ARSENIC IN WINE--THE NEW WINE WITCH-HUNT

Posted by bruce-bradley on March 24, 2015 at 12:20 AM

LACENICK AND OLD ARSE—Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love Idiot Bombs…


You know, you really gotta love’em, these people who have nothing better to do than to find ways of stirring up bullcrap—usually in an effort to make a dollar off the troubles of others. As a person who has spent much of his life working in wineries of every size, and having run a couple of those wineries, I can promise you flat-out, that wineries do not use arsenic in winemaking. There ARE trace amounts of arsenic in diatomaceous earth, which is used in some filtering practices, but as for arsenic itself, I’ve never even SEEN the stuff. Seriously, if any winery had something like that lying about, SOMEBODY would have borrowed a bit of it for their spouse or their lover—or their lover’s lover.


THAT would have been news, not this other horse-pucky. This is just more sensationalism, which will no doubt end with wineries having to do tests they shouldn’t have to perform. May as well test for alien space dust while they’re at it. Yup, I’m pretty sure the wine I drank last night had alien (undocumented) space dust in it…


The whole “controversy” about arsenic hinges on the fact that the “testers” used the same criteria for testing wine that they use for water. Well, guess what—wine isn’t water.


Believe it or not, there is an organization that does have guidelines for acceptable amounts of arsenic in wine. The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) an organization that includes every major wine producing country in the world (except for the United States), has declared that the maximum allowable limit for arsenic in wine is 200 parts-per-billion.


Sooo…French wines, Australian wines, Spanish wines, German and Chilean wines—all those wines you’ve been collecting and coveting in your cellar for years—all may have up to 200 parts-per-billion arsenic in them. Probably not, but that’s what the world has declared “safe”.


According to the new lawsuit, Franzia wines had 51 parts-per-billion arsenic in them. That’s roughly one-fourth of what the OIV (every other winemaking country in the world) says is acceptable. It probably means that Franzia just filters their wine more than some others do.



Is that a bad thing? Well, other than stripping the wine of a little color and flavor, I’d say probably not.

Here are my picks for this week:


ROBERT MONDAVI

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

$5.99 at SPD Market in Nevada City, CA

This is where my wine career began, many years ago…

Subtle, berry aromas—a mouthful of dark red fruit—not overly oaked. Good mouth feel and finish.

THREE STARS


COLUMBIA CREST

Grand Estates

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Columbia Valley

$8.99 at SPD Market in Nevada City

Black currant aromas, with a hint of chocolate and spice. Balanced fruit and acid. Cherry-berry flavors. A slightly bitter finish takes it down a bit.

THREE STARS


BLACKSTONE

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

$5.99 at CVS Pharmacy in Grass Valley

Cassis, chocolate, dark red fruit. Good mouth feel—nicely balanced with a decent finish.

Again, considering the price…

THREE AND A HALF STARS

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