The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
no avatar
User

Thomas

Rank

Senior Flamethrower

Posts

3574

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Thomas » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:43 pm

David Creighton wrote:well, we don't stop calling it a green or red light and do away with traffic lights just because some people see them deferently or not at all. most of us understand when our experiences don't exactly match with others; and we know this by the apparently odd way others use common words. we learn what the common and generally accepted parameters are. in other words, we don't have to all experience the world in exactly the same way to learn a common language and to profit by it.

am i correct that the main arguement here is: sugar means nothing - balance is everything. no one should even care if a wine is slightly sweet or even quite sweet as long as it is balanced.(there was that great story about the auslese with turkey - wow, good thing it was turkey and good thing they guy liked the combo; or it wouldn't have been a case in point - or at least not that point. i can tell you there are lots of people who would not have seen the humor in that situation.)

in addition, balance cannot be captured by a number, so even if the system is a relationship between acid and sugar, it can't tell enough of the story to be more useful than the current system of people putting whateveer descriptors on the labels they wish.

if the above two points are accurate statements of the positions of thomas and david, then i and probably tim and a few others might just have to disagree.


David,

While I am in the "balance is important" camp, on the issue of what to put on the label you have not characterized my position.

I recognize that Riesling may be a special case, as it's a rare grape that lends itself to many wine styles, but I believe there are only two important things that consumers want to know: do I like the wine? and what is its best use?

With those two things in mind, I believe a numbering or scale system is rather futile, except for the minuscule percentage of wine geeks who know what it all means.

My position is: let the label describe the wine and its intended use. Consumers will have to learn through experience either way; I vote for the way that's less geeky.
no avatar
User

Thomas

Rank

Senior Flamethrower

Posts

3574

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 5:23 pm

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Thomas » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:45 pm

Dave Erickson wrote:Riesling lovers--wine lovers!-- I have a great (and of course, self-serving) idea: If you want to know whether a Riesling is dry, or off-dry, or whether it will go with your grilled pork loin with mango chutney, why not ASK YOUR WINE MERCHANT. It's our job to taste new vintages when they come in. It's our job to get to know you and your preferences. Let us do our job, and we'll do our best to find a wine you'll enjoy.


I cannot agree more with that sentiment.

But I must say, there seems to be too many Davids in this discussion ;)
no avatar
User

David Creighton

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1237

Joined

Wed May 24, 2006 11:07 am

Location

ann arbor, michigan

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by David Creighton » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:00 pm

well, i think we can cross germany off the list - they have a decent system in place with the likes of: trocken, halbtrocken, feinherb, classic, grosses gewachs, the predikats, and more. we probably can cross austria off since nearly all of their wine is dry. someone has commented that that is also true of australia; but .......... its everyone else that needs to find something that will be helpfull to the average consumer. the list of luminaries btw includes the largest overall seller of riesling in the US, the largest producer east of the great divide, and reps from the riesling specialists in the finger lakes. these people want to tackle the situation and i think we should show some support until they prove they don't deserve it.

as for asking the personal in the wine shop: i guess they don't sell wine in supermarkets in North Carolina. - or New York(edit).
david creighton
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22400

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by David M. Bueker » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:35 pm

David Creighton wrote:as for asking the personal in the wine shop: i guess they don't sell wine in supermarkets in North Carolina. - or New York(edit).


They don't sell wine in supermarkets in many states. And guess what - 99.9% of what they sell in the supermarkets where it's legal isn't worthy of the attention of people who post on this site.

I always find it funny when the "average consumer" is brought up in discussions. None of us are average consumers. If it's too much trouble to spend a little time reading or talking to a merchant then I'm not sure what the point is.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Tim York

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

3935

Joined

Tue May 09, 2006 3:48 pm

Location

near Lisieux, France

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Tim York » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:52 am

David Creighton wrote:if the above two points are accurate statements of the positions of thomas and david, then i and probably tim and a few others might just have to disagree.


I am with you on this, David. I should also add that as the debate has developed I have become reconciled to a technical chart of parameters involving the interplay of sugar, acid, and pH.

I am, however, less happy about this -
David Creighton wrote:well, i think we can cross germany off the list - they have a decent system in place with the likes of: trocken, halbtrocken, feinherb, classic, grosses gewachs, the predikats, and more. we probably can cross austria off since nearly all of their wine is dry. someone has commented that that is also true of australia;



If an "international standard" is to be effective it should be truly international. As for Germany, I like the traditional (since 1971) and informative labelling supplement by "trocken" etc. but I start getting confused by some of newer development like grosses gewachs. I know that my reference books and Google or competent sales-people and sommeliers can help me but I, for one, don't carry the books or my computer into wine stores and restaurants and competence is not always available!

