View Full Version : Wine

25th Apr 2013, 13:40
i don't know whether this will interest all the other p*ssheads reading this...I'm sorry, I'll start this again.

I don't know whether this will interest all the other conisseurs of fine wines reading this page, but three weeks ago we dined at a restaurant where for every bottle of wine you drank with the meal we got another bottle of wine to take home. And also a few other opened bottles of the same Catalan wine. Although it wasn't cheap (the wine I mean, although the same applies to the meal) we dined there again the week after for Mrs O's birthday and got some more.

At the same time we had friends visiting us and they brought some expensive French wine down, grown up near Carcassonne. After they left I started working my way through the assembled bottles.

What's interesting is that although they tasted very similar, I could drink quite a lot (technically, known as "a sufficiency") of the Catalan wine, but the French stuff gave me a headache and left me feeling "edgy". So much so that I now limit myself to one glass with lunch, which is what the French call "being sober" or "non-alcoholic". (I don't limit myself to anything with the Catalan wine, with the result that it's all gone).

So there we have it: one mountain range separating quite a difference in wine, and not just because the Catalan stuff was grown on south-facing mountainsides and the French stuff up by the Canal du Midi. Different grapes ? Worn-out terrain ? French workers ?

25th Apr 2013, 13:46

You are not alone. Anytime I've drank French wine I too get a headache. Not so with any other except for Gallo Wine which is grape juice with alcohol in it anyway. Drank a gallon of the stuff over the course of a day a long, long time ago. Never been near it since. (Even smelling it now makes me sick to my stomach!)

Free bottles of Catalonian wine? Should I PM you my address?!!!!! :p

25th Apr 2013, 13:49
I think the answer is in the quantity of sulfites (sulphates?) added.

25th Apr 2013, 13:51
Actually, Capetonian, after seeing the location under your name it reminded me of some really nice South African wines I've had the pleasure of drinking. To excess. Very tasty.

25th Apr 2013, 13:52
South African wines are arguably the best in the world - certainly if you consider the price/quality ratio.

25th Apr 2013, 13:55
I don't know if they are the best in the world but they certainly rate well up there with the offerings of the French, the Spanish, the Germans (white only - Ausleser or Spaetleser) and the Eye-talians.

green granite
25th Apr 2013, 14:05
but the French stuff gave me a headache and left me feeling "edgy".

Hasn't it got summat to do with high tannin content in French wines?

25th Apr 2013, 14:05
re free wine: we've been going up in the hills to the same restaurant at the tiny village of Boadilla (if you want to google it) for over 20 years. Same owner, and all the same staff. He's invariably fully booked Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays - that's two seatings at midday (French eat 1230-1400, Catalans eat 1430 - 1600) and one evenings. His food is out of this world and the only person more charming and friendly than the proprieter is his son - who also works there. Now and then they have promos such as drink one bottle with your meal and the second is free to take home. Food used to be delicious and heavy, now it's got delicious and light (although portions are not small). And the wine is excellent. Any member of JB who is in this part of the world and not rushing off somewhere else, let me know: I'll take you.

(But I'll keep the second bottle of wine)

25th Apr 2013, 14:11

Is that Boadilla del Monte?

25th Apr 2013, 15:00
Sulfates and sulfites and sulphides may, in some localities, be a strong factor in the allergenicity or irritation coming from wines. Much depends on the age of the finished product and process methods the wines have experienced. Potassium and Sodium metabisulfite are used almost universally in winemaking as additives that can select out wild yeast strains and other microorganisms that do not tolerate sulfite - including thousands of varieties of potential sources for various sorts of wine spoilage during fermenting and early storage. Yeasts bred specifically for winemaking are selected and bred so they tolerate the sulfur, even as non-wine yeasties are packing it in. One of the miracles of winemaking is how the result tends to be quite pure ans wholesome, even while coming from ingredients and processes that involve and depend on the work product of endless billions of collaborating microorganisms -- which inevitably include some billions of ones that are very unfriendly and lead to spoilage when not controlled.

