An apple a day keeps the doctor away! But where to find an apple? Seriously. The stuff you can find in super, hyper and I don’t know what kind of market chains, tagged “apples” are far from the real apples. I know a case when a few years ago a guy read an article about positive effect apples have on our health. So he decided it was time to do something and changed his diet habits. Every morning, he’d buy 2 kilos of apples in his local market and ate them during the day. After some time, his state went from normal, to worse and worst .. until he’d finish in a hospital. After series of examinations, doctors still didn’t figure out what the hell is wrong with this guy… until somebody thoroughly interviewed him and realized what was the case here. With such daily quantity of apples consumed, his intake of herbicide/pesticide residues on/in apples was so high, that he’d gotten sick. It took him several weeks to recover from his “healthy” diet.
And what has this to do with wines? Which wines exactly? Is there really wine in the bottle you just brought from your local market? OK. So I am exaggerating a little, but believe me, many wines out there, carry the same burden as mass produced apples and other fruit as well. Soil in vineyards all over the world is constantly being treated with all kinds of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and hundreds of other chemicals. The same “loving” care is being given to vines and grapes. Mechanical and chemical interventions continue immediately after the harvest. Oenologist wants total control over vinification of grape juice. Let me put it simple: they first kill the soil, vines, grapes, must … and then reanimate with all kinds of interventions. The life, gained with such approach has nothing whatsoever, to do with soil, climate and environment, where it first came to life. It has nothing to do with terroir. The “newborn” is totally controlled by oenologist who by adding commercial yeast, enzymes, tannins, acids, chemicals and by using revert osmosis and other mechanical and thermal interventions,… determines the color, taste, smell, alcohol level … of the wine. Many vignerons give big bucks to certain oenologists who are known as those who are familiar with the taste of Mr.Rober Parker The Great, or critics at Wine Spectator magazine.
Perfectly matured, pristine Barolos with their typical brick color certainly don’t impress them much, so many producers illegally add certain amount of Cabernet Sauvignon to gain ruby color, which Mr.Parker loves so much. Harvesting happens later to get grapes more ripe and gain fruitiness. Fermentation of Nebbiolo, which should be the only grape used for Barolo, along with maceration, traditionally takes at least 3 weeks. The result is very tannin-rich wine which needs years to reach the right maturity to be enjoyable, but when it does, it’s awesome. With shorter maceration and fermentation, wine can be ready for bottling and sale much quicker. Tannins are often treated and lowered by micro oxygenation etc. etc. Wine then goes to (often new and toasty) barriques instead of big old barrels. The result rather resembles more to New World muscle reds, than traditional Barolos. This post is not about Barolo though. Similar things are being practiced time and again, all over Europe, not to mention New World.
Huge market share is at stake here and wine sells only if it gets 90+ points from Parker or WS. The casualty here is wine itself and customer with it. Like the apples from the beginning of our story, many wines contain all kinds of additives and residues from chemical treatments. We should drink wine within reasonable amounts – of course. A glass or two a day, apparently have positive effect on our organism. But it sometimes happens that we drink too much. Headache arrives the same evening or next morning latest. Drinking too much alcohol is definitely harmful and leads to headache among other bad things. I ask myself though – is alcohol the only ingredient to blame for headache, or is it maybe, that headache is also or mainly the result of all kinds of additives, chemicals and other unnecessary ingredients which are there because of constant mistreatment of soil, vines, grapes, must and – wine?
Have a good, real apple, pour yourself a glass of good, natural wine, enjoy and don’t get drunk.