Friday, July 31, 2020

Feeling Snarky About Wine Fads

For better or for worse, a side benefit of being on social media is that I'm kept apprised of the latest wine fads. It appears that there is a myriad of wines that are created in marketing war rooms, rather than wineries, targeting the next generation of twenty-somethings. I am talking about clean wines, paleo wines, sugar-free wines, additive-free wines, wines made by chicks, wines made for chicks, and so forth.

Wine, wine, and more wine!
Now I am not in wine sales or marketing so I can't speak to the market research that goes into these fads. But I do make my own wine and know enough to be dangerous. So here is my snarky review. Take it with a grain of salt and a glass of wine. 

Good Clean Wine

I learned about Good Clean Wine in possibly the worst way. A poorly written advertorial was circulating in Twittersphere, subject to mockery and disdain. The piece contained quite a bit of misinformation and was later updated. Out of curiosity, I decided to google Good Clean Wine. Guess what? More advertorials!

What do they do? I would call them an American negociant of Italian wines. They source wines, slap their own labels on the bottles, and sell them. Good Clean Wine claims to source from wineries that practice sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking.

Good Clean Rose
What's my beef? Their advertorials tend towards fear mongering. One of them suggests that "Good Clean Wine doesn't contain any chemical additives, dyes, fake flavors, added sugars, added sulfites or animal byproducts... ... so that your liver can fully process the alcohol without getting overloaded with toxic gunk." Their website claims that their wine pairs with a healthy lifestyle. No hangover, no headache.

No, really?

The truth is that hangovers and headaches are caused by alcohol and dehydration more so than "toxic gunk." To me, the sin of excessive additives is in the masking of off-flavors in cheap mass-produced wines. A well-made wine also requires a minimal amount of additives to coax its flavors and to protect it from spoilage. So vilifying additives just doesn't do it for me.

Would I drink it? Yes, if it is handed to me, but I won't seek it out. I subscribe to sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking myself. However, I don't care for their marketing. 


Bev is the latest wine ad that has been showing up on my Facebook feed. It has a fun vibe that reminds me of the wine coolers of the 1980s, except that Bev is allegedly wine (with bubbles) and cooler. 

What do they do? They seem like the younger California version of Good Clean Wine. Instead of slapping their labels on wine bottles, they do it on cans. And instead of health, they focus on fun, female empowerment, and, for some reason, cats. 

Bev - about wine in a can and cats
What's my beef? As a female hobby winemaker with a management-level day job, Bev's brand of female empowerment does not resonate with me in either spheres of my life. It seems more Elle Woods than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The website seems to have more information about cats than wine. We do know that the grapes are sourced from Central California and the anonymous winemaker is female.

Bev has the typical no-additives, no-sugar marketing spiel. Surprisingly, it does not offend me so much as they don't pretend to be serious wine in the first place. Their wines are non-vintage, but no one is fooled into thinking that the bubbles are made via methode champenoise.

Would I drink it? Yes, and I would actually take them on a hiking trip or kayaking. A can is perfect and much lighter than a bottle. And if I somehow empower another female or a cat in so doing, all the better.

Dry Farm Wines

For the most part, I can get along with Dry Farm Wines. Of the three, Dry Farm Wines is the most serious about wine. They have extensive information about farming practice and winemaking philosophy, with which I agree.

What do they do? They are essentially a wine club, targeting paleo/keto wine drinkers who care about sustainable farming and minimal-intervention winemaking. The wines are curated and lab-tested based on a list of criteria and shipped to wine club members. Instead of slapping their labels on the bottles, they showcase the different wineries and winemakers in their portfolio.

Dry Farm Wines' ethos

What's my beef?
 I am not sure why lab-tested is used as a selling point. Most, if not all, commercial wines are lab-tested. Even I get my homemade wine lab-tested. The thresholds set for the three metrics of their lab test are lower than those for the average dry wine, although not shockingly so. One might argue that both sugar and alcohol thresholds are mere matters of taste. The sulfites threshold is also reasonable. 

But I may nitpick on the the statement that "(s)ulfites represent an unnatural way to make wine; we prefer to let nature take its course." At 75 ppm of sulfites, about half of those are not from the grapes. Nature probably will stop at 40 ppm. Again, that's nitpicking.