Not all people react strongly to sulfites, but H2S, the sulfide that makes for sewer-ish smells everywhere in life, is now considered a basic body regulatory control signal with major systemic functions and effects, possibly including allergy triggering.

A lot of other chemicals and allergens appear in wines, especially youthful ones. Substances drifting and crawling into the vineyards during the growing season may come to be incorporated into the resulting fermented & alcoholic wine. Well-known allergens such as weed, tree, and flower pollens, dust particles of various sorts, and lifestyle remnants from the birds, bugs, bees and similar denizens of the wild all may be present in young wine without serious harm to the eventual mature product -- aged maybe 4 to 8 years before consumption. Wines taken for consumption younger can be cleaned-up by a great variety of new and ancient methods and tricks in the winemaker's portfolio of processes and recipes, so that the finished product is healthful for normal purposes, even when very young. Allergens from the causes cited above may or may not be well addressed by the processes commonly used to speed up the finishing of young wines so they can be sold at lower price to generate more immediate revenue for the growers & processors.

A litre of very young early-first-release red wine - for example the very first draw of new Chianti from one or two harvests back - may contain tens of thousands of organic chemical compounds in the tiny fraction of the fluid -not counting the water, alcohol, and bulk fruit-juice acids in the package- that is the essence of vinuous seasoning which imparts flavor, varietal variations, sense of finish, and food-value components like the tannins and anthocyanins that impart color. For the whole liter, the wine essence is likely under two dry grams of material -- quite possibly less than one gram, one onethousandth of the overall contents, by weight and volume. Whatever causes the good and bad effects for taste and healthfulness is in this concentrated essence. The difference between a 2-euro bottle and a 200-euro bottle of vino largely resides also within this essence.

One main factor affecting the quality and friendliness of wines develops from gradual changes that occur within the essential flavor components of the fluid as time ages it. The ten thousand organic compounds interact, combine, and recombine to form a smaller number of less reactive ones that we perceive as tasting better and irritating less. With longer time passing the molecules mix and bond and break and reassemble themselves into increasingly many long-chain polymer molecules that we perceive as having ever better flavor and ever less irritating quality. The benefits of wine aging can be seen in any price list for a variety of types and ages. People put high value in older wines because they taste better and are less and less likely to irritate the innards and trigger allergies.

If a wine is sufficiently good, of course, or sufficiently plentiful, then many folk don't notice any difference in fine points of maturity and stability -- until hours or days following ingestion.

25th Apr 2013, 15:10
I'd tend to follow the JB rule and my own life-experience as in many things and, of course, blame the French. Contrary to the accepted correctness as it may be, Life has taught me that few guides are so valuable in the passing as a good healthy set of prejudices. Works for me.

That said, I was raised by a clutch of female relatives who were life-long -- to borrow from the usages, as I gather from my reading, in Cosa Nostra circles -- "soldiers", even consiglieri or sub-capos maybe, in the "BWTA" or British Women's Temperance Associaton. Under their benign influence I was a junior member of the "Little White Ribboners", a sort of -- just to vary the idiom a shade -- Hitlerjugend of "The Movement". We were, so to speak, Waffenschutzstaffelntemperancers.

It was a measure of the success they achieved in their quasi-Jesuit dogma ("Give me a child until he is eighty and he is mine for life!") that just before I went off to National Service in the RNVR I presented myself at the Glasgow offices of the Scottish Temperance Alliance and requested their aid in that ritual: "Sign the Pledge".

When the elderly gentleman i/c picked himself off the floor after his first astonishment, he did present "The Pledge" and I did sign. I did gather, just between us girls, that he was daily confronted, in Glasgow, with something less than a riot of Pledge-Signers.

