It has taken us a while but hopefully the wait was well worth it: earlier today, we kicked off the second season of the podcast with the first Italian episode! But that’s not all the news of the week, not all! Read on and find out what else happened during the past seven days in the world of wine and made it into the latest edition of the JollyCellarMaster Weekly:
A Tuscan Pioneer, Suspicious Results & Perfect Conditions
The food safety agency of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate has shared some interesting information. According to Meininger, has recently published its annual report for 2021. It acknowledges numerous violations of the code and states that every 11th sample showed led to an objection, though in most cases due to labelling errors. In others, however, the violations were more serious. Out of the almost 4000 samples 85 were exceeding tolerable limits or showed signs of inadmissible treatments.
Particular problem remains the illegal addition of aromatic substances, both in domestic and imported products.
To showcase the procedure, the report mentions adorn Felder wine that came up as suspicious during the exam and led to further tests and a subsequent objection because if aromatization of four wines in total from the same producer.
Another example given was that of a Spanish wine that consisted of synthetically produced apricot and peach aromas. The producer had already attracted attention last year and the Spanish authorities have been informed accordingly.
Other complaints Concern forbidden enrichment or adding of water. Other had released their wines too early to the market or were fined for incomplete accounting found in the cellar books.
The report also gave examples of consumer deception: for instance, through mislabelling of origin or vintage as well as violation of the blending rule by adding more than the permitted 15% of “other” wine, a favourite in PDO rules.
Interesting insight of what’s going on in some parts of the wine sector…
A Jolly Sweet Tooth
If you are a fan of sweet wines, you will love the news that are coming from Sauternes. Wine-Searcher reports that despite the summer heat, the latest vintage could be a real treat. In fact, the extraordinary dry and hot weather may have actually been a positive factor by blocking the development of unwanted mould or mildew. Now, on the other hand, the humidity brought by recent rainfall sets the vineyards up nicely for the highly desired noble rot.
The Sauternes region sitting between the rivers Garonne and Ciron, benefits from a specific micro-climate that brings humidity to the vineyards through morning fog rising from the river, which in turn is dispersed in good years by the warming sun.
Botrytis, the fungus that is responsible for the marvellous transformation of aromas in sweet wines like Sauternes, removes water from the grapes and thus leads to a higher concentration of sugar, fruit acids and minerals. Beyond the mere concentration, botrytis also transforms the tartaric and malic acids to acetic acids and increases the levels of glycerol and a fungal compound called sotolon. This results in the typical aroma profile with a sweet, piquant, viscous, honeyed impression, as Benjamin Lewin writes in his great book on Bordeaux.
It is a delicate operation since the mould that forms on the surface of the graves can also break the skin. If that happens noble rot turns to grey rot and the grapes are ruined.
Needless to say, that such a situation requires a steady hand and a lot of manual labour as the single grape needs to be picked by hand and never in one go but sometimes in up to a dozen rounds over several days or weeks. For the right selection, workers need to have a good understanding and keen eye for the right condition to pick the grapes when it is ready.
The history of Chianti Classico
Admitting to my own wrongdoing, here comes a confession: Yes, I fully admit that waiting has been too long and I take responsibility though I could also bring up personal and technical difficulties in my defence, but in vain.
In any case, the wait is over and the first episode of the new “season” of the JollyCellarMaster podcast is out with more to be released shortly. You may prefer getting it all in one go to binge at your own discretion, but remember it is all about enjoying with moderation, isn’t it?
The new episode is also a first since it is the first Italian episode and what better way than starting it with a true heavyweight of Italian wine, Paolo de Marchi. I was lucky to have a great conversation with the renowned pioneer and visionary of Isole e Olena winery in the heart of Tuscany a few months ago.
If you consider your command of the Italian language insufficient, do not despair, as an article that summarises the conversation covered in the podcast will be published soon.
Paolo and I met during a particularly challenging time in his life when after more than forty years at the helm of the company he brought to fame, he had decided to sell and handover the reigns to secure the continued success of his wines. Despite the circumstances, we spent almost the entire day together in the winery and the vineyards talking about past, present and future. A real treasure.
Well, that’s all for today. However, if you have an interesting story to tell or simply want to chat about wine as a guest on the Podcast, connect on Twitter or drop me a line. And if you want to stay in the loop about things happening at the JollyCellarMaster and the world of wine, make sure you sign up to our newsletter.
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