“Fruit driven” appears to be the buzzwords. How about complexity, subtlety, interesting, different? We need a further grading of red wine in addition to its lightness or fullness, and we need more variety rather than the “me too” that has started to dominate wine production.
Perhaps a residual sugar reading would steer you clear of sweet jammy fruit driven reds…
Fruit driven died with the retirement of Robert Parker !
Having just had a glass or two of Zinfandel I must agree!
Fruity good jammy bad. I think there’s a difference.
Mostly I agree with you. Global warming is making many red wines jammier and more alcoholic; this is why fine wine tastes are gravitating towards more extreme latitudes. I came across reviews for a Canadian Syrah recently which compared it to old fashioned Hermitage - which presumably means M. Chave will shortly be making something that tastes like it’s from the Barossa.
I agree that poor quality and cheaper reds are jammy. The sweetness covers a lack of quality. Almost anything is drinkable with enough sugar.
But there are a many exceptions, by and large I think TWS is pretty good at finding them. Whereas the supermarket shelves are piled high with over sweet, acholpop style Ribena.
I had a really nasty, overly fruity Julienas last night (not from TWS). Not enough acidity to balance all that fruit. Struggled to get through more than one glass and shuddering at the thought of it now.
I find a significant proportion of red wines at a certain price level (£7-12) are often heavy on the cherry drop sweets notes, regardless of grape variety used and amount of residual sugar. I think over-enthusiastic use of semi-carbonic maceration is the major culprit, but most producers in that price range don’t give loads of detail about vinification methods so it’s hard to be sure.
Too true …
Agreed, they are not to my taste at all. Infuriating because it can be hard to know that this is what you’re buying without doing quite a lot of research first, and critics are not much help in this case. Price point often not a determinant factor either. Loads of Parker wines out there still.
My parents grew up on wine in this style so to them, anything that isn’t a McLaren Vale fruit bomb must be faulty, cheap, poor or all of the above. “Pinot Noir is basically white wine” was a choice Dad quote.
It’s helped me learn lots more about wine and winemaking, though, and probably saved me money as I’m more careful about what I buy.
We were given a bottle of Yellow Tail’s finest by a friend who isn’t an insufferable wine bore, and it smelled like cheap fortified wine to me, lots of oak stave, alcohol and sugar. It’s not poor winemaking to blame here though, it’s a finely tuned, extremely consistent product that has been market tested and focus grouped to become exactly what people want (or expect).
Hahahaha disagree but love the quote!!
…unless he had a blanc de noirs in mind…?
A lovely wine it is, too!
I actually tried this at this weeks Loire tasting and did not like it, at all. Weird as I usually cherish a well made blanc de noirs in the fizz department… it might have been too warm, mind you.
I tried it at the press tasting in June and liked it a lot. It didn’t blow my socks off, but I liked the delicacy of its flavour - really reminded me of the taste of Weiße Johannisbeere (aka white currant) which I had eaten a few times in Germany. But yes, maybe not to everyone’s taste.
I had a German white Spatburgunder from Oddbins a few years ago which tasted a bit like flat Bollinger, I was expecting that of the Mourat wine but it was completely different. I liked it but will have to try it again to see if I really like it!
It’s all about the price for me and the authenticity of the ‘fruit’ that’s in the driving seat. I couldn’t agree with you more about the Ribenay, confected fruit taste of most industrially produced wines. But a cheap, uncomplicated wine that smells deliciously of ripe sumptuous genuine fruit can be glorious. Too many are like a ‘strawberry’ if your only experience of strawberries is via the pick’n’mix counter at the cinema.
If I sound defensive it’s because I work at The Society and I’m sure I’ve used that phrase! Possibly many times. Wine is made from fruit and should, at the basest level, reflect that. It’s one of the fascinations for me that - perhaps muscat besides - is that wines are rarely ‘grapey’!?
All I do know is that describing a wine as ‘interesting’ means zero sales…
Many moons ago I bought a bottle of an Aussie basket pressed Cab Sauv from Reynella.
It was surprising, really good, fresh blackcurrant fruit, on the palate and a soaring bouquet wirh a slight rasp of tannin, a little mint - the only downside was a tiny hint of eucalyptus with the mint reminded me of toothpaste which was a little disconcerting!!
I get that with my breakfast wines sometimes too
There can be some beautiful wines that are extremely full and fruity and are just the product of very ripe, impeccably grown fruit in a warm climate and technically accomplished winemaking. I like really good Barossa Shiraz and SGM blends; 05 Bella’s Garden was one of my all time faves, straight out of the bottle it was just so long, no hint of terroir but just a pure exposition of grape and climate. Penfolds Bin 138 has some complexity from the blend but there is the same ‘clean’ style of winemaking, a focus on allowing the quality of the juice to come through. I wouldn’t want to drink these all the time and I am at heart a terroir junkie who loves wines that taste of place; but on their own terms they are great and worthy of appreciation.
The problem is that we have established cheaper wines in this style as the norm in the U.K. market. Fine wine drinkers’ tastes may be leaning away from high alcohol but the supermarkets know what their customers want from a red and it is sweet, full, heady, possibly with a bit of oak - which is duly pumped out by the big new world brands. Many supermarkets seem to be winding back their premium lines used to explore other styles. It feels like the gap between mass produced and quality wines is actually widening at the moment.