Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Z Spigelman » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:23 pm

Hi Harry.
Hopefully we will one day meet while you are here in Israel.
Friday night - Gvaot Gofna Pinot Noir 2011 - excellent and paired well with with corned beef and cabbage.
Shabbat lunch - Tzora Neve Ilan Chardonnay 2012 - smooth, creamy and refreshing.
Tonight we opened a Tura Pinot Noir 2011 - very disappointing - harsh on the tongue, zilch on the nose, nothing there at all.
Zvi
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby ChaimShraga » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:08 pm

I think a good Chablis offers the salty aspects of the marine environment, not specifically the briny. In my opinion, Tzora offers the taut structure of a Chablis, without the salty, marine aspects.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Pinchas L » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:17 pm

ChaimShraga wrote:I think a good Chablis offers the salty aspects of the marine environment, not specifically the briny. In my opinion, Tzora offers the taut structure of a Chablis, without the salty, marine aspects.


Thanks for chiming in Chaim.

Personally, I consistently feel something in Tzora's Chardonnay that reminds me of the sea. I felt it in the '09 and now in the '10. However, my main point is that their style is unlike that of any other Israeli or Californian Chardonnay I've had, whether they are heavily oaked like the offerings from Yarden and Castel, or whether they are without much discernible oak, like that produced by Midbar and others. The fruit doesn't shine, being kept in check not by oak, but by something I cannot define. The only style that comes to my mind as a reference is that of Chablis, to which evidently some in the forum object.

Best,
-> Pinchas
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:57 am

"Melony", "Peachy" or "tropical fruit" are flavors I normally associate with golden-ripe Chardonnay. But Chardonnay can be ripe without having golden berries- they can be nice and green, and carry flavors anywhere from "grassy" to "appley". That's a matter of style, and often is simply a function of exposing the fruit to the sun. One can have all of the strength and none of the "typical" fruit without sun exposure. Or the fruit can be partially exposed, and have the benefits of both kinds of flavors. The style in the "new world" over the past 30 years has more and more favored sun exposure and those fruity flavors, often accompanied by oak-driven flavors. Chablis, on the other hand, aside from the lack of fruity characteristics in all but the ripest years, is typically characterized by lack of those oaky flavors as well.

I still don't know where the sea-like flavors would come from (I don't taste them) though the acidity is certainly similar to that of Muscadet, and both wines are considered an accompaniment to raw seafood and caviar. But then again, so is Champagne.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby lewis.pasco » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:28 am

Arguing about terms like "briney" (about which I tend to agree with Craig - it's not an apt wine descriptor) comes about partially because few outside technical producers in the profession have been taught the chemistry behind what we taste.

I think Craig nailed half the issue - relatively high acidity and low pH is de rigeur for Chablis - but I think the other half the issue is some balance of potentially high SO2 levels in bottled Chablis (don't know this for a fact, speculating based on what some friends have told me is"traditional" winemaking in Burgundy in general, and some French whites from other regions I have tested for free SO2) versus various levels of reduction that are common among many French wines, but can be particularly glaring in a delicate white like Chablis. Certainly "flinty" aromas are directly traceable to H2S presence in wine, and some or another level of H2S and its multitude of derivatives are more common in French wines than New World wines. Not to mention various sulphur containing compounds are in complex equilibria with each other, from SO2 all the way to H2S.

I'm a huge fan of Chards that posses traces of reduction in their aromas; Sauv Blancs too, and I think that's one (albeit minor) reason so many winemakers around the globe like to keep some white varieties as anaerobic as possible. Playing with the levels of "flaws" in one's wine is one essence of the artistry involved...
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Isaac Chavel » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:57 am

I'll bite. What is "reduction"?
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Gabriel Geller » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:18 am

Isaac Chavel wrote:I'll bite. What is "reduction"?

Hi Isaac,

To summarize quite a bit and make it as simple as possible, it is, in a way, the opposite of "opening up" for a wine. It happens usually when a wine hasn't received enough oxygen during the fermentation and ageing process in the barrel (one of the purposes of barrel ageing allows for controlled and slow oxygenation of the wine which is necessary for the wine to properly develop). Such thing has happened, as this has been extensively discussed on this forum, to the 2009 Castel Chardonnay and in less significant proportions to the 2011 as well. A reduced wine will often smell bad with typical scents of sulfur or burnt rubber (quite nasty in the 09 Castel C).