The Temperance-marketing stats were not what they had been in the glory days of the 1870s, in the hey-day of reaction to the horrors of vomit-rewarded saw-dust floored boozers of No Mean City. So I inferred, although it was still commonplace in 1955 to dodge, if lucky, the spew on the upper decks of ra Glesca caurs, or tram-cars, and I can attest to adroitly avoiding a ring-honking at the Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Festival, 1957 or so. The fur coat of the lady in the row ahead of mine was less blessed.

Anyway I was faithful and true to, but not evangelical in the preaching of, my Pledge, not always easy in the Naval environment.

No! That is not quite true. It would have been a thousand times easier for me to disobey a direct order, as in fact came once from a lieutenant-commander, no less, in the wardroom, to sink a Drambuie, than to defy the shade of my late Granny perched on my shoulder, ever-vigilant.

On my offer to present myself without delay to the MAA, report my disobedience of the order of a superior officer, and resign my own commission forthwith, he desisted.

Well, from time to time I do little tasks for friends and neighbours, and see no need to charge money. Therein lies the secret of my enduring poverty, uncommon in my sordid trade, but sometimes such friend or neighbour comes round a day or two later with "a bottle". I see no need then to go into the Temperance Lecture Series, Lesson 1, on the Demon Rum, so I accept the bottle.

Downstairs I now have, therefore, a wide range of quite expensive, I believe, wines and spirits; the Cointreau, the Whisky, the Remy Martin, the Grand Cru, the Sanddorn-Likor, and I know not what else, all unopened, and I remain untroubled by any subtleties of content.

I am, however, a generous man. I am ready to lay in a stock of the Canada Dry, the Seven-Up, the Coca-Cola ("Zing!!! Only Coca-Cola gives you that refreshing new feeling"), and the Irn-Bru even, obtainable from my bootleggers at "The Irish and Scottish Shop", and have as many of youse as care to attend at the Alta Vista area of Ottawa for a jolly good time.

I could also offer a showing of my hard stuff.

Ancient Observer
25th Apr 2013, 16:19
Back in about '99, the doctor that I was "registered with" warned me that my consumption of whiskey and other shorts was at the danger stage, and I ought to give up spirits. Wine, he suggested, would be much better for me. (We lived in Belgium at the time)

Surprising myself, I gave up spirits.

So all that 25 year old stuff, and even 1 bottle of 40 year old stuff, is now 14 years older.

Wine doesn't last long in our house, but I find it is easy to limit oneself.......except when out with mates, of course.

25th Apr 2013, 16:23
AO wrote:

Wine doesn't last long in our house, but I find it is easy to limit oneself..We have a similar problem in our house. For some mysterious reason I'll go out an buy a 12-pack of whatever beer I want and within days, days I tell ya, they've vanished. Now, the Mrs. doesn't drink beer (she prefers that of the vine) so I'm at odds as to where the beer goes.

I think we might have beer-guzzling mice. Damn rodents.

Rwy in Sight
25th Apr 2013, 16:47
A lot of years ago, when I was a young lad I was told that the good / bad wine is shown itself the next day based on the fact if the drinker gets a headache or not.

Incidentally, I have a bottle of sweet red wine "MavrodiafniMavrodafni - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mavrodafni) and I don't drink it since I feel it would give me a headache.

Rwy in Sight

Loose rivets
25th Apr 2013, 17:06
What an interesting thread. Thanks arcniz for that briefing, 'tis most apposite.

My rather sad e's to Menage a Trois produced nothing apart from a suggestion I visited a physician.

My e's were written I hasten to add, when in my cups, but I did hope they might be a little helpful. The reaction to a moderately priced red was profound. Ill as hell just 15 minuets after half a bottle. 100% hit-rate. Wait a few weeks and try again with one cautious glass. Horrible reaction.

Again in my cups, I snarled this last e. No reply, of course.

Following the receipt of your e-mail, I felt there would be no point in contacting your company again as your only reply was bordering on fatuous. However, after being fine for some weeks, I though I'd try the product just one more time just in case there had been other factors. The adverse reaction was again profound.

Something in that wine or the cleaning of the bottle is causal.

