Michel Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley is fond of saying controversial things. A few weeks ago he talked in Drinks Business about how to best get rid of some of the alcohol in high alcohol wines. Best method, he says, is the simplest. Dilute the wine with water. He believes that it does not change the character of the wine and is gentler on the wine than other methods, such as reverse osmosis.
After reading about this I thought, but why should the winemaker dilute his painstakingly made wine with water? Why not let the consumer decide if she wants to drink the wine with its original alcohol level or add water to lower it?
I organized a small blind tasting for Per to see if he could taste the difference of 2% alcohol. In one glass, he had the original wine, a Cahors with 14.5% alcohol. In the other glass the same wine diluted to 12.5%.
He actually did taste the difference immediately. Less body, less fullness with 12.5%. But perfectly drinkable. Good idea? Well, maybe. On some wines.
(Editors note: the diluted wine was not at all as delicious as the ”cask strength” one!)