Reaching New Heights

At 16.9% alcohol by volume, this wine is the most alcoholic (besides a port) that I can ever recall drinking. Thankfully, it didn’t seem over-extracted or have any of the qualities I tend to see in some overly-alcoholic wines.

The wine was a Mazzocco 2004 Zinfandel from Alexander Valley out of Stone Ranch Vineyard. It cost $24 at the winery and had a real cork closure.

On the nose I found spices, cedar, oak, and blackberries. The spice was really very pungent and I know I’ve come across the aroma before, but I can’t place it. It triggers a memory, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. In the mouth the fruit was incredibly fresh and dark. There were blackberries and raspberries and a bit of spicy cedar in the mouth.

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5 Responses

  1. When a wine is described as “over-extracted” what does that mean? I’ve heard the term several times but haven’t been able to get a good definition. Could you also give an example of a wine that I might find anywhere that is over-extracted? Thanks.

  2. That sounds like a wine for me! What would you pair it with?

  3. Yikes! 16.9%! That is definitely the highest I have ever seen. I think I had something similar at the Elyse winery.

  4. Orion Slayer, extraction happens when makers try to remove phenolics (chem. compounds that give wines flavor, color, and tannins) from crushed grape solids. You usually see over-extraction in red wines, and if you want to learn more here’s a good article (http://tinyurl.com/28skaa). Over-extracted wines can be extremely bitter and tannic. These days extraction can also be used (from a technical standpoint incorrectly, but its prevalent) to talk about wines that are overly fruity and jammy. It’s my understanding that the precise problem with an over-extracted wine is that you lose some of the fruit. If you want to try one of these wines, look for a wine review for a cabernet that says its bitter and tannic, and doesn’t have enough fruit. And if I’m wrong on this, please somebody correct me. I’m not a wine maker!

  5. Dr Debs,
    Thanks for the link to the article on extraction. I’m going to have to read it several times, but it helps answer my question. If I understand correctly, extraction is taking out things from the grape to inhance the color, flavor and tannins in wine. If done too much, the wine gets out of balance, or “over-extracted.”

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