I'm disappointed you won't discuss this at a technical level, but since so many attempts have been made over the years to find the precise chemical(s) I react to, being so close with no support is more than frustrating.

I'd know precisely what to do in the UK, but here in the US I will have to waste valuable time just researching the appropriate way to investigate this. I suppose in this litigious society being guarded becomes the norm, but all I want is to focus in on the offending chemistry - nothing else.

Apart from wanting to know what to avoid, basic curiosity drives me to find the answer and I feel this is something you could no doubt help me with in minutes. The difference between this one product-including the bottle preparation-and many dozens of others just can not be some small variation from the industry norm.

It does seem from arcniz's post the subject is so complex I have very little chance of finding the real cause.

It is odd that a pal in Austin has recently mentioned 'they' put soap in wine (he gave the long technical name) to stop it sticking to the bottles.

When I went into severe anaphylaxis on the side of the road in Essex, I'd only touched hospital soap that day. Nowt had passed my lips.

25th Apr 2013, 17:46
Is that Boadilla del Monte?

No it's just "Boadilla". Google Trull de'n Francesc.
Yes thanks Arcniz, very useful.

Re German wines. Most are consumed locally where they are produced and not exported. Many good local wines.

25th Apr 2013, 18:18
There's a French steakhouse in Luton (yes!), in which you just order "the house wine". The proprietor duly thumps a two litre bottle of "Vin rouge" on the table - and you drink as much you like (or as little as you can bear!).

At the end of the meal he wanders over with a wooden measuring stick, props it up against the bottle, and you pay the number on the stick next to the level of the remaining wine ... :ok:

25th Apr 2013, 18:19
OFSO wrote:

Re German wines. Most are consumed locally where they are produced and not exported. Many good local wines.

Yup, sure are. I found out the hard way what not to do with an "older" vintage local German wine.

At the time, way back when, I was a US Army Infantryman on his first excursion to Germany. (Uh-oh.) After a few months there I met up with this German girl (babe) and shortly thereafter I was introduced to her parents. Wanting to make a good first impression I dressed in my Class A Army uniform with all the little trinkets merrily dangling from my chest.

Sat down, spoke some and then her father disappeared and reappeared holding a bottle of locally grown, and bottled, wine. (What I now know as a Rheinhessen)

With great fanfare he opened the bottle of wine and poured a little in each of the 4 wine glasses (crystal at that). His wife, die Frau, my girlfriend and he each took several very tiny sips from their glasses only after sticking their noses in it and swirling it around a bit. (Keep in mind: here sits a U.S. Infantryman) I thought to myself: (uncultured and crude) "f**k that, let's party" and downed my wine in one gulp. Then asked for more. Several pairs of eyebrows were raised.

It was only afterward that my then Fraulein told me that the wine I had so vigorously gulped down ("you uncultured Ami") was a vintage 1971 Rheinhessen that daddy dearest had saved for special occasions.


25th Apr 2013, 18:27
some really nice South African wines I've had the pleasure of drinking. I'd go along with that. We though we'd try the SA red wine from Lidl. A well-known label but I've forgotten which. Anyway, we noticed it wasn't rushing off the shelves (The Spanish tend to prefer to buy their own wines), so Mrs SJ sent me up to Lidl for a couple more bottles, but some b****y expat beat us to it!

25th Apr 2013, 18:35
Well, I find that four bottles of anything kills me these days - and I drink fairly good stuff; must be my age.

G&T ice n slice
25th Apr 2013, 21:02
Chilean grape type Carminere

Red wine, smooth no sharp edges, unlike French rotgut.

Very easy to consume a bottle without realising it. Indeed, if 2 in the house then the 2nd follows the 1st over the course of an evening.

I've not noticed the usual reactions the following day I've experienced with other reds.

Whites I usually stick with Alsace/Gewurtztraminer or German varieties.
Oddly I sometimes fnd a mild gastric annoyance the following day with certain whites, only since I can never remember when next purchasing which one it was....

