Mouthfeel is a definite growth industry in the wine business, both for wineries and winemakers wanting their products to make a viscous impression and for the suppliers who have put dozens of products on the market designed to do that very thing. Ten years ago, mouthfeel was an afterthought; now it's front and center--and on the sides and back of your mouth as well.
I will admit to being a mouthfeel man, and I'm especially
fond of encountering good mouth in relatively delicate wines, whites like
low-alcohol German Rieslings, for example. And so I was smitten a while back by
a bottle of the Cooper Mountain 2007 20th Anniversary Reserve Pinot Gris from
There are many other fine things about this wine--plenty of fruit, good acidity, clean winemaking, all complementing the organic/biodynamic credentials of the winery. Bug the mouthfeel was what hooked me, led me to call the French-born winemaker, Gilles de Domingo, and eventually to do a whole piece on the topic for Wines & Vines.
Turns out, of course, that Gilles doesn't get that scrumptious texture with tannin additions, or packaged yeast by-products, or glycerol-happy yeast strains, or the fattening power of a malolactic fermentation, but the old-fashioned way: from the lees. Some of the wine is tank-fermented, and left on the lees; some is barrel-fermented in used oak and then added, along with the barrel lees, into the tank lots. Sometimes he adds spare Chardonnay lees from other winemaking. No stirring, just let the wine sit on the spent yeas and suck out the goodies. People were making wine this way before they knew what the lees were made of.
At a time like this, who needs the additives industry? What you need instead is a bottle of this wine. For fifteen bucks! Now there's something to be thankful for.
Price: $15 suggested retail. Alcohol: 13.0%. Points: Beaucoup de. Full disclosure: freebie sample.