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Reply to "Sonoma wines vs. Napa wines."

quote:
Originally posted by Healdsburg Gal:
This low alcohol movement needs to be stopped.

Why? What's wrong with lower alcohol wines? Ridge Monte Bello, arguably the finest wine in the country, typically weighs in at 13.5% and only very rarely ventures over 14%.

quote:

Some wineries have been rumored to lower the alc artificially so they do not have to pay the higher alc tax rate. Judging a wine by its alc is a recepie for disaster.


It's not a rumour, it's a common fact. The technique is referred to as the "spinning cone" system. Basically the wine is poured into a system of flat surfaces that are rotating at speed. The wine forms a thin film over the surfaces of the cones. The temperature is raised and the pressure is lowered, so effectively it's a low temperature distillation.

The first pass removes volatile aromatics, which are reserved. The second pass removes mainly alcohol, which is discarded. The aromatics are then re-added to the bulk. Typically around 10% of the wine is processed in this way and is blended back into the mix, resulting in an overall reduction of around 1% to 2% ABV.
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