Global warming is a serious issue in areas like Napa Valley California and Paso Robles as well as equator close regions like Australia. These hot temperatures put high, out of control sugar levels in the grapes which in turn cause very “Hot Wines” or wines with way too much alcohol for smooth, enjoyment. Sugar level is measured in degrees which is known as BRIX (Pronounced Bricks) Each degree Brix is equivalent to 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams of grape juice. The grapes for most table wines have a Brix reading of between 20° to 25° at harvest. About 55 to 60 percent of the sugar is converted into alcohol. The estimated alcohol that a wine will produce (called potential alcohol) is estimated by multiplying the Brix reading by 0.55. Therefore, a 20° Brix will make a wine with about 11 percent alcohol. My Ideal BRIX level is about 24-25 producing wines with European Style alcohol levels of between 13 and 13.8% alcohol. The labeling laws in America for still wines is a maximum amount of 17% alcohol with a 1.5% margin of error or as I would say is LYING before they have to label the wine as “Fortified”. Fortified wines like Ports, Madeiras, Sherries, Marsalas are fortified with brandy or neutral spirits either during fermentation or after fermentation. For instance, the laws in Portugal for Port Wine, is that the wine must be a minimum of 18% Alcohol before calling it a Port Wine. The only non fortifed wine I will personally accept over 15% alcohol is Amarone from the Valpolicella region of Italy. The reason being is these wines are made from dried out grapes, which in turn contain higher sugar content and “BRIX” levels so it is understandable that most Amarones are 15-16.5% Alcohol. With all that explained, do you want to start drinking a Napa Valley “FORTIFIED” Cabernet Sauvignon or a “FORTIFIED” Australian Shiraz? I know the state of California has earthquakes and little tremors but now I attribute them not to The San Andreas Fault, I am convinced they are caused by deceased wine legend Robert Mondavi turning over in his grave!
This is the 2008 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This one is hitting the heat index at 15.3 % alcohol levels. I have seen Napa Valley Chardonnays from Hanzell at $56 a pop coming in at over 15% alcohol and then of course they have to mask the alcohol levels by hiding them in more Oak Barrels where you are tasting nothing but a Tree and Vanilla with no fruit. Keep in mind that Chardonnays from Burgundy, France or “Purity Chardonnay” an un-oaked Chardonnay from my good friends Stewart Boedecker and Athena Pappas in Willamette Valley Oregon, range in alcohol levels between 12.5 and 13.5%. Seriously, I believe Mr Mondavi’s name is being destroyed by releasing Cabs and Merlots from Napa Valley with Cayenne Pepper type heat levels of over 15%.
Michael and David Vineyards in the Lodi Appellation started out with their famous Red Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins which on the first release had a 13.9% alcohol level. Then came Earthquake. Good name for both of these products because current releases of 7 Deadly Zins contain 15% alcohol and Earthquake is causing an Earthquake in your intestines at 16% Alcohol and all of the SINS in 7 Deadly Zins are the high alcohol which if you drink enough of this gasoline I guess it really could be “DEADLY”! Ice, Ice, someone please!!
My biggest issue in this subject is winemakers Sarah and Sparky Marquis from Mollydooker Wines. I seriously don’t understand how reviewers drink these wines and review them so highly without taking 3 weeks of Prilosec prior to drinking. Wines like Carnival of Love, The Boxer, The Enchanted Path all contain a whopping 16.5% alcohol. My 2 friends who enjoy drinking wines with me tried a bottle of Carnival of Love once and were on Protonix for 2 days after suffering from Gastritis and serious Acid Reflux. The kicker to this entire post is what you are about to watch. The winemakers of Mollydooker wines know that these wines are ridiculously HIGH IN ALCOHOL that no one can enjoy them. They hired an expensive California marketing firm to figure out a clever way to sell these expensive flamethrower wines. They invented a dance called “THE MOLLYDOOKER SHAKE”. This is an old snake oil salesperson trick. Even when I worked for a wholesale wine distributor, I well knew if I had a wine to present to a buyer that was “HOT” (High In Alcohol), I would open the bottle just before walking in to see the buyer, put the cork back in and shake it vigoursly. Everyone in the winemaking business knows if you dissipate the nitrogen in the wine by letting some oxygen in and shaking it up before serving, you will fool the wine buyer into buying 20 cases before he realizes he bought a wine with way too high alcohol content!. But now that it is a dance, the young people or wine layperson thinks this is the way you drink Mollydooker Flamethrower Wines. It’s working too! To every person who loves Mollydooker and I voice my opinion they actually ask me “Did You Do The Shake”? Watch this Joke of A Video made by Sarah And Spaky themselves.
It’s a lost cause!. People still will buy snake oil. Mr Mondavi since your sons sold the winery and have always bastardized your name, I can only say I apologize. For Sarah And Sparky Marquis, you should be ASHAMED of yourself.