Would I drink it? Yes, if it is handed to me, but I won't seek it out. The marketing of natural wines is a bit of a turnoff for me. Besides, I already have several wine club memberships with wineries directly. I don't need a middleman.

Well, there you go! Thanks for reading my snarky review! What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Rioja Experiment, Part 2 - Reserva, Gran Reserva, and a Barbaresco?

Last month, I wrote about the first part of the Rioja experiment. The experiment serves to answer two questions raised from the book, Making Sense of Wine, by veteran wine critic Matt Kramer: 

1. Does Rioja age and evolve well?
2. Does Rioja fit your definition of a great wine?

Kramer's point was that Tempranillo, the dominant grape in Rioja, resists oxidation and is therefore limited in its ability to evolve and develop into secondary and tertiary flavors. This transformative quality is found in grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo.

2014 Hidalgo Gran Reserva
To put Kramer's point to the test, I recruited some friends to taste different vintages of Rioja four to five times over two days. The goal was to observe if the wine transformed during an aging process, simulated by increasing oxygen contact in the bottle. After the last tasting, we met on Zoom to share our tasting notes. 

Below is the selection of Riojas in the Reserva and Gran Reserva classifications for the experiment. The corresponding retail prices were for 750 ml unless otherwise indicated.
  • 2015 Bodegas Muga, Reserva ($35)
  • 2013 Marques de la Concordia Vina Alarde, Reserva ($20)
  • 2012 Hidalgo Tradicion H, Gran Reserva ($20-45)
  • 2007 Marques de la Concordia Vina Alarde Gran Reserva ($30) 
  • 2004 Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva ($165 for magnum)


Rioja Reserva classification requires that the wine has had three years of aging with at least one year in the barrel. We tasted two Riojas in this classification. 

The 2015 Bodegas Muga was the youngest wine in the Rioja line-up. It started youthful and aromatic with primary flavors in the form of plum, fig, and black tea. On the second day, it retained its fruit-forwardness with a hint of cherrywood, indicating a bit of the secondary flavor. 

The 2013 Marques de la Concordia started with predominantly dark fruit, such as plum. By the second day, it continued its fruit-forwardness but also picked up some secondary and tertiary flavors with chocolate and tobacco.

Gran Reserva
2004 Conde Valdemar Gran Reserva

Rioja Gran Reserva classification requires that the wine has had five years of aging with at least two years in the barrel. As expected, the three Riojas in the Gran Reserva classification are older vintages than the Reserva.

The 2012 Hidalgo was the youngest Gran Reserva. It started with a lot of fruit, spice, and chocolate, indicative of primary and secondary flavors. By the second day, while retaining cherry and berry in its bouquet, it also picked up more woodiness and tertiary flavors of tobacco from oxidation.

The 2007 Marques de la Concordia was unfortunately past its prime. It quickly lost whatever little life it might have had. The wine turned from lemon juice (not what you want in a red wine) and tobacco on the first day to vinegar and funk on the second day. Prior to its quick decline, we did observe some tertiary flavors in the form of tobacco and leather.

While the 2004 Conde Valdemar was the oldest Gran Reserva in the experiment, the larger format bottle with less oxygen contact allowed the wine to age more gracefully. It was surprisingly youthful for a 16-year-old wine. It greeted us with a concentrated perfume-y bouquet of cherry and plum. By the second day, its liveliness and fruit-forwardness continued with a dominance in dried fruit, such as prune and fig. If there were secondary and tertiary flavors, they were overshadowed by the abundance of fruit and luscious mouthfeel with velvety soft tannins.

And a Barbaresco?

OK, for those of you who know me, I love to sneak in Nebbiolo where I can. And I can! 

Nebbiolo, the grape behind Barbaresco and Barolo, is known for its ability to evolve and transform over time. For fun, we added the 2016 La Ca' Nova Barbaresco to compare with the 2015 Muga Reserva. Both were close in vintage and price range. 

Nebbiolo vs. Tempranillo
When first opened, the Barbaresco smelled like a burnt matchstick, likely from sulfur bi-product. This quickly dissipated and was replaced by a complex flavor profile of plum, berry, pomegranate, tea, vanilla, caramel, and leather - a reflection of primary, secondary, and tertiary flavors. 

By the next day, the flavor profile had evolved to plum, fig, and cherry Jolly Rancho, layered with bell pepper, earth, mushroom, Marmite, and a hint of cocoa. 

