It seems to me that there has been a growing trend, at least in Israel, to produce higher and higher alcohol contents of wine. I opened a Galil Mountain Winery Yiron vintage 2009 the other day and did a bit of web "research" to be better able to discuss this wine which I tasted and loved. It is, as you probably are aware, a Bordeaux style blend, with the 2009 Yiron made up of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Other years have seen other blends, including a Cabernet Sauvignon content as low as 48%. But to the point of this subject, the alcohol level is rising from the low of 13.9% in the first vintage in 2000 to this vintage's 15.5%. These "high alcohol" wines are taxed at a higher level in the United States and are frequently denigrated, especially by sommeliers. This subject was addressed in an article in the NYTimes several years ago, and, more recently, by LettieTeague, in a Wall Street Journal article. These are not exactly industry standard journals to reference, but being a wine neophyte myself, I am open to listening to many opinions. The WSJ article is quite balanced and presents both sides of the controversy. The author concludes that she "realized as I'd researched the whole alcohol conundrum, I actually had no idea of the alcohol levels of the wines that I own. So I went down to my cellar and began turning around bottles (alcohol percentages are most commonly noted on the back labels). I discovered that a good number of the wines that I'd enjoyed with my friends, and blithely paired with my meals, were well north of 14%. They had flavor and intensity and they were immensely pleasurable." Here's the link to Teague's article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303828304575180273604214884.html
, which I think you might enjoy reading.
I found this 2009 Yiron a delicious complex blend of multiple aromas and flavors that I described in my blog, israelwinetaster.com and, like Lettie, the high alcohol did not seem to bother me.
Do you think like those sommeliers and wine critics that the heightened alcohol exaggerates everything, turning the wine into some sort of terrible caricature of itself. Apparently they have even used words like "monstrous," "fruit bombs," as well as "Frankenwine" to describe these wines they consider unbalanced or do you think that alcohol delivers flavors, and in the words of wine director of Le Bernardin, a Michelin three-star restaurant in New York "It's like the fat in the meat."
I agree with Le Bernadin's wine director. Now it's time for you to log in on this one.