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03 February 2006

Smoke on the Water

Megapurp Would that those crafty chemists behind "Mega Purple" had named their wine additive Deep Purple.  If that were the case, then this segue from Deep Purple to Mega Purple would be entirely unnecessary.  And of course, now you've got that bloody riff from the 70's burned into your head for the next 72 hours.  You're welcome! - no need to thank me.

Anyhoo, Alder of Vinography has been hosting a lively debate about M.P.  What is the big Purple w/r/t wine? To quote Mr. Vinography:

"This additive, which is essentially the 100% natural reduced extract of wine grape skins is apparently in wide use as a color enhancer in wines, from the under $20 stuff in supermarkets to some "to-be-unnamed high end California reds."

PS it also, apparently, boosts a wine's flavor.  There are some interesting opinions bubbling up in the comments pertaining to whether or not this additive should be disclosed on the label.  From "I want to know what's in what I digest and that goes for cereal as well as wine" to "how much attention do you pay to what's really in the package?"

I, for one, would like to know exactly what's in Mega Purple.  The claim is that it's 100% natural - the reduced extract of wine grape skins.  Fine.  Now tell me how it's produced and what grapes and/or other 'additives' are utilized to produce this color-deepener/taste-enhancer.  Remember that last bottle of 'natural' juice you picked up?  It wasn't just juice..

Go read, and jump into the debate if you're up to it.


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I made a critical comment about this on vinography. The least I can do is give my other favorite wine blog equal ranting.

My initial reaction to "Deep Purple", "Moby Grape" or whatever you want to call it, was uncontrolled retching. I generally don't like additives in wine. I tend to be critical of the unregulated wine industry for that reason. The anything goes, "throw some sugar in there with the wood chips and dead frog" attitude of big and cheap California wine makers sets me off. I like the AOC/DOC regulations where you know what you are getting. But lets be fair. There are accepted wine making practices all over the world that stray from the esentially pure. An argument could be made that this is just a more sophisticated form of Valpolicela Ripasso. German wine law allows for the addition of sugar and grape concentrate in some wines. These are accepted cellar options that are fully disclosed and regulated to prescribed standards. Additives are not inherently bad or necessarily cheap. The purple extract in question here may be quite expensive for all I know. So I guess I'm OK with with "all natural" additives as long as the producer is "up front" about it and I have a choice. I can even see them as beneficial, Especially in bulk wine. Lets face it, you've little to loose in the first place and the potential for improvement is greater. As the saying goes, "you can't fall off the floor". But at the end of the day, I don't think there will ever be a cheap short cut to making great wine. great wine will always be made in the vineyard and cellar... not in the chemical laboratory. Reduced yeilds, intensive labor, quality bariques, even good additives don't come cheap. Quality will always cost more and discriminating palates will not be deceived. As the Ancient Romans said, "In Vino Veritas" The truth is in the wine!


"I like the AOC/DOC regulations where you know what you are getting"

Oh really? Do they require a listing of the varietal breakdown? Do they require listing of the fining agents (ox blood anyone?)? Do they require a listing of beet sugar?

At least Mega Purple is a grape-based product....

Somebody on Vinography called it "arm-chair quarterbacking" and that's exactly what it is. Don't go slamming it based on your own suppositions of what it might be.

"great wine will always be made in the vineyard and cellar... not in the chemical laboratory. "

So the back of every bottle would have you believe.



Boo! Ox Blood!

"At least mega purple is a grape-based product"

I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again:
Will someone please tell me exactly how MP is produced? (aside from it being "grape-based")

"Parmesan" in the shakey green cylinder is also a cheese-based product. Many of us aren't going to confuse that with Parmigiano.

And - as for AOC/DOC regs. They may not list everything on the bottle. However, at a minimum, I can look at the regs and see what is/isn't permitted. With a Cali Cabernet, there really is no way for me to know what is/isn't/potentially in/done to the wine.

And one more thing, because it's Monday and I'm grouchy:

Huge/Vini/Mr. X, Why are those who use/support MP so defensive? And why do some 'anonymous' wine bloggers feverishly defend the practice? Do you own shares in Mega Purple, Inc.? Does the company you work for utilize it in your wines? What are you hiding? It's no big deal, right? So why not tell us which wineries are using it. Is there a Mega Gold? Is there a Mega Oak? Mega Berry? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?


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Yes the additive should be clearly posted on the label. This is for the people to compare the ingredients of their wine from other brands and decide which wined contain the most natural mix.

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