Based on responses to several posts in the past, I can see that alcohol levels in wine are a hot topic for Vinography readers. So when I saw this excellent piece by Jancis Robinson on the subject, I had to let you know.
She goes through the background of the debate, and the causes of high alcohol in wines, and some of the conflicts between growers and winemakers surrounding hangtime (which is all good reading for those who are unfamiliar with the issue) but then she brings up an astonishing fact that I was unaware of, which adds a whole new dimension to the debate.
It turns out that American wines over 15% in alcohol are effectively forbidden from being exported to America's largest overseas market: the EU. Apparently that 15% threshold requires a bi-lateral wine agreement to exist between the EU and the country of export. If it doesn't exist then the EU won't let the wine in, and like so many of our international trade agreements these days, this one just hasn't made the priority lists for American diplomacy.
Of course, the Australians, the Chileans, and the South Africans have all done their due diligence and struck agreements.
Of course, many wine drinkers would say that's the least of our worries, when the wine is to high in alcohol to drink.
Check out the article. It's a good one.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Divine Droplets Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets US 2014 Vintage - Early, Fast, Eventful Vinography Images: Big Shadow Come Explore The Essence of Wine with Me in Healdsburg: October 30th, 2014 Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 5, 2014 Another Idiotic California Law Screws Wineries Vinography Images: Vineyard Reflections The Fake Tongue Illusion and Wine Tasting 2014 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: October 21, San Francisco
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy