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. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune