific inquiry as applied to winemaking is that technical knowledge provides options. Bland, smooth wine is but one option, albeit an option that is often abused. Understanding of the mechanisms that produce certain aromas or the impression of minerality allows winemakers to better express a wine the way they desire.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

richardhod


quality posts: 261 Private Messages richardhod
winesmith wrote:Well, then, circling back to minerality, we can talk about whether it's a positive attribute for a wine. I got very focused on this energetic buzz because when my wife moved from France and we were dating, I was at first puzzled that although she was nuts about Sancerre, she didn't like California Sauvignon Blancs such as Geyser Peak at all. At first I thought that was just wierd, until I figured out that this minerally finish was what was missing.

On the other hand, one of the most common pieces of praise you get from novice drinkers is the word "smooth!" One gets the impression they are still suffering from early negative experiences with alcohol. Is this the opposite of energetic, or do they just mean harmonious?

These two directions for wine -- the presence of positives and the absence of negatives -- can be difficult to reconcile in a single wine. Of course, we could say these same things about acidity. But in California wines, minerality is more unexpected, and pretty sharply divides into reactions of utter delight, frank dislike, and confused perplexity. Throw in the associated reductive effects on a young wine, and the effect is even more amplified.

As we move more in this direction by increasing living soil practices, I see us widening the gap between the two wine industries, which I call Real Wine and McWine. The former is about 98% of the wines out there (somewhere), and the latter accounts for 95% of the volume.



Like it, of course... except that at the end, I'd tend to veer towards gcdyersb's approach. We don't always eat michelin-starred food. Sometimes, the simple food is (almost) nourishing, warming, comforting and easily accessible. Beans on toast (for the Brits), poulet-frites (pour les francais.. they're always more upmarket) and some kind of burger / mexican favourite (for the You Ess). Or any late-night food, frankly.

For me, as with you I'm sure, it's about wine's equivalent of leading, or encouraging people from supermarket plastic cheese to raw pont l'eveque, via accessible creamy camembert as an intermediate step.
Or weaning them off the smooth Johnny Boring Walker via Glenfiddich to the likes of Macallen, Talisker or Laphroaig and better.
Or showing them that beyond their top choice tequila Patron Silver not only does Jose do a Riserva de la Famiglia, but that's only the bottom end of the amazing peppery delights of proper high-end tequila. Not for salt and limes!
I could continue this for hours, with many foods and drinks.

I didn't like Sancerre when I first tried it, and other rewarding French wines like Chablis. But I was 12, or 13. Sometimes we eed "starter wines", though start too low and people think that's all there is.

For the more sophisticated drinker, or the interested intermediate, easy, simple wines are ok, as long as we know that more is out there, and we don't just settle all the time for the easy, plain, predictable. Like settling in Newport Beach. Some people can afford to have the best wines all the time, but then they forget sometimes quite how good they have it by comparison :D

And let us not forget also the delights and rejuvenation involved in resting the palate!


All this a kind of preamble / diversionary response to you two, leading on to:

Thus, we seem to deem minerality one of the basket of those attributes desirable in a challenging, potentially excellent wine. So, what - if any - kind of a wine can become great WITHOUT it? And what would that wine have instead, or chan you characterise in general those wines which should benefit from at least some minerality?

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
richardhod wrote:Like it, of course... except that at the end, I'd tend to veer towards gcdyersb's approach. We don't always eat michelin-starred food. Sometimes, the simple food is (almost) nourishing, warming, comforting and easily accessible. Beans on toast (for the Brits), poulet-frites (pour les francais.. they're always more upmarket) and some kind of burger / mexican favourite (for the You Ess). Or any late-night food, frankly.

For me, as with you I'm sure, it's about wine's equivalent of leading, or encouraging people from supermarket plastic cheese to raw pont l'eveque, via accessible creamy camembert as an intermediate step.
Or weaning them off the smooth Johnny Boring Walker via Glenfiddich to the likes of Macallen, Talisker or Laphroaig and better.
Or showing them that beyond their top choice tequila Patron Silver not only does Jose do a Riserva de la Famiglia, but that's only the bottom end of the amazing peppery delights of proper high-end tequila. Not for salt and limes!
I could continue this for hours, with many foods and drinks.

I didn't like Sancerre when I first tried it, and other rewarding French wines like Chablis. But I was 12, or 13. Sometimes we eed "starter wines", though start too low and people think that's all there is.