I found here a very interesting and more expertly detailed explanation by Allen Meadows on www.princeofpinot.com:

Allen Meadows on Reduction

Because of the continued use, in fact growth, of reductive winemaking in Burgundy, more and more in-barrel tastings that occur after malolactic fermentations, result in notes that refer to reduction. When wines are reduced, I say so rather than substituting a wine writing euphemism. p> The reason that the term reduction is seen so often is because more and more Burgundians, for both red and white wines, are now practicing what is called reductive winemaking. Effectively, what this means is that they are increasingly working with the fine lees; while this has long been accepted practice with whites, it has now spread to the reds as well. As a result, they rack less often or not at all and when they do, it’s often with limited or no exposure to oxygen. Indeed, more and more vignerons rack only in preparation for the bottling, which means that when I and other reviewers pass by to take a look at the wines a year after they were made, they are generally in a pretty reduced state.
Without getting into a chemical analysis (see Overstreet’s discussion below), of which I am ill-equipped to guide you anyway, this practice often results in a highly reductive environment in barrel, which simply put is the absence of oxygen. Winemakers have long understood that too much oxygen, particular in whites, is not a good thing because it oxidizes them and in extreme cases, can turn both reds and whites prematurely brown. However, the reverse can be taken to an extreme as well and when this occurs, a condition known as reduction occurs. A reduced wine smells dirty and in particular of sulfur compounds. A heavily reduced wine will taste of it as well and when extreme reduction occurs, mercaptans appear. Mercaptans smell of burnt rubber, garlic, stale sweat among other descriptors and suffice it to say, that is very unpleasant and if not corrected, can ruin a wine.
Reduction is, generally speaking, easily cured simply by introducing oxygen. As a practical matter, the way that this is most often done is to rack the wine from one barrel to another, which introduces oxygen and eliminates most of the lees (though sometimes they are kept and added back). However, if reduction appears in a finished, bottled wine, it is a clear flaw and while aeration (decanting) will usually clear it up, some wines are permanently reduced and about all that can be done is to put a penny in the wine. Sounds bizarre, but it works! (Note that my wife suggests a clean penny).
The reason that reduction is significant is because it renders a wine particularly difficult to judge. Slight reduction is not something to worry about because the basic characteristics of the wine are still evident. Heavy reduction that extends to the flavors makes a wine almost impossible to accurately judge and if the condition is left untreated it can permanently mark a wine. This risk explains why traditional practice in Burgundy is to rack a wine after the malolactic fermentation is finished so as to introduce some oxygen and thus dissipate the reductive aromas. However, with ever more precise analytical tools, a winemaker can push the edge of the envelope in this regard and still not reach a condition where more radical or invasive solutions are required to fix a problem. While this practice probably does result in richer and more complex wines, it makes the review process extremely difficult while the wines are in this state. I share this with you in the interest of full disclosure as I make every effort to judge a wine as accurately as possible but when there are limitations on my ability to do so, it’s incumbent upon me to say just that......It stands to reason that the closer any wine is to its finished state the more accurate the guidance will be.


Best,

GG
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby lewis.pasco » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:42 pm

That's a good, if somewhat rambling and less than technical, introduction to reduction in wines. Thanks Gabriel!

Let me add that as in all things, there isn't any clear marker between oxidative and reductive wines. It does not occur in quantum steps but rather a continuum of chemistry and flavor profiles. The author above seems to refer to any reduction as if it's bad. That indeed is what we were taught at Davis, err sort of. Because Davis really doesn't address issues of "good and bad" very clearly, to their credit, because winemaking involves taste and artistry.

To my mind perfectly "clean" whites (not all but many) are rather boring. My predilection for a bit of reduction in white arises from what I consider flinty, smoky green aromas that are evoked by very low levels of reduction. These aren't flavors for everyone, but those raised on European whites before they got into the big bold clean technical New World whites find these aromas enchanting and lending personality to the wines.

If I may without offending anyone, and even if I do so what, for me it's a bit the difference of viewing a beautiful woman unclothed or with some very tasteful clothes and make-up. What is more beautiful? What is more interesting?

The author notes that in many cases a reduced wine can be appreciated only after some aeration. Well a heavily reduced wine won't benefit much simply from oxidation by air, it needs a more radical treatment involving the introduction of copper (hence the penny treatment for the novice.) And if the reduction is very slight, the simple course of swirling a bit in the glass, and consuming a bottle over a time period (like over dinner) rather than guzzling it or simply giving a sniff and a sip or 2 as a critic must before he moves on to the next one, might well be more than enough to slowly disrobe the wine...

Isaac - for the general chemistry take a look at redox in google. Here's an interesting discussion: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senes ... -so2.shtml.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby lewis.pasco » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:46 pm

Missed a kinda big great example. Lots of folks familiar with German Rieslings (and they are the masters of Riesling,no doubt) love the slight, and sometimes not so slight, scents of "diesel" that they have - along with the extreme flowery-perfumey characteristic that makes Riesling unforgettable and ultimately recognizable as a distinct grape variety.