Mike Pollard wrote:Not to be overly critical Sue, but most of the list of "industry luminaries" in that press release leave me somewhat less than impressed.



I fully agree. Seen from this side of the Atlantic, the committee lacks credibility with no representation from Alsace or Austria and only Ernie Loosen from Germany. Without that I doubt whether the "international" standard will fly.

David M. Bueker wrote:
David Creighton wrote:as for asking the personal in the wine shop: i guess they don't sell wine in supermarkets in North Carolina. - or New York(edit).


They don't sell wine in supermarkets in many states. And guess what - 99.9% of what they sell in the supermarkets where it's legal isn't worthy of the attention of people who post on this site.

I always find it funny when the "average consumer" is brought up in discussions. None of us are average consumers. If it's too much trouble to spend a little time reading or talking to a merchant then I'm not sure what the point is.


There is a world outside the American states where supermarket wine sales are prohibited. In Europe, the vast majority of wine sales are made by supermarkets, as high as 90% in some countries. In the countries I know, outside Waitrose in the UK and the Foires aux Vins in French and Belgian supermarkets, David's observation about 99.9% is roughly true too. But that does not mean that the non-geek population which buys these wines is not entitled to help. I am convinced that Alsatian wines, just to take one example, would sell better, including to myself, if people were in less doubt about dryness/sweetness. I have to confess that I have some Alsace wines in my cellar, mostly purchased before my cellar book was wiped out by a virus, where I am in doubt about this and so they languish.


Finally, let me repeat that I would like to see a dryness/sweetness standard applied to all white wines, not just to Riesling. And why not to reds also?
Tim York
no avatar
User

Steve Slatcher

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

830

Joined

Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:51 pm

Location

Manchester, England

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Steve Slatcher » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:20 am

My biggest concern is that it will just be yet another sweetness scale that is not universally adopted. In the UK the major supermarkets already have sweetness scales, as does The Wine Society. Then of course the EU defines various sweetness terms, which must be correctly applied if they are used at all. But many producers chose not to. The Germans, bless 'em, even invented "feinherb" rather than use an official EU term. Oh, and there is the Champagne sweetness classification with huge overlaps, and where "sec" bizarrely means quite sweet.

I think one more scale will confuse even more rather than help. It is not a topic that greatly concerns me, but if anything I would vote for putting the RS and acid content on the label. Consumers might need some explanation about acid and sugar needing to be in balance, but that is hardly a difficult concept - adding sugar to sharp fruit is common practice.

Based on my own observations of how most people use the terms, here is the "Slatcher scale". But I am not proposing it be adopted as a standard!
Very dry - It feels like it is taking off my mouth lining, but as it is sophisticated to like dry wines, this is very sophisticated, so I will continue to drink it anyway. (Probably in reality dry, and rather acid or very tannic.)
Dry - OK to drink and I can get away with drinking it whilst continuing to be fashionable. (Really off-dry to medium, or with very sweet fruit aromas.)
Sweet - As it is unfashionable I couldn't possibly be thought to be enjoying it. (Really medium to sweet.)
no avatar
User

David Lole

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1556

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:49 am

Location

Canberra, Australia

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by David Lole » Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:02 am

Thomas wrote:But I must say, there seems to be too many Davids in this discussion


There is not! :lol:
Cheers,

David
User avatar
User

Bob Parsons Alberta

Rank

aka Doris

Posts

9627

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:34 am

Just returning from a trip south of here, find this thread most enlightening and will study more later.
I am always amazed when I take a dry (to me!) white wine into the Grill for the staff to taste and get the reply "its a bit sweet". LOL.
no avatar
User

Tim York

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

3935

Joined

Tue May 09, 2006 3:48 pm

Location

near Lisieux, France

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Tim York » Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:30 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:My biggest concern is that it will just be yet another sweetness scale that is not universally adopted. In the UK the major supermarkets already have sweetness scales, as does The Wine Society. Then of course the EU defines various sweetness terms, which must be correctly applied if they are used at all.


Two remarks -

1. I fully agree that we do not want a multiplicity of sweetness scales - just one used internationally.
2. This demonstrates that retailers, at least in the UK, see the need for such scale, even if they have not got together to agree one scale.