For the more sophisticated drinker, or the interested intermediate, easy, simple wines are ok, as long as we know that more is out there, and we don't just settle all the time for the easy, plain, predictable. Like settling in Newport Beach. Some people can afford to have the best wines all the time, but then they forget sometimes quite how good they have it by comparison :D

And let us not forget also the delights and rejuvenation involved in resting the palate!


All this a kind of preamble / diversionary response to you two, leading on to:

Thus, we seem to deem minerality one of the basket of those attributes desirable in a challenging, potentially excellent wine. So, what - if any - kind of a wine can become great WITHOUT it? And what would that wine have instead, or can you characterise in general those wines which should benefit from at least some minerality?



The advantages of minerality are palate interest, longevity and a sense of connection to a place. In extreme exzaples, the disadvantages are youthful austerity, aggressive palate characteristics and a resulting unusual character which may be off-putting.

The Scotch analogy is particularly apt, for Laphroaig displays assertive characters which evoke passion in some and disgust in others. Thought it may be a gateway scotch, many consider Glenlivit the best there is.

Faux Chablis is in this extremist class, and the reaction is usually passionately positive or negative, seldom in between. This was on purpose; to show a wine so divergent from the type-cast toasty butterbombs that it reveals the whole spectrum of possibilities in a single wine. So it in fact argues for the center, for a movement towards less is more.

WineSmith Cab Franc is much more in the center, and generally well liked. With this variety we're not arguing against an established style; we're trying to find our way to a legitimate place for a venerable cepage seldom made well, wherein restraint is the key to excellence. Its minerality distinguishes it from my Cab Sauv, which is much more generous and muscular, but can't exhibit its depth.

This is the case for most California Cabernet Sauvignons including many great ones. But when we see cabs from well-drained mountain vineyards such as Mt. Veeder or Montebello Ridge, there is a lot more flavor interest. To its credit, Blackstone Merlot manages this as well, and deserves its broad market sales because of it.

I find California Sauv Blancs face a very low market expectation because we are "pyra-noid." afraid to show any vegetal side to them, and because they are dull and peachy on the palate, a problem they share with many of our Viogniers and Pinot Grigios. While you can still get it (they're tearing out the vineyard), definitely try Bonny Doon's Albarino for a great example of how minerality can lift the palate.

thatguy314


quality posts: 7 Private Messages thatguy314

Charles, sorry reading this late.

With all the talk of redox v. acid bases, and electron transfer, yet the similarity to acidity, you've been sticking with more traditional brosted acid definitions. have you considered that the mineral components may be acting as weak lewis acids/bases? i don't know the lewis acid/base potential of typical wine ions, but it seems to bridge the gap between the two ideas a bit.

personally i think if you were talking about redox behavior i think big reds rich in resveretrol and other antioxitant catechin substances might have an effect on perceived minerality, purified resveretrol is certainly available to test that hypothesis in the lighter white wines (though i don't know if it has a flavor impmact, i've never tasted the resveretrol i've bought form Sigma)

anyways... time to stop the amateur nerding and back to the professional nerding

cheers

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
thatguy314 wrote:
With all the talk of redox v. acid bases, and electron transfer, yet the similarity to acidity, you've been sticking with more traditional brosted acid definitions. have you considered that the mineral components may be acting as weak lewis acids/bases? i don't know the lewis acid/base potential of typical wine ions, but it seems to bridge the gap between the two ideas a bit.

personally i think if you were talking about redox behavior i think big reds rich in resveretrol and other antioxitant catechin substances might have an effect on perceived minerality, purified resveretrol is certainly available to test that hypothesis in the lighter white wines (though i don't know if it has a flavor impmact, i've never tasted the resveretrol i've bought form Sigma)

anyways... time to stop the amateur nerding and back to the professional nerding

cheers



The notion of Lewis acid-base pairs was exactly my point -- a redox couple probably behaves much like an acid-base pair except for the complications of kinetics and catalysis.

Coincidentally, we've been working for a client on resveratrol extraction and have gotten a bit of a handle on it. Although I regard it as snake oil and would not wish to sell it or represent its benefits, we have indeed supported research on its extraction, particularly in the water-soluble form from grape seeds.

Since any honest physician will admit that we know next to nothing about how pharmaceuticals affect various human bodies and their side effects, I tend to regard any such cure-all with scorn equal to my ire against the neoprohibitionists who want us to think wine is poison. Promoting resveratrol is simply fighting fire with fire, and there is no place for any true profesional in this so-called debate.

