Faking It | CookingDistrict.com

Faking It

People have been making wine for so long that no one really knows when or where it originated. The Greeks and Romans drank, as did the Etruscans and the Bordolese, even the church grew their own to use for mass. Today wine is better than ever. Technology and knowledge have grown to help us, besides other things, figure out the best way to grow a grape and make wine.

So why are people now faking the flavor in wines?

To answer this question we have to understand where wine comes from. As we all know, each grape has a different taste. In addition, a grape produced in one part of the world can taste completely different from a grape grown elsewhere. Yet another factor is the method in which the grape and wine is produced, which also can be diverse.

So for example, a chardonnay grape from California grown in warmer temperatures and left in a barrel to age will taste completely differently from the Chablis in Bordeaux whose temperatures are cooler and may or may not spend time in wood. Each wine is respected and loved (or hated) for what it is. So why are people trying to manipulate that?
Most of the ‘old world’ wine growers, such as Italy and France, have very specific laws to follow when creating wine if they want to have the ‘quality’ label (AOC in France and DOCG in Italy). Laws dictate how, when, where, how many bunches, the size of the bunches, time left on the vines, and time left in barrel and bottle, etc. And, for the most part, wines from these countries are prized throughout the world and looked to for advice and inspiration by the ‘new world’ countries.

Now, as for the countries in which wine laws are less strict, this is where some funny business happens in some places. Maybe it’s for money or maybe it’s for change, but vineyards have started faking taste. For example, to get that astringent, dry tannin yet velvety soft taste in most red wines and some whites, two processes are used. The first is leaving the branches and skins attached longer to the squished grapes during fermentation, the other is from aging in the barrel. Now, though, in some places in the world, people have added wood chips to the wine aging in the barrel. The time to pick up tannins is cut in half, therefore sold to the consumer earlier, and therefore the producer has his money sooner.

But the taste is tarnished. The smoothness that comes with aging isn’t there. The warmth that Cabernets are known for has vanished. Unforunately, many people can't taste the difference. So you tell me, is this just good business sense or has faking it gone too far?


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