There’s a fairly recent thread where most of us who do like PG agreed that the grape does best in Alsace and the Alto Adige, but I can’t immediately find it. I’m not a fan of pinot grigio either, but neutral sorts of wine have their place in the world (e.g. with a spicy Mediterranean sort of dish).
@Taffy-on-Tour Glycol in Austrian wine stopped being an issue last century, for me I always get excited when I see a tall bottle with a red top and white stripe on the capsule, haven’t yet had a bad Austrian wine.
Agreed, with bells on! In my very humble opinion, Austria is producing some of the most exciting reds and whites around at the moment. Even for entry level wines, the quality is regularly on the very good to excellent side of the scale. And I think this is a trend that is going to continue. Amen!
A very small number of Austrian producers cynically wrecked their nations industry by the addition of small amounts of Ethylene Glycol. If I remember, this was done as a sweetness issue.
I am delighted that their wines have regained respect across the world.
I do wonder who is responsible for the testing of WS wines to ensure that they are safe? For example does the Society have an in house laboratory, do we rely on EC testing or leave it to the integrity of the producers or regional authorities and what confidence might one have in them?
I make this point regarding say the alcohol content of some wines, where what is stated on the bottle bears little accuracy to the actual contents. Personally, I am not that bothered about this number but I have come to be aware that some are. Note that from observation of self-regulation in many facets of society, it does not work, there can be abuse as we have all seen, be it with the media or financial products. My original comment was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek but as enthusiasts we do hear from time to time stories of adulteration, be it wine from one region being adulterated with that from another, in the past wines from one vintage being added to another etc. Happily the testing equipment for detecting abuse has improved so much in recent years, with many parameters now up for examination where previously it was just a sci-fi aspiration.
And with Brexit, might we lose access to EC testing system or accreditation and have to set up our own system?
So I do wonder what safeguards the Society has in place to ensure that our wines are safe and accurately labelled?
I do try to keep us as safe and legal as possible. Where we buy via UK agents, they also have responsibility as importers into the UK.
Where own label wines are concerned (Society and Exhibition labels), we request a post bottling analysis. The standard of these does vary with some completed in basic labs at the winery and probably just covering SO2 and alcohol. Others comply more fully with what we ask for, which is the above plus anything else with a legal limit, VA, metals, pesticides etc
With UK wine production on the increase, lab services for the wine trade is likely to be a growth area. We don’t have an in-house lab - although I do keep looking at lab equipment on Google, but a bit pricey for our needs. Instead, we along with many UK producers use an accredited lab called CampdenBRI based down in Chipping Campden. I use this for testing a risk assessed selection each month for:
This is usually to check against the label values or tech. sheets supplied by the producer. On occasion, there is enough of a difference on something like ABV to necessitate taking the wine off sale and applying a sticker with the correct value before it can be sold. On other occasions, a low free SO2 level might indicate that an anticipated drink window might be a bit ambitious.
Interestingly, glycol is still a consideration as an illegal additive in wine as some of the cooling systems for stainless steel fermentation tanks use it - although water is preferable. When we audit wineries that use glycol cooling, we check to ensure that negative pressure systems are used that in the event of a leak would ensure wine flowed into coolant rather than visa versa. The glycol is food grade but obviously not desirable in wine.
Some very hi-tech equipment is available that can narrow down the geographical origin of grapes but we rely on close relationships with our producers, buyer visits and risk assessed audits. At these we check the paperwork trail back as far as the vineyards and via all of the tanks, barrels and treatments that the wine has passed through en route to bottle. Obviously this isn’t a 100% guarantee but it does mean that we should spot if a few extra tanks have suddenly appeared from nowhere.
Chemical pedantry warning!!
Diethylene Glycol not Ethylene Glycol was what was used in a very small number of adulterated wines if I remember correctly.
This is an EU regulation. EU states that ABV on wines can only be whole numbers (x.0) or halves (x .5).
And wine laws allow a leeway. This makes some sense as wine labels are usually printed before the wine is bottled. Plus abv can change in bottle.
US wines do not label to full or half numbers but they are also allowed variation so a wine labeled at, say, 13.3% abv might not actually be that.
Exactly. It was a long time ago.
Young drinkers of today are not aware of this historic scandal, except that grey hairs automatically exclaim ‘anti-freeze’ when hearing the words Austian Wine
It was back in 1985:
In 1985 the first mobile phone call was made, there was the first televised broadcast from the house of Lords, Eastenders started, UK miners strike finishes, the Sinclair C5 stops production and a cost of a gallon of 4 star was almost £2.
Malbec is fashionable now, but I don’t think it ever was before. From Cahors it was known as the ‘black wine’ and was tough stuff. It was the Argentinian taming of it that gained it popularity.
Prosecco is very very fashionable now, and it never was before. BTW most Prosecco in this country is ‘Extra Dry’, which means medium (which is one reaon why it is so popular with new drinkers) and most Champagne is ‘Brut’, i.e. dry, so look for a rare Brut Prosecco.
It wasn’t until new world wines came popular that wine drinkers learned these names. Until then we were drinking geographic (Bordeaux/Rioja/Chianti etc) or brand names (Blue Nun, Mateus etc)
Viognier is a very recent fashion. No-one had ever heard its name outside the geekiest of wine geeks. You never ever saw a wine labelled as Viognier as there was no such thing. It was so little grown that, as Jancis wrote in 1992, there was only 32 ha planted world wide, mostly all in France, and it wasn’t even listed in the French govt agricultural census.
Thinking that these varieties will remain big sellers is not taking the long term view. In 2009 BBR re-printed their wine list of 1909. It is instructive to see the big sellers then, and how so many have fallen out of favour.
Did you drunk Viognier before 1995? And if you did it’d would have been Ch Grillet in Condrieu and they didn’t put the variety name on the label.
Jancis lists 1,368 grape varieties used for winemaking in her book ‘Wine Grapes’ and misses quite a few out.
Not saying that adventurous wine drinkers like all of us won’t have heard or even tasted some of the wines that’ll be popular next decade – there weren’t any really obscure ones in my tasting – but in the 2030s I think we’ll be drinking some odd Turkish varieties.
Torrontes was a possibility for my tasting, but I’m not aware of new plantings elsewhere.
I thought the attraction of Pinot Grigio with new drinkers was that it didn’t really taste of anything (unlike Pinot Gris…)
I’m not sure about Torrontes either. It has a fairly distinctive muscat component on the palate, and muscat flavours in a dry wine can be quite Marmitey to some people. You tend to win some and lose some with Torrontes.
Sorry about the moderately incendiary post.
I have had a few very bad days sequentially.
The weekend should be better. Gulp!!
Sorry to hear of your bad days.
Have a glass of Brut Prosecco
Incendiary posts are a good thing when they start – or, like here, breath new life in a discussion.
I think climate and world trade will have a big influence…both negatives as far as I’m concerned
Climate - has to be the UK coming forward and not only with bubbles but other still wines…might we see a brandy industry starting ?
World trade - not just the current hot topic of tariffs but who producers / countries choose to court…going where the money and the market is.
To go back to the wines in the tasting: the one I liked best, Undurraga Vigno Maule Carignan 2013, is in the bin ends at £13.50, reduced from £16.50.
Thanks for the heads-up Sheila. That is enjoyable wine at a more enjoyable price.