Thursday, 2 August 2012

Alcohol Reductase


The road is undulating and winding like a rollercoaster track, on either side of us the meseta stretches off into the sun baked distance, vines alternate with wheat and isolated copses of ragged trees draw the eye.

Talk turns to wine critics who’ve obviously never made wine and the way that they make what they think are clever knowledgeable comments on how the wines could have been improved. Dropping suggestions of spinning cones and reverse osmosis alcohol reduction like bon mots at a fashionable salon lunch.

‘Can we push through another 60 litres of Alcohol Reductase’

J’s telling it like it is, detailing the common high tech method for lowering alcohol in hot country wineries across the world. Whack in a shed load of water, it’s just like a nice controlled application of late growing season rain, you know the sort that winemakers always say arrived just at the right time.

The alley way smells faintly of piss and there seems to be at least three different music sources battling for our attention, it’s pushing 3am and the streets are rammed. This is fiesta in Santiago de Compostela. T and I are perched at a table with a couple of glasses of Ribeira Sacra. They’re just a little bit too warm. I give up, and nip inside to get a glass of ice cubes. I doesn’t take long, maybe a minute before I’m picking them out with my fingers. The deep purplish liquid slipping all chilled of my fingers. I suck what remains off and we both agree that the wine is just that much better. The alcohol tamed, the texture all of a sudden much more satin like, the perfume somehow a little bit more suave, like the difference between how you feel fresh out of the shower, all energized and ready to pulling yourself out of a car after a long hot drive.

The taxi is pulling up outside my friends house in Peckham, all the proper shops have long shut but there’s a definite hankering for a couple of last glasses of something. Casillo del Diablero Pinot Noir seems to be the least unpleasant of bottles on the shelf. On opening though it’s just unpleasantly soupy, that special mouthfeel that can only be achieved with very careful tannin management and some clever highish pH winemaking. I’m getting all wistful thinking about careening acidity and those ever so slightly acerbic and herbaceous tannins that rustic French Pinot often gives me. Then it hits me, a couple of ice cubes later and the Pinot is behaving that much better in the glass. And yes, the bottle did get finished.

I should probably clarify that I’m not advocating a wholesale adoption of an over ice red wine policy, just that with a large portion of the everyday wines that end up coming my way, especially the slightly more worked commercial new world ones, that little bit of slick watery chilling just seems to make a huge difference. Think of it a bit like the way that slight dilution in a martini changes the structure of the drink.

Oh and feel free to chuck shit at me and call me a heathen, I’m big enough and definitely ugly enough….

-names have been changed to protect the reputations of those involved-


Erica said...

Yea baby, I love it when wine pros knock a few "rules of proper conduct" and do what provides the best drink for the moment. I'm all for ice at the right time, in the right wine. xx

bigpinots said...

If it works, then who are we to argue? Hey, if you want to put coke in it, you do what you want (just not with any wine that I serve you!)

Donald Edwards said...

Well quite, it is a time and a place sort of a thing...

(coming up, why I fucking love rose and lemonade spritzers)

Helen said...

Dun dun dun dada dun dun, dun dun dun dada dun dun...

"Ice ice baby
Ice ice baby
All right stop
Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Then I flow that a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll glow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle

Bum rush the speaker that booms

I'm killin' your brain like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly, when I play a dope melody
Anything less that the best is a felony
Love it or leave it
You better gain way
You better hit bull's eye
The kid don't play
If there was a problem
Yo, I'll solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla

Now that the party is jumping
With the bass kicked in, the Vegas are pumpin'
Quick to the point, to the point no faking
I'm cooking MC's like a pound of bacon
Burning them if they're not quick and nimble
I go crazy when I hear a cymbal
And a hi hat with a souped up tempo
I'm on a roll and it's time to go solo
Rollin in my 5.0
With my ragtop down so my hair can blow
The girlies on standby
Waving just to say hi
Did you stop?
No, I just drove by
Kept on pursuing to the next stop
I busted a left and I'm heading to the next block
That block was dead

Yo so I continued to a1a Beachfront Ave
Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis
Rock man lovers driving Lamborghini
Jealous 'cause I'm out getting mine
Shay with a gauge and Vanilla with a nine
Ready for the chumps on the wall
The chumps are acting ill because they're so full of eight balls
Gunshots ranged out like a bell
I grabbed my nine
All I heard were shells
Fallin' on the concrete real fast
Jumped in my car, slammed on the gas
Bumper to bumper the avenue's packed
I'm tryin' to get away before the jackers jack
Police on the scene
You know what I mean
They passed me up, confronted all the dope fiends
If there was a problem
Yo, I'll solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla

Take heed, 'cause I'm a lyrical poet
Miami's on the scene just in case you didn't know it
My town, that created all the bass sound
Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground
'Cause my style's like a chemical spill
Feasible rhymes that you can vision and feel
Conducted and formed
This is a hell of a concept
We make it hype and you want to step with this
Shay plays on the fade, slice it like a ninja
Cut like a razor blade so fast
Other DJ's say, "damn"
If my rhyme was a drug
I'd sell it by the gram
Keep my composure when it's time to get loose
Magnetized by the mic while I kick my juice
If there was a problem
Yo, I'll solve it!
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla
Ice ice baby Vanilla

Yo man, let's get out of here
Word to your mother

Ice ice baby
Too cold
Ice ice baby
Too cold too cold
Ice ice baby
Too cold
Ice ice baby
Too cold too cold"

Donald Edwards said...

yes, well quite.

Paul Hart said...

WINE MURDERER! (I am totally going to try this) great piece as well.