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High Octane Wine

October 10, 2008

First off, holy high alcohol batman. I chose the 2006 Mauritson Rockpile Madrone Spring Vineyard Syrah for our wine the other night. It clocked in at 15.9% alcohol by volume!!!! That alone made it a one glass kind of wine. Now, as you know, I'm not one of those "high alcohol wines are all evil and unbalanced" type of people. However, I do like to have a glass of wine with dinner and one after. When the alcohol content is THAT high, I just can't. The wine cost us $38 minus a 20% discount in a club shipment and had a real cork closure.

In the glass, the wine showed as a deep dark purple, almost inky color. On the nose I found aromas of cinnamon, red hots, vanilla, pie, plum, black cherry, baking spice, espresso, and violets. The wine had an incredibly complex and intriguing nose and I didn't get any of the heat I expected from the alcohol level. In the mouth, the flavors came through as plum, black cherries, pepper, licorice, and a little leather.

Overall, in the mouth, the wine seemed a bit hot. It also had some tannins to spare, so perhaps with a bit of age this one would settle down. I really loved the nose, and thought the mouth had potential, maybe some decanting to let the heat integrate a little better.


  1. Michael Bottigliero said...

    I don't think most people have a problem with evil high alcohol wines, I believe it is with evil imbalanced wines. This could be any combination of too high of acidity, tannin, length, alcohol, or flavor profile. I have tasted wines, mostly Pinot Noir, that have very high alcohol, but are still balanced, and others which are "heat" imbalanced. Also, watch the aging on those wines- flavor profiles, acids, and tannins subdue along with time and could just make the wine hotter. Glad you liked the Rockpile!

    10/10/08, 10:31 AM  

  2. Alex said...

    There are some interesting (? - I guess!) tax issues around high alcohol wines. I remembered reading somewhere once that in Europe it was at 15% that different taxation kicked in but the closest link I could find at short notice was this one which suggests taxation changes at 14%.

    It was a winemaker in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (quite alcoholic wines, thanks to Grenache) who said that its ridiculous for people to fret about that extra bit of alcohol ... unless you're drinking bottles of the stuff you're unlikely to notice much of a difference (especially if you're drinking with food and over a long period of time - like the French do).

    10/10/08, 10:54 AM  

  3. Sonadora said...

    Thanks for the comment Michael.

    Alex-I've heard of tax laws here too that affect the rate the winery has to pay. I don't fret, unless the wine tastes hot!

    10/31/08, 6:59 PM  

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