The Conclusion

Does Rioja age and evolve well? When well made and in the right vintage, a Rioja definitely ages well and can even go on for 25 years. While the 2007 Marques de la Concordia Gran Reserva was unfortunately past its prime, the 2004 Conde Valdemar was still youthful and delicious. 

Tasting through the Riojas of Gran Reserva and Reserva classifications of varying vintages, it is fair to conclude that Tempranillo makes extremely fruit-forward wine that might overshadow its secondary and tertiary flavors. The primary flavors range from fresh fruit, such as plum and cherry, to dried fruit, such as prunes and raisins. There are hints of secondary and tertiary flavors in older Riojas, like chocolate, leather, and tobacco. 

Food loves Rioja
Does Rioja fit your definition of a great wine? While it may not share the ever-evolving and complex flavors of a Barbaresco or Barolo, Rioja is a delicious wine and is eager to please. It pairs well with many dishes, from a myriad of tapas to vegetable curry, chicken tagine, and even a rack of lamb. It is also a pleasure to drink on its own. Rioja is like the good friend with whom you can go to a big work party, a small family gathering with that awkward drunk uncle, or even just to hang out alone.

What about Kramer?

Matt Kramer revisited his view on Rioja in his article "What Makes a Great Wine?" in the June 15, 2018 issue of the Wine Spectator. He had since relaxed his opinion on the transforming ability of a grape to qualify its greatness. Kramer ultimately conceded that the elegance and smoothness of Rioja were adequate to make it a great wine.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Rioja Experiment, Part 1

Is Rioja a great wine?

Matt Kramer, a veteran wine critic, once made a bold claim to the contrary. In his book, Making Sense of Wine, published in 1989, Kramer mentioned that the best wines do not age so much as they transform. He also noted that while Tempranillo, the main grape in Rioja, makes age-worthy wines, it does not transform with age.

Reserva & Grand Reserva
Rioja's age-worthiness is a well-known fact. The famous Spanish red is classified by how long it is aged prior to release:
  • Generic (or Joven) - No aging requirement
  • Crianza - Two years of aging, with at least one year in barrel
  • Reserva - Three years of aging, with at least one year in barrel
  • Gran Reserva - Five years of aging, with at least two years in barrel

Generally, the higher quality grapes will be aged longer and are designated for the higher classification. However, Kramer claims that because Tempranillo resists oxidation more so than other grapes, it is limited in its ability to transform and evolve into secondary and tertiary flavors that you would normally find in a Cabernet Sauvignon or my personal favorite, Nebbiolo.

Let's unpack what all this means.

Wine has a love-hate relationship with oxygen. Oxygen at the right level plays a critical role in wine making and maturation. If you think of wine as a living product, which many wine geeks do, oxygen is the catalyst that helps the wine mature and evolve.

Too little oxygen, the wine becomes reduced and develops a skunky aroma. Too much, the wine becomes oxidized, which translates to a sherry-like aroma with a vinegar taste. Like any living thing, a wine may start off young, mature and peak over time, and eventually tire and expire.

Letting wine breathe is allowing oxygen to wake up its flavors

As wine matures with the perfect Goldilocks-level of oxygen, the tannins in wine will become softer. The aromas will develop from primary to secondary and tertiary flavors. A well-made wine with the right grape(s) develops a complex flavor profile as it ages. Some examples of the flavor profile include:
  • Primary flavors (from the fruit and primary fermentation) - Fruit, floral, herb, mineral
  • Secondary flavors (from secondary fermentation and the barrel) - Bread, cream, wood, spice, coffee
  • Tertiary flavors (from aging and oxidation) - Leather, tobacco, nuttiness, mushroom, earthy
So I recruited some friends to help me do a two-day social-distancing experiment to taste through the simulated aging process of Rioja. We each picked a Rioja of our choice that has at least a Reserva classification and tasted it about 4-5 times over two days. Each tasting would be about 6 hours apart. A bottle of Barbaresco was also added to the mix for comparison.

Rioja Experiment

The goal of the experiment is to answer two questions:

1. Does Rioja age and evolve well?
2. Does Rioja fit your definition of a great wine? 

We completed the experiment and are in the process of sharing our observations. We will do the big reveal in the next post. In the meantime, I'd love it if you try this experiment along with us. Feel free to drop me a note with your observations as well. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing our results.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

Washington Wineries Reimagined During COVID

It has been over a month since Washington State imposed the stay-at-home order and a shutdown of non-essential businesses to slow down the spread of COVID-19 virus. This has been a game-changer for wineries, especially when late spring is typically the kickoff of a new wine season with a flurry of tasting events.