25th Apr 2013, 22:05
I can drink the white stuff till the cows come home. The red stuff tends to send me into SVT. I stick to the white :-)

25th Apr 2013, 22:13
A nice bottle of beetroot wine which not many can guess what it is or a red plum goes down very well.

26th Apr 2013, 08:33
Since you mention Lidl, I buy a lot from them and I've never had a bad bottle. I can get cheaper elsewhere (yes, yes ..) but I think their quality control over their suppliers is draconian:

Vee haf vays of putting you out of business ....

26th Apr 2013, 09:54
I can only drink half a bottle of the processed/commercial stuff before the uncomfortable symptoms caused by the preservatives and additives kick in.

On the other hand, my southern Mediterranean peasant farmer cousin who maketh about 200Kg of red wine annually to 'give away', has wine that you drink by the kilo and not suffer the ill effects of headaches or stomachaches, but still end up legless. The hangover wears out much quicker too, making it easier to do it all over again the next day.

26th Apr 2013, 10:36
still end up legless

An interesting drift (well it is interesting to me) but I've had several friends from the Highlands of Scotland who would only get pissed from feet up as far as the groin,i.e. their legs were totally drunk but above the waist they were still sober. Kept talking perfect sense while falling down as legs wouldn't obey brain. Anyone else noticed this, and why (not "why did you notice it" but why does it happen and only to Highland Scots, bless them ?)

26th Apr 2013, 10:47
Legless? Highlands? It's not the wine but the the flat regions that disrupt their stride.

26th Apr 2013, 12:17
OFSO wrote:

from the Highlands of Scotland who would only get pissed from feet up as far as the groin,i.e. their legs were totally drunk but above the waist they were still sober.

Which would mean, if male, their peckers were drunk? Also meaning that their peckers could be cited for "drunk and disorderly conduct?" Nothing quite like a disorderly pecker! :ok:

<Slasher? Would you like to add something to the drunk and disorderly pecker syndrome?>

26th Apr 2013, 12:19
G&T wrote:

Whites I usually stick with Alsace/Gewurtztraminer or German varieties.
Oddly I sometimes fnd a mild gastric annoyance the following day with certain whites

Gewurz is the German word for spice. Although there's nothing quite like a good Gewurztraminer there are added spices too it. Which can affect one's tummy.

26th Apr 2013, 12:23
Before sneering at my suggestion of localised drunkenness I suggest listening to the Big Yin talking about morphine suppositaries used on a Mexican Tour Bus.

Quote: "My head's all right but my a*se is awfu' high".

27th Apr 2013, 11:00
The linkage between sulphites and unpleasant symptoms is known, but unpleasant to come across. A couple of months ago, we had a very pleasant lunch at a well-reputed winery in the Margaret River region. Their Rose was fresh, pleasant, nuances of strawberries, and priced very reasonably. The first or two glass(es) went down very well and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But two of our small party had a reaction to the Rose. It occurred quickly – nose blocked up and feeling miserable. The first to notice it was actually a local grape grower (chardonnay – her grapes go into the Vasse Felix Heytesbury, which is held as one of the better chardonnays). She knows her reaction, which is a sulphite reaction that she has had in the winery during production and exposure to sulphites. Not so much at low levels – I have picked grapes in her vineyard for a few seasons and we sprinkle the picked grapes with a dash of diluted sulphur in water to keep them fresh, and there are no problems there. But she has been nailed in the winery when sulphur levels are high.

The other wines from the same winery didn’t provoke anything of the same response. Certainly they used sulphur in the production but probably at lower levels. In the interests of science we tried a couple more of their wines and in quantities sufficient to be certain (their cabernet sauvignon gets a big tick). The wines are generally held to be pretty good, except the Rose was a bit ‘cheap and cheerful’. Try as we may, we couldn’t get any answer from the winery staff as to what the difference was between the Rose and the other wines. Sulphur most likely but nothing that can be proved.