Do you often associate wine and numbers?
If you are Robert Parker then yes, that’s even what you are most famous for! Well, more precisely scores up to 100.
(If you ARE Robert Parker, well, wow! Hello Sir and thank you very much for visiting this page!)
If you are “just” a regular wine drinker, then you might never have thought very much about wine scores but you will have associated wine with some numbers:
- The price, definitely.
- The ABV ( alcohol by volume)
- Maybe the vintage (if applicable)
If you are an amateur of wine (like some of the people I see at wine-tasting events) you might also want numerical information about (among a lot of other things) the following:
- The proportion in a blend (60% Merlot, 40% cabernet Sauvignon, for example),
- The fermentation temperature
- The length of skin contact, of fermentation, of maturation
- The level of residual sugar in the wine (plenty of figures in this link!)
- The PH of the wine
- The number of bottles produced by an estate
- How many grapes varieties exist in the world ( I actually decided to write this post after reading today’s Telegraph article )
It has plenty of French wine and numbers facts in it!
And then, if you work in the wine-selling business, there will be a myriad of marketing statistics that you will need to look at too.
There is one quote about wine and numbers that I keep coming across. It is from Joan Collins :
“Age is just a number, unless of course you happen to be a bottle of wine.”
Yes, age does matter in wine. Some wines can cope with ageing and some can’t. Only a tiny proportion of all the wine sold is meant to be kept and aged. For a wine to be able to improve with age, it needs to start off with high enough levels of acidity and, in the case of red wine, high enough levels of tannins. Otherwise, it will definitely not benefit from cellaring. More on this in this article: Ageing Wine
Most of the wines I work with are meant to be drunk within just a few years of their production anyway. Either because they have already been aged (In the case of the Rioja or the Barolo for example) or because their main characteristic is to be fruity and vibrant.
Organic wine and numbers
Organic wine production doesn’t not allow “the involvement of any kind of artificial or synthetic chemical agents and no artificial or synthetic chemical preservatives, colours, taste-makers, or reagents in its preservation or storage.”( Organic facts ) So no E-numbers then 🙂
For more information on the matter read this article in Palate PresS
When people ask me about organic wine, the number/ percentage I am most asked about after the price is the level of sulphites.
Here are the exact guidelines from The Agriculture and Rural Development section of the European Commission
- maximum sulphite content set at 100 mg per litre for red wine (150 mg/l for conventional)
- 150mg/l for white/rosé (200 mg/l for conventional),
- with a 30mg/l differential where the residual sugar content is more than 2g per litre.
The good side is that organic wine is better for us and less likely to induce allergies and/or headaches but, on the other hand, it does not keep as long as “conventional “wine.
And if you want to read more about wine and numbers, there is a whole website dedicated to it: Winestats