While Washington wineries are still open for business, services have been restricted to wine orders, deliveries, and pick-ups. Tasting rooms are closed, and Spring Release parties cancelled. A subdued lull takes the place of the buzz and excitement normally found this time of the year.

Festivities at Spring Valley Vineyard Ranch during 2019 Spring Release


This indefinite pause in wine tourism and large-scale wine events has a significant financial impact on wineries. In response, many wineries have turned up the dial on online sales, offering inexpensive or even free shipping. For consumers who live in close proximity, some wineries have ramped up on curbside pickups and even offered free wine deliveries. 

Some wineries, with the appropriate license, also include meals with wine purchase. Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla offers a $50 winery takeout, which includes a scrumptious three-course dinner for two with its wine.

Sample menu from Caprio Cellars

As for food establishments that serve wine, the shutdown also changes how business is run. As dining rooms across Washington are closed, the state liquor board has made temporary allowance to licensed eateries to sell wine with meals for curbside pick-ups or deliveries. This is a great way for consumers to stay safe and still support local restaurants and wineries.

Giving Back

Despite this being an uncertain time, it is heartening to know that there are wineries that are able and willing to pitch in to help the community out. Here are some creative ways that wineries are showing support to others during the pandemic:
  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Genoa Cellars offered healthcare workers 50% off wine purchase in March to thank them for their sacrifice.
  • Betz Family Winery donated $5 per bottle of The Untold Story, a red blend, sold through mid April to the Seattle Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund provides emergency assistance to the region's most vulnerable communities, such as financial support, healthcare, and childcare.
  • DeLille Cellars is donating 50% of the sale of D2 Heart, its wildly popular Bordeaux blend, to Seattle Foundation's COVID-19 Response Fund and Lifewire, a non-profit that strives to end domestic violence.
  • Doubleback Winery, owned by former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, sponsored free meals from Andrae's Kitchen to out-of-work employees in Walla Walla's hospitality industry during the first two weeks of April.
  • Quilceda Creek, a premium Washington winery, recently joined the bandwagon by releasing bottles from its private library to its members with the plan to donate 50% of all proceeds from the sales to Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. RERF was created to help restaurant industry employees who are experiencing extraordinary hardship due to the pandemic.
#QuilcedaCares campagne raising money for RERF

My Verdict: While COVID is a global pandemic that penetrates countless countries and across different societal strata, the human spirit to reinvent, to adapt, and to give back and support our community is what that will get us through this crisis. I am proud of Washington wineries for doing just that. So stay home, stay healthy, and drink good wine (not disinfectant). This too shall come to pass.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SIP (Shelter-In-Place) in Walla Walla, COVID-19 edition

March 14 (Saturday)

It was a cold spring day as we drove to Walla Walla. We took the usual scenic route through the Cascade Mountain Range to Vantage before heading south along the Columbia River on and off till we arrived in the wine country. 

Breathtaking drive through the Cascades
Still, we counted our blessings: the ability to work remote in a place with no known case of COVID-19, and our friends in Walla Walla who were awaiting with nourishment and libation.

March 15 (Sunday)

It seemed unusually quiet even for the shoulder season in Walla Walla wine country. Cayuse had called off its annual Private Release weekend, usually held in the first weekend of April. There were rumors that other wineries might follow suit, culminating in the cancellation of Spring Release in May.

We snuck in a visit to the newly opened tasting room of Caprio Cellars in the southside. The winery welcomed us with a glass of sparkling Vouvray before we got into the estate 2018 Semillon. This was followed by a vertical tasting of the 2015 to 2017 Eleanor Vineyard Bordeaux blends. Completing the line-up was my favorite, the 2015 Sanitella, also a Bordeaux blend but from both estate Eleanor and Octave Vineyards.

Wine tasting at the new Caprio Cellars tasting room
The tasting room was gorgeous and airy, with plenty of natural light and outdoor seating. On certain days, an on-site chef comes in to prepare food that pairs with the wines. And once a week, you can order dinner-to-go for two with a bottle of wine for $50. The upcoming meal deal is lasagne. Something to think about!