Although touted as an anti-oxidant, resveratrol lacks the orthodiphenol structure of reductive phenols. If anybody out there knows the mechanism of its supposed oxygenetic chemistry, please chime in.

That said, resveratrol is a phenolic with sensory traits of bitterness and astringency. In our work with seed extractions and separations, it seems precisely to track total phenols. I see no indication that it has anything to do with the reductive properties of white wines apart from muscadines, which are highly phenolic.

Any collector of wines for cellaring is well advised to assess longevity potential. This isn't easy. My advice is to add the phenolic strength to the mineral energy. Phenolic vigor can be assessed by the quantity and degree of hardness of tannins. Minerality is indicated through the "buzz" in the finish. The sum of the two is indicated through the closedness/apparent reduction of aromatics.

We need to discover a new wine language for neuvo-nerds, serious collectors with experience and no particular axe to grind, who are willing to collaborate in a global experiment about wine's nature. This will be largely an amateur nerd endeavor, because modern enological nerds are largely stuck in concepts that don't reflect experience. There is in fact no well-formed academic conversation to address the central topics of reduction and minerality, yet any winemaker with a brain in his head knows that these issues are today paramount.
Let's hear from all sides! Unfortunately, us "professionals" are full of crap. Those who attempt to pre-empt the conversation through academic jargon need to realize that we are in an explorative phase in which the burden of proof of the relevance of old-paradigm concepts is surely invited but afforded no special stature.

I would be very happy to hear a more helpful explanation on your points of view, in lay English please.

edlada


quality posts: 4 Private Messages edlada
klezman wrote: Similarly to understanding more about musical structure can enhance my appreciation of a John Coltrane solo.




A beautiful Jon Coltrane reference, now that's a quality post right there! Well played Klezman, well played indeed.

Edit: I finished reading the rest of the thread, some mighty fine stuff going on here.

My dogs like me, that is important.

thatguy314


quality posts: 7 Private Messages thatguy314
winesmith wrote:The notion of Lewis acid-base pairs was exactly my point -- a redox couple probably behaves much like an acid-base pair except for the complications of kinetics and catalysis.

Coincidentally, we've been working for a client on resveratrol extraction and have gotten a bit of a handle on it. Although I regard it as snake oil and would not wish to sell it or represent its benefits, we have indeed supported research on its extraction, particularly in the water-soluble form from grape seeds.

Since any honest physician will admit that we know next to nothing about how pharmaceuticals affect various human bodies and their side effects, I tend to regard any such cure-all with scorn equal to my ire against the neoprohibitionists who want us to think wine is poison. Promoting resveratrol is simply fighting fire with fire, and there is no place for any true profesional in this so-called debate.

Although touted as an anti-oxidant, resveratrol lacks the orthodiphenol structure of reductive phenols. If anybody out there knows the mechanism of its supposed oxygenetic chemistry, please chime in.

That said, resveratrol is a phenolic with sensory traits of bitterness and astringency. In our work with seed extractions and separations, it seems precisely to track total phenols. I see no indication that it has anything to do with the reductive properties of white wines apart from muscadines, which are highly phenolic.

Any collector of wines for cellaring is well advised to assess longevity potential. This isn't easy. My advice is to add the phenolic strength to the mineral energy. Phenolic vigor can be assessed by the quantity and degree of hardness of tannins. Minerality is indicated through the "buzz" in the finish. The sum of the two is indicated through the closedness/apparent reduction of aromatics.

We need to discover a new wine language for neuvo-nerds, serious collectors with experience and no particular axe to grind, who are willing to collaborate in a global experiment about wine's nature. This will be largely an amateur nerd endeavor, because modern enological nerds are largely stuck in concepts that don't reflect experience. There is in fact no well-formed academic conversation to address the central topics of reduction and minerality, yet any winemaker with a brain in his head knows that these issues are today paramount.
Let's hear from all sides! Unfortunately, us "professionals" are full of crap. Those who attempt to pre-empt the conversation through academic jargon need to realize that we are in an explorative phase in which the burden of proof of the relevance of old-paradigm concepts is surely invited but afforded no special stature.

I would be very happy to hear a more helpful explanation on your points of view, in lay English please.



The latter part I thought was pretty much in lay english. Doing tasting panels with oxidative species / anti-oxidants (or more specifically/accurately wines with altered redox potentials) to see if there was an effect on perceived minerality by flavor at a tasting panel.

