Reply to "What does "Heat" mean in tasting notes?"

Funny post by Inky. I had one of the Marquis Phillips wines two nights ago and I see what he's talking about.

Indybob is right that it is a question of balance and your palate may find balance where other people may not. Neither is right.

But one thing that tends to happen when you have high alcohol is that you lose acidity. When you speak of balance, you want a balance between acidity, fruit, tannin and alcohol. In really ripe wines, they are sometimes "soft", which basically means that they don't have acidity and the riper fruit makes them seem, or actually be, sweeter. And alcohol itself can actually leave a lingering impression of sweetness on the palate, once you're past the burn. So winemakers add acid to the wine to bring it back into balance. If they do it well, you can't really tell. But sometimes you get the impression of alcoholic SweetTarts - really sour and really sweet and really hot at the same time. That's not good wine.

And going to your first post - zins tend to be higher in alcohol because of the way the fruit ripens. Some Australian, Spanish, and California wines, among others, tend to be high in alcohol because the fruit is grown in hot areas and allowed to become extremely ripe. Most of those don't also have astringent tannins, which would usually be associated with less ripeness.
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