Wine Talk

Snooth User: Charles Emilio

Is the wine you're drinking different to what the label says?

Posted by Charles Emilio, Nov 13, 2009.

From my experience I would say YES, a small percentage is.

As someone involved in the wine trade I have had many wine producers ask me "Which year would you like the wine labelled? I can label it 2005 or 2006 for the 2008's if you like"

So when you are drinking that 2005, how can you be sure that its actually 2005 and not 2008?

Replies

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Reply by GregT, Nov 13, 2009.

You can't. And truthfully, in most cases it probably doesn't matter. But if you're planning to collect something for cellaring, you just have to rely on the idea that most people are going to be honest. Relabeling happens not frequently, but often enough for me to know that it's not an absolute rarity.

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Reply by dmcker, Nov 13, 2009.

Then there are the winemakers who don't always include only the varietals the label, or d.o.c., says. I'm thinking particularly of one negociant from Cote de Nuits whose bottles from the '50s still are drinking well. Could it be the Limousin oak and excellent cellaring? Or is it also the inclusion of varietals other than pinot noir?? But there are others that have also given me pause...

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Reply by dmcker, Nov 13, 2009.

Bottom line, I suppose, is the 'drinking well'. If it tastes great (and isn't poisoning me) than is there truly a need to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, as long as serious collector's prices aren't involved?

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Reply by GregT, Nov 13, 2009.

That's kind of how I think about it too. But how to draw the line? If it says 1955 and it's really 1995, that's pretty dishonest. But if it says 1994 and it's really 1995 and I like it and it's good, I'm not as unhappy.

Then there are simple mistakes. I have a bottle of Clancy's white blend from Barossa. It lists all the white grapes that are in the bottle. And it contains red wine.

"WTF?" I thought. So I bought it. I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to do that intentionally, so it has to be an accident, but it's hard to be more extreme than that. That also had to get past several separate people who independently would have seen it, ending with the stock clerk at the store.

And then there are storage problems, like having several lots of wine that are kept aside and someone accidentally opens them up and runs them thru the labeling line. That appears to be what had happened with Dubeouf at some point. He had to pay a fine for fraud and that was because he had put better juice into the lower end wines.

There is also the story my friend told me about connecting the hose to the tank and putting in 1000 gallons of juice. Now he has 2000 gallons. Nobody knew what the other stuff was.

Finally there is required fraud. That comes from the stupid rules made by various DOs. Like let's see, you have a wine that lists 2 grapes and you sniff it and say, gee, that's got to have muscat in it. But of course, that doesn't appear on the label. Why? Because under their rule, you're only supposed to list 2 grapes.


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