I agree that resveratrol is a poor choice even though it's the trendy new antiodidant. Most resveratrol data is highly exagerated at best anyways. Most resveratrol studies that show benefit were conducted like the studies that said sacharin gives you cancer. Mice who got cancer from sacharin took the amount equivalent to 12L of diet soda every day for months. Similarly, to get the antioxidant benefits touted from resveratrol you'd have to drink multiple bottles of red wine every day to see the benefits. And of course those benefits would be significantly offset by the substantial damange you'd have done to your liver.

That said, many, many studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake has a benfit for both heart disease and diabetes, regardless of the source of alcohol.

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus
thatguy314 wrote:Similarly, to get the antioxidant benefits touted from resveratrol you'd have to drink multiple bottles of red wine every day to see the benefits.



Sign me up!

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

richardhod


quality posts: 261 Private Messages richardhod

little redeviation to our science and winemaking discussion. Someone pposted this elsewhere on the forums today:

http://biodynamicshoax.wordpress.com/

k1avg


quality posts: 82 Private Messages k1avg
winesmith wrote:Depends on the responsiveness of the State governments. No crystal ball, but we're hoping within the month.



Has there been any movement on this offer? I started thinking about minerality today for no reason (in the mind of a wine nerd...), and went back to read this thread. I almost went ahead and bought the minerality sampler off Winesmith's website, but then saw this part about an upcoming offer with the same wines that never upcame. In any case, this is definitely something that I would break my WBM for in a heartbeat, and probably go in for multiple.

--
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.

k1avg


quality posts: 82 Private Messages k1avg
k1avg wrote:Has there been any movement on this offer? I started thinking about minerality today for no reason (in the mind of a wine nerd...), and went back to read this thread. I almost went ahead and bought the minerality sampler off Winesmith's website, but then saw this part about an upcoming offer with the same wines that never upcame. In any case, this is definitely something that I would break my WBM for in a heartbeat, and probably go in for multiple.



Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

--
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
k1avg wrote:Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?



Many thanks, yee Wooters for your enthusiasm about the Winesmith minerality offerings. My apologies this is taking so long. The agonies my intrepid brother Brian is being subjected to in order to license direct shipping in even the few top States is truly ridiculous -- too painful to describe in detail.

In a nutshell, any small winery wishing to distribute in all 50 states needs to spend about $20,000 per year on license fees, plus file 50 monthly reports and 50 sales tax reports. The structure of each State's laws is utterly different -- this state will only allow 5 bottles every 45 days from moment of sale; this other one will only allow $200 every 50 days from the moment of shipping. The upshot is that we need to do 7,000 independent compliance checks on every sale.

Miraculously, there is affordable software to prompt us how to do this, but it still is a full time job to administrate it. That means, with burden, we spend about $50K on a staffer plus $20K on licenses. If we allocate 10% of our gross to this, we'd need to direct sell $700,000 on the net per year. This is twice our current gross revenue, which is almost entirely traditional distribution. We currently manage about $15,000/year in internet sales.

The miracle of wine.woot is that we can just concentrate on a few key markets for a single event that takes a very short, concentrated effort. So hopefully we'll sell a few extra grand on that special day and actually make a little money. We're concentrating on Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida, and a dozen States that are either free or cheap. That whole effort is only about $2,500. But here we are three months after applications and none of the key States have approved our applications yet. Should happen soon!

Thank you all for your patience and for caring about our strange and provocative wines.

Clark Smith, winemaker

k1avg


quality posts: 82 Private Messages k1avg
winesmith wrote:/snip/



Clark, thanks for checking in and updating us, and completely understood about our convoluted booze laws and waste-of-space government bureaucracies. If you ever feel like you could use an almost-lawyer, though...

Looking forward to when you guys finally wade through the muck. If it's any consolation, I can tell you I'll be in for at least a couple of whatever comes up, and I'm in one of the cheap states (er, "states" ).

--
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.

richardhod


quality posts: 261 Private Messages richardhod
k1avg wrote:Clark, thanks for checking in and updating us, and completely understood about our convoluted booze laws and waste-of-space government bureaucracies. If you ever feel like you could use an almost-lawyer, though...

Looking forward to when you guys finally wade through the muck. If it's any consolation, I can tell you I'll be in for at least a couple of whatever comes up, and I'm in one of the cheap states (er, "states" ).



I'll bring a bottle of the Faux chablis 03 with me to DC... I cn now book flights! so, when am I coming.. hmmm :D

PetiteSirah


quality posts: 78 Private Messages PetiteSirah
k1avg wrote:Clark, thanks for checking in and updating us, and completely understood about our convoluted booze laws and waste-of-space government bureaucracies. If you ever feel like you could use an almost-lawyer, though...

