The Washington Post reported Tuesday on “a very real trend against…rising alcohol levels” which is “changing the way we think about wine and the way wine is made.”
The alcohol trend over the last decade or more has definitely been upwards, particularly with California wines. Twenty years ago the average bottle of wine was 13% alcohol; today levels range between 14-16%.
But complaints about high alcohol have been mounting steadily, and a revolt has begun. One example cited is film director/vintner Francis Ford Coppola, who is scaling back the alcohol level on wines at his Inglenook winery (formerly Niebaum-Coppola).
The Washington Post article cited a few lower-alcohol California wines that merit top marks:
- Arcadian Syrah 2006, Santa Ynez Valley, $30
- Alma Rosa Chardonnay 2008, Santa Barbara County, $20
- Copain Syrah Tous Ensemble 2007, Mendocino County, $25
- Qupe Syrah 2009, Central Coast, $20
- Au Bon Climat Chardonnay 2009, Santa Barbara County, $24