Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why don't critics mention sweetness?

After the revelatory bottle that began everything, '04 Barrel Monkeys, I have been disappointed many times by sickly sweet Australian Shiraz's reviewed by the Wine Advocate. Robert Parker and Jay Miller do not seem to ever mention sweetness level, unless they do it in some sort of code (which Gary Vaynerchuk assures me is not the case). I can think of only a few explanations:

1. They do not perceive the wines as sweet; my sugar-sensitivity is abnormally acute.
According to Peynaud (Le Gout de Vin) most people percieve sweetness only after 2g/L. My threshold seems to be around 1 g/L, not too much below. Furthermore, several members of the tasting group shared my feelings that certain wines were syrupy sweet.

2. They notice the sweetness but think it unworthy of mention, or else stylistically expected.
Given the wide variation I have observed in sweetness of wines in this same category, I am surprised that they don't record this feature. Gary Vaynerchuk did say that sweet shiraz's have been in fashion in recent vintages.

3. They observe the sweetness but do not note it, except indirectly as vague, composite characteristics such as "richness" because people associate dry wines with class and distinction and do not wish to drink wines regarded as "sweet" (supported by Barr in Wine Snobbery).
I have absolutely no objection to people drinking and enjoying sweet wines. Know thyself, and known thy palate. However I am pissed that their seeming collective "shame" has made it difficult for drinkers like myself to learn which wines are dry and which are sweet. I no longer buy Australian shiraz's because for my palate, they are a crapshoot, which I cannot afford.

That said, if you do enjoy sweet, massive, rich, full-bodied, fruit bombs that are low in acidity and tannins, hit me up - I've got several good recommendations. One word: Mollydooker!

1 comment:

Natalie MacLean said...

what would you match with Mollydocker? I'd love to have your suggestions for my matching tool pls.