Looking forward to when you guys finally wade through the muck. If it's any consolation, I can tell you I'll be in for at least a couple of whatever comes up, and I'm in one of the cheap states (er, "states" ).



I was going to work with Clark on patent licensing, but my firm didn't want to deviate from the traditional financing arrangement and go contingent fee. Oh well, I hope if he gets to sue somebody he'll still work with us

Hail the victor, the king without flaw
Salute your new master ... Petite Sirah!


"Who has two thumbs and loves Petite Sirah?" ThisGuy!

k1avg


quality posts: 82 Private Messages k1avg
PetiteSirah wrote:I was going to work with Clark on patent licensing, but my firm didn't want to deviate from the traditional financing arrangement and go contingent fee. Oh well, I hope if he gets to sue somebody he'll still work with us



Actually, I'm guessing the part your firm was probably less enamored with was the idea of getting paid in wine.

--
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
PetiteSirah wrote:I was going to work with Clark on patent licensing, but my firm didn't want to deviate from the traditional financing arrangement and go contingent fee. Oh well, I hope if he gets to sue somebody he'll still work with us



Funny you should mention. My latest legal hassle is defending a small Clear Lake AVA grower, Jake Stephens, for whom I make very minerally wines (see www.diamondridgevineyards.com) against the bullying tactics of Francis Coppola's lawyers, who have decided to blow a few million bucks attacking about 30 wineries who have the word "diamond" in our names, including many who predate their use (their Diamond Series).

Check out the story at http://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataid=77692.

One of the many reasons this is absurd is that since Diamond is a grape variety, it can't be used by itself as a brand on a label, and therefore is not trademarkable. But FFC's lawyers are trying to throw their considerable weight around anyway, making it very tough on these many small fry to defend themselves and their various heritages.

I would say "what a ...", but since I'm in the middle, I don't want to give them grounds to countersue Jake for liabel. Perhaps some of you can imagine what I might be thinking...

k1avg


quality posts: 82 Private Messages k1avg
winesmith wrote:Funny you should mention. My latest legal hassle is defending a small Clear Lake AVA grower, Jake Stephens, for whom I make very minerally wines (see www.diamondridgevineyards.com) against the bullying tactics of Francis Coppola's lawyers, who have decided to blow a few million bucks attacking about 30 wineries who have the word "diamond" in our names, including many who predate their use (their Diamond Series).

Check out the story at http://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataid=77692.

One of the many reasons this is absurd is that since Diamond is a grape variety, it can't be used by itself as a brand on a label, and therefore is not trademarkable. But FFC's lawyers are trying to throw their considerable weight around anyway, making it very tough on these many small fry to defend themselves and their various heritages.

I would say "what a ...", but since I'm in the middle, I don't want to give them grounds to countersue Jake for liabel. Perhaps some of you can imagine what I might be thinking...


Well, while undoubtedly asinine, and surely a frustrating way to have to spend your time, that's not even the most ridiculous trademark suit I've seen today.

Luckily, I don't think many judges have patience for this kind of crap. Still, it is incredibly annoying. Sometimes I really hate lawyers.

--
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
k1avg wrote:Well, while undoubtedly asinine, and surely a frustrating way to have to spend your time, that's not even the most ridiculous trademark suit I've seen today.

Luckily, I don't think many judges have patience for this kind of crap. Still, it is incredibly annoying. Sometimes I really hate lawyers.



Time, hell. We're talking six figures in legal defense fees, all of which have to get passed to consumers at some point. Multiply by the 30 wineries involved. Everybody loses except the lawyers.

I did follow your link about Facebook going after Teachbook. Maybe wine.woot will need to stop using "jerkface" in their "reply to an existing message" message. "Jerkface" is clearly confusingly similar to "Facebook".

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb

So--is Coppola suing Diamond Mountain AVA? Last I'd checked there's a diamond in its name and a geographic formation doesn't usually keep a lawyer on retainer. Should be a easy win!

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

winesmith


quality posts: 37 Private Messages winesmith
gcdyersb wrote:So--is Coppola suing Diamond Mountain AVA? Last I'd checked there's a diamond in its name and a geographic formation doesn't usually keep a lawyer on retainer. Should be a easy win!



Easy doesn't mean cheap. Going into court is expensive. It isn't cheaper just because you're demonstrably right. That's what's enabled Coppola to throw their weight around.