March 16 (Monday)

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced statewide shutdown of restaurants, bars, and large social gatherings starting the next day. That would include all tasting rooms. Not knowing how long this would last, we got together with some close friends for our last supper to support our favorite restaurant, Passatempo.

Last supper at Passatempo
Restaurants all over town announced to-go and delivery services starting Tuesday. It would be weird to be in Walla Walla and not be able to visit a winery and go to our favorite restaurants. But safety first.

March 20 (Friday)

TGIF! I have not spent this much time at home, and the dogs definitely love it. Once or twice a day, we will take the dogs to the beautiful Pioneer Park and Aviary across the street from our house. The dogs enjoy checking out their feathered friends and sniffing out red fox squirrels.

Dog-tired from working remote
It has been quiet here in Walla Walla; a college town without students and a wine country without tourists. Businesses are shut down for the most part, and we don't know how many will return or recover after the pandemic.

March 21 (Saturday)

We did get the lasagne meal deal from Caprio Cellars after all. It came with a bottle of wine, a scrumptious salad with sliced beets and citrus dressing, brownies for dessert, and the winery-branded toilet roll!

Caprio-branded TP
Speaking of TP, the stores have been out of toilet paper even before we got there. Whenever a shipment arrives, the store would announce it, and the merchandise would be gone within the hour.

BAD NEWS! Walla Walla County got its first confirmed case of COVID-19. A man in his 40s is under home isolation for two weeks or three days without fever, whichever is longer. We believe we will see more cases in the coming days. 

March 23 (Monday)

This is the start of my second week of remote work from Walla Walla. The work day ended with Governor Inslee issuing a stay-at-home order. We had already been home for the most part besides running essential errands and walking the dogs. We started looking into grocery delivery services such as Instacart. In Walla Walla, that means a fine offering of Safeway, Albertson's, and Petco. 

March 27 (Friday)

The work week ended with a total of five confirmed COVID cases in the county; all under home isolation. One of them happened to be a TSA screening officer at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. The airport was shut down a couple of days for deep cleaning. 

2011 Dunham Late 
Harvest Riesling
On the wine front, our neighbor had brought over a bottle of dessert wine from Dunham Cellars several days ago. It is the 2011 vintage of the Late Harvest Riesling from Lewis Estate Vineyard in Columbia Valley. The wine has a deep amber hue, likely contributed by its age, and a port-like honey nose. The 26.7% residual sugar is much higher than most dessert wines, but the honeysuckle sweetness on the palate is balanced by citrusy acidity.

Winemakers, Eric Dunham and Daniel Wampfler, were certainly right in their description that the "wine is going to last a long, long time in the bottle (if left unopened)." It is quite delightful!

March 29 (Sunday)

Another quiet home weekend spent working on the yard and cleaning the house. Spring weather is always unpredictable with a mix of rain and sun breaks. Feeling a little stir-crazy, we decided to go out for a drive to Milton-Freewater in Oregon. 

While it sounds far, the truth is Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater are less than 12 miles apart, equidistant from the stateline. In fact, Walla Walla AVA extends from southeastern Washington to the northeastern Oregon. You really get both Washington and Oregon wines from the AVA.

Rainbow over spring wheat field
The drive through parcels of vineyards and wheat fields turned out to be quite uplifting. To top that, we were greeted by a light rainbow that stretched across a huge spring wheat field with the Blue Mountains as a faint backdrop. It gave me hope that the pandemic shall pass as we wait it out in beautiful Walla Walla wine country.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Screaming Eagle? Screaming Deal?

I was looking over the wine list at my favorite local Italian restaurant when the owner's selection caught my eye.
2011 Screaming Eagle $3,900

Credited as the trailblazer for Napa cult wineries, Screaming Eagle was founded by Jean Phillips, a former realtor with a knack for good soil. In 1986, she bought a 57-acre vineyard in Oakville. While Phillips sold most of her grapes to nearby Napa wineries, she kept an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon for her personal winemaking.

Screaming Eagle, the most expensive Napa wine

A few years later, Phillips decided to go into commercial winemaking and hired Heidi Barrett to be her winemaker. Barrett is a second-generation Napa winemaker and wife of Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena fame. At that time, she was already a rising star with a couple of Robert Parker 100-points from a consulting gig with Dalla Valle.

In 1995, Phillips released the first vintage of Screaming Eagle. The 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon was a hit, scoring 99 points from Robert Parker. Both ladies became an overnight phenomenon.

