High alcohol wine: mea culpa

High Alcochol Wines Mea Culpa-2
image_pdfimage_print

OK, I was a little bit wrong last month when I berated the Wall Street Journal for touting high alcohol wine.  Norma and I were two of the lucky 50 people who attended the Hartford Family Winery’s winemaker’s dinner on May 22.  Dessert was “Chocolate Clafoutis al’Ancienne, Blueberries, and Hazelnut Croquant.”  It was incredible.

I still maintain that most high-alcohol wines are not well-balanced and largely undrinkable.  I’ll make exceptions for Hartford, Lynmar Estate, and Kenneth Volk because I trust their winemakers.

But even more incredible was the 2007 Hartford Vineyard Russian River Valley zinfandel ($55 per bottle, get one before they’re gone).  Don Hartford has done an incredible job of tending the vineyard and whipping up a wine that is 16.5% alcohol but still balanced.  And, yes, the aroma was not pure alcohol.  Neither was the flavor.

So I was wrong, but just a tad.  I still maintain that most high-alcohol wines are not well-balanced and largely undrinkable.  I’ll make exceptions for Hartford, Lynmar Estate, and Kenneth Volk because I trust their winemakers. For all the others, you’ll need a lot of credibility with me to get me to taste them.

Don Hartford has done an incredible job of tending the vineyard and whipping up a wine that is 16.5% alcohol but still balanced.

About the dinner.  Chef Taki Laliotitis (if you click the link, scroll down to see Taki’s photo and bio) put together a menu that perfectly complemented the wine selections.  For the record, here’s the menu (complete with my scribbling about some of the ingredients):

Hartford Dinner Menu

Hartford Dinner Menu

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

Leave a Comment

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design