The flowery-perfume is from the grape, the diesel is from reductive reactions that occur during fermentations protected from oxygen.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:31 pm

There are those of us, such as me, who are not fans of reductive flavors. At the same time, I am not a fan of oxidation. There is a balance, and the key is to get that wine at the proper redox state. To me, that comes from practicing neither reductive winemaking nor allowing more than minimal, gentle oxidation, bottling with a reasonable amount of SO2, and gentle aging until optimal.

I am not convinced that Chablis is "flinty" (or that other wines would be described as "mineral") because of reduced sulfur compounds. Jury is still out on that, boychik, and it's not research that rings a bell at the AJEV. In fact, judging from the "mineral character" that so many rustically made reds, with plentiful oxygen introduction during fermentation, I would tend to think that evidence may not be pointing that direction.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby lewis.pasco » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:41 pm

Dear Criag - you couldn't be more inaccurate or reaching with this statement:
In fact, judging from the "mineral character" that so many rustically made reds, with plentiful oxygen introduction during fermentation, I would tend to think that evidence may not be pointing that direction.


Since when does oxygen introduced during fermentation prevent reduction from rearing it's head during the aging/maturation process and finally showing itself in a finished wine?

Roger Boulton taught us that introducing oxygen during fermentation (or early post ferment) - and there are plenty of good reasons to introduce O2 during fermentation that have nothing to do with reduced sulfur compounds - can drive H2S into derivatives which, while they have far lower thresholds than H2S itself, are arguably worse, more offensive smells that low levels of H2S itself... and harder to remove once formed. The article Gabriel quoted also talked about reduction arising from wines left on lies, even light lies.

My knowledge of "flinty" smells in wines doesn't come from AJEV articles, but from following my own barrels. The disadvantages of burning sulfur discs or wicks in barrels (which can leave drops of sulfur itself or sulfur containing compounds in the barrels) instead of pure SO2 gas for me was offset by the knowledge I learned from following those barrels with "sulfur drops" in them. Didn't matter that I practiced very oxidative Chard processing pre-ferment (brown juice without any SO2 added.) The wine in some barrels went reductive even though I barreled them all down on only very light lees. They differed eventually in reductive character (flinty aromas, specifically) according to the sulfur drops left in the barrels. Even more radically, when I was a cellar rat in wineries that weren't nearly so careful as I practiced later (about making sure any lies left in a wine was evenly distributed throughout its barrels) and saw "last of the lot" barrels filled from the bottom of vats so that these barrels had markedly higher % lies, those barrels tended to go stinky reductive in a big way, and sometimes beyond repair. Didn't matter that the reds at this winery were all fermented in small open top vessels - high lies wine in barrels begs for reduction.

You ever notice that wines aged in larger vessels tend to get reductive characters moreso that the same wine left in smaller vessels - comparing only SS vats it's a pretty common occurrence, and oxygen introduction during fermentation doesn't prevent it in the least.
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Isaac Chavel » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:40 pm

Uh, oh. I am beginning to think this is the sh'mitta thread deja vu all over again.

So, without the heavy chemistry. Are the sulfur compounds naturally in wine, and one adds or tries to suppress to control their effect? Or is it a modern/contemporary winemaking technique to introduce them into wines?
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Re: Ultimate Fight / WeeksEnd wine

Postby Craig Winchell » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:59 pm

Isaac, it depends. Much of the sulfur that can be reduced is residual sulfur left over from viticultural practice of dusting with elemental sulfur or spraying wettable sulfur on the vineyard for control of powdery mildew. Other sulfur is added to juice or wine as sulfur dioxide for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It is worthwhile noting that while much of the residual sulfur is reduced, a small part is oxidized, so that even wines with no added SO2 usually contain SO2. The only reducing sulfur typically found in the grapes themselves comes from the amino acids cystein and methionine. There are a couple of other sulfur-containing molecules in the flavor componentry of some grapes.

So this begs the question of whether wines were flinty or mineral in the years before additional sulfur was typically added in any form, or when copper sulfate was regularly sprayed on grapes to control other fungi (part of "Bordeaux Mixture"), which would precipitate reduced sulfur. To the best of my knowledge, these wines (such as Chablis) were famous for their distinctive flavor profiles far back into the past. probably before such things were regularly added. If I am correct, it would tend to favor a hypothesis that reduced sulfur compounds are not a cause of the distinctive flavor profiles, since only a diminutive amount of reduced sulfur can be attributed to breakdown of cystein and methionine under normal circumstances, according to most research.
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