The winery is not open to public
With continued accolades and production kept low at around 500 cases per vintage, the demand for the celebrated wine sky-rocketed. A mailing list was quickly established, and only members of the list were able to purchase the wine directly from the winery. The members-only price started at $75 per bottle, which was high at that time. It then increased to $125 a bottle, making Screaming Eagle the most expensive wine in the Valley.

By the time Phillips sold the winery to Stan Kroenke and Charles Bank in 2006, the members-only price was $300 a bottle. Today, the wait to get on the Screaming Eagle mailing list is rumored to be a few decades long. If you are patient enough to get on the mailing list, you get to purchase Screaming Eagle at $850 a bottle, a screaming deal since the aftermarket price averages three to four times that. And the restaurant price... you do the math!

Personally, I have not tasted Screaming Eagle. At that price, it will be a very special day if I do. My friends, who were fortunate enough to have it, definitely thought highly of it.

So what you would consider to be a screaming deal for Screaming Eagle? I have my number. What is yours?

Friday, January 31, 2020

One Wine Lover's Two Cents on Dieting

January is coming to an end. Some of you may be on the last stretch of Dry January or Whole30 or a similar month-long break from alcohol and/or other indulgence. I congratulate you.

Can't say no to Champagne and caviar
Try as I might, that is not my cup of tea (or glass of wine). But I am not immune to the allure of fad diets and exercise routines that promise a toner trimmer version of me. In fact, I am in the middle of an 8-week program. Just that I am ignoring the no-alcohol diet portion of it. Let me share my two cents on dieting.

No to No-Alcohol Diets

Unless you have alcohol abuse or binge issues, I can't imagine why anyone who appreciates wine would want to follow a no-alcohol diet, even if only for a month. The key word is "appreciate."

Proponents of Dry January suggests that taking a break from alcohol helps reset one's relationship with it. I see the point to some extent. I once gave up meat for Lent. When I got back to eating meat again, I became more selective in the meat I would partake. But I wouldn't say that I "appreciated" meat pre-Lent the same way I do wine.

My friend and wine blogger, Amber LeBeau, wrote a post that Dry January Can Go to Hell. She suggests that instead of taking a pause from alcohol in January, try mindful consumption all year round. Engage your senses when enjoying a glass of wine. Learn the story behind the wine and the vintage; how was the weather that year, what challenges were presented by Mother Nature, and how the winemaker artfully crafted the wine.

Wine flight is a great way to learn about wine appreciation
I mentioned in my blog that I belonged to the Specialty Club from my local wine shop. Every month, we get a red and a white from anywhere in the world. Tom, the shop owner, is a wealth of wine knowledge, and he always tells a good story for each bottle he carefully curates for the club. It brings a richer experience as I sip the wine. It is more than getting a buzz from the alcohol. If that is your experience too, then say no to no-alcohol diets.

No Bad Wine is Worth the Calories

One might argue that a good wine is a matter of taste. I think enjoyment is a matter of taste. Good, which suggests quality, is different. Consider this. I adore Jack in the Box tacos and all the beef-ish meat product tastiness. But that doesn't make them good tacos. Nor should I be eating them beyond rare moments of guilty pleasure. They are just not worth the calories.

Tasting our homemade wine
Wines of the Jack-in-the-Box-tacos variety are often mass-produced from leftover or poor-quality grapes, buffed up with all kinds of additives to hide the flaws. These could range from powdered tannins to provide structure to Mega Purple for a deeper color and a little residual sugar to mask any off-flavors.

Now I am not advocating for natural wine. As a hobby winemaker, I certainly have used my fair share of sulfur, commercial yeast, yeast nutrients, and malolactic bacteria. My goal is to ensure a clean and successful fermentation, but not to manufacture a taste. I very much subscribe to the philosophy of minimal intervention. Get the best grapes you can afford and make a wine that is a true expression of the variety, the vintage, and the terroir.

Perhaps I have the luxury since I don't make wine for a living so I don't worry about consumer taste and sales. But the overused additives in mass-produced wine can't be any better than the meat product of Jack in the Box tacos. When I go to a restaurant that only has cheaply-produced wine by the glass, I would skip it. If I were to add wine calories in my body, I'd like to have the full experience of a well-made wine.

So there you go! This is just one wine lover's two cents on dieting. What do you think?