This is undoubtedly going to prove a very difficult exercise on which to get agreement but that does not mean that it is not necessary.
Tim York
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22400

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:32 pm

And there's the rub - something like this is probably necessary, but so is cold fusion.

It's the doing that going to prove near impossible.

And after looking at the list of the group proposing the classification I am also unimpressed.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
User

Dave Erickson

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

832

Joined

Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:31 pm

Location

Asheville, NC

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Dave Erickson » Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:58 pm

David Creighton wrote:as for asking the personal in the wine shop: i guess they don't sell wine in supermarkets in North Carolina. - or New York(edit).


You can buy wine in a supermarket in North Carolina. But probably not a spatlese. Supermarkets are good at selling brand-name wines (or brand-name anything), which I believe are outside the parameters of this discussion.

And yes, there are too many Davids on this thread. :D

It is clear by now, I hope, that this argument is not resolvable; we are dealing with the ineffables of aroma and taste, which by definition resist categorization, ordination, whatever you want to call it. And this thread amply demonstrates the everlasting tension between informed opinion and untutored, uninhibited, "natural" response to stimuli. I think I know a thing or two about riesling, but asserting knowledge to those unimpressed by learning is futile. I can take you through a flight of wines from the Mosel, and speak of Qualitätswein mit Prädikat and must weights and harvesting techniques, but you may be completely indifferent to any of it. Most people don't really care why a wine is good or not so good; they only care whether the glass in front of them is enjoyable. I wish it weren't so, but it is.
User avatar
User

Sue Courtney

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1967

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:33 pm

Location

Auckland, NZ

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Sue Courtney » Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:47 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:And after looking at the list of the group proposing the classification I am also unimpressed.


I read that statement is a bit of a slap in the face as the group incorporates a representative of New Zealand Winegrowers and New Zealand Winegrowers represents every wine producer in New Zealand. New Zealand is a country where there are so many different styles of riesling produced because there are no rules and with a high proportion of wines is sold in supermarkets (heck, you can even buy Penfolds Grange in some supermarkets). There are German wines with labels that no-one can understand - there are the Australian wines that are usually dry (but only experience lets the consumer know that) and then there are the NZ wines that could be anything. You say that consumers don't matter - but they do.

Anyway, FWIW, there are two schools of thought here too - some producers say there does not need to be any guidance on the bottle, it is what it is; then there are the retailers who really would like some indication on the bottle because there is often no consistency from one vintage to the next. You only get consistency if you make to a style. Some prodcuers are making to a style and that call it their 'classic' riesling, but in the context, what does 'classic' indicate about the style of wine in the bottle.

We think of German riesling as having consistency, but look at the 2005 vintage - that really threw many of us with the sweetness - kabinetts that tasted what we expect a spatlese or auslese to taste like in terms of sweetness, for example, and a spatlese that tasted as sweet as a beerenauslese. Grosses Gewachs is meaningless to 99.9% of wine drinkers and a large majority of devout Riesling drinkers and why do we need to learn German to know understand that trocken is dry and halbtrocken is half dry. What is wrong with English for English (or American)-speaking consumers.

Anyway, whatever is formulated will be up to individual producers to adopt. I still believe a meaningful scale / graph / or simply words on the bottle will encourage more people to buy riesling and then repeat buy.

Cheers,
Sue
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22400

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:54 pm

Sue,

Not intended as a slap at NZ. They are well represented. But Germany being covered solely by a representative from Dr. Loosen (nobody is better at marketing than Ernie Loosen) is a joke IMO. The lack of Alsatian & Austrian representation are also glaring omissions. Three of the greatest (the actual three greatest IMO) Riesling regions are essentially not represented. That's like having a commission on commercial jets without Boeing and Airbus.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Steve Slatcher

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

830

Joined

Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:51 pm

Location

Manchester, England

Re: News: At last a 'taste scale' classification for Riesling

by Steve Slatcher » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:16 pm

OK - here's a directed argument against the use of a dry-sweet scale based on perceived taste...

Personally I prefer to know whether my Riesling is acidic and sweet at the same time, or lower in both acidity and sweetness. I prefer the former, and I don't see how this scale is going to help me. Attempts to force 2 variables onto one dimension are fundamentally flawed. However much consumers might like to have simple information presented to them so they think they understand, if the information is not simple in the first place they are not